ECI introduces historic ‘vote-from-home’ option for persons with disabilities and elderly in Lok Sabha elections

Election Commission of India (ECI) has announced the extension of its ‘vote-from-home’ facility to Persons with Disabilities (PwD) and senior citizens aged 85 and above during the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

In a groundbreaking move aimed at fostering inclusivity and accessibility in India’s electoral process, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has announced the extension of its ‘vote-from-home’ facility to Persons with Disabilities (PwD) and senior citizens aged 85 and above during the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. This historic decision marks the first time in the history of Indian elections that such a provision has been introduced, signalling a significant step towards ensuring that every eligible voter has the opportunity to exercise their franchise.

The ‘vote-from-home’ facility, which was previously available only to voters aged 80 and above and those with physical disabilities or illnesses that made it difficult for them to visit polling stations, has now been expanded to include senior citizens aged 85 and above. This expansion reflects the ECI’s commitment to addressing the unique challenges faced by elderly voters and persons with disabilities, ensuring that they are not disenfranchised due to mobility issues or health concerns.

Under the new guidelines, eligible voters can apply for the ‘vote-from-home’ facility through a simple and streamlined process. Once their application is approved by the ECI, they will be provided with a ballot paper that they can mark and return via post or through a designated messenger. Strict security measures will be implemented to safeguard the integrity of the voting process and prevent any instances of fraud or tampering.

The decision to extend the facility comes at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose significant challenges to public health and safety. By allowing vulnerable populations, such as elderly voters and persons with disabilities, to cast their votes from the safety and comfort of their homes, the ECI aims to minimize their exposure to the virus while ensuring their right to participate in the democratic process.

The move has been widely hailed as a positive step towards promoting inclusivity and equal participation in elections. Advocates for persons with disabilities have lauded the ECI’s decision, emphasizing the importance of removing barriers to voting and ensuring that all citizens, regardless of their physical abilities or age, have equal access to the electoral process.

As India prepares for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the extension of the ‘vote-from-home’ facility represents a significant milestone in the country’s journey towards building a more inclusive and representative democracy. With this landmark initiative, the ECI reaffirms its commitment to upholding the principles of democracy and ensuring that every voice is heard in the electoral arena.