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Guidelines For Vote Validation

Bhubaneswar: In an aim to clear the confusion related to cross voting, the State Election Commission (SEC) has issued detailed guidelines for the validation of votes polled during the upcoming Panchayat elections.

The SEC’s clarification comes in the wake of several queries received by the Commission regarding the validity of the Ballot Paper when a voter has recorded his vote in the pre-fold portion and another vote against one of the contesting candidates.

In his letter to all Collectors, SEC Secretary RN Sahu said Panchayat Election Rules says that a Ballot Paper is liable for rejection if votes are recorded in favour of more than one candidate in the fray for the election.

“In the instant case even if the voter has recorded his vote against one contesting candidate and another against a symbol which has been pre-folded before, the intention of the voter is clear and the same cannot be considered as recording vote in favour of more than one candidate,” said Mr.Sahu.

In such a case, since the elector has recorded his vote in the pre-fold portion, it is definitely not in favor of one of the contesting candidates. Hence, the Ballot Paper voted in favour of a contesting candidate shall be considered, provided it is not otherwise invalid.

The Collectors have been asked to implement the above instruction while counting of votes during the ensuing Panchayat Election, 2022.

Meanwhile, the State Labour and ESI Department has directed all concerned authorities to ensure that paid holiday is granted to the employees engaged in various public sector undertakings, corporations, establishments, business, trade and industrial units to exercise their franchise during the rural polls.

In a letter to all Revenue Divisional Commissioners (RDCs), PSUs, establishments, business, trade and industrial undertakings, the Labour and ESI Department has asked to enforce enforcement of the order of the State Election Commission (SEC).

The Commission has directed that every person employed in any business, trade, industrial undertaking or any other establishment and desiring to vote in the said election shall be granted paid holiday on the date of poll, the Department said in its order.

“Any violation of the above instruction will be treated as an offence. The written application by the employees will be sufficient to show their enrolment in a particular Gram Panchayat,” said Secretary, Labor and ESI, Chithra Arumugam.  

The Panchayat elections are scheduled to be held in five phases on February 16, 18, 20, 22 and February 24 and the votes will be counted on February 26, 27 and 28.