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EC notifies scheme for Kashmiri migrants to vote in Lok Sabha polls

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EC notifies scheme for Kashmiri migrants to vote in Lok Sabha polls

Jammu, March 24 (IANS) The Election Commission (EC) has notified a comprehensive scheme for Kashmiri migrants to vote in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

This comes as the continuation of the EC’s past practice of facilitating the Kashmiri migrant to vote through postal ballots and special polling stations set at Jammu, Udhampur, and New Delhi.

The scheme is meant for all voters of Baramulla, Srinagar, and Anantnag-Rajouri parliamentary constituencies in the Kashmir valley who had migrated because of compelling circumstances and have been temporarily residing in various places outside their place of ordinary residence.

The EC has issued two notifications categorizing the Kashmiri migrants as the ‘specified’ and ‘notified’ voters.

The first notification has been issued for the migrant voters who opt to vote in person at special polling stations while the other notification is for those exercising their franchise through postal ballots.

The EC has also notified four Assistant Returning Officers (AROs) to assist the Returning Officers (ROs) of these three parliamentary constituencies.

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For the Lok Sabha, the EC has advised the migrant voters to send their forms, Form M for voting in person at any of the ‘special polling stations’ or Form 12 C for using the postal ballot, to the concerned AROs to reach them on or 10 days before the date of polling. These forms are available free of cost at the office of the AROs, as well as can be downloaded from the EC’s website (www.eci.gov.in) or the Chief Electoral Officer, Jammu and Kashmir’s website (www.ceojk.nic.in).

Kashmiri migrant voters, who are residing at various relief camps in Delhi, Jammu, and Udhampur and who opt to cast their votes in person through EVMs can do so at any one of the 26 special polling stations that will be set up by the EC. Of them, 21 polling stations will be in Jammu, one in Udhampur and four in Delhi.

The Lok Sabha elections are scheduled to be held on May 7 in Anantnag-Rajouri, on May 13 in Srinagar, and on May 20 in Baramulla.

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According to the EC, after filling their forms, the migrant voters shall approach the office of the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) of the constituency in which they are residing at present, anywhere in the country.

The EROs can have access to the details of migrant electors enrolled in different parliamentary constituencies (assembly segment-wise) in Kashmir through ERO-Net, an EC official said.

The ERO concerned, after verifying details in the Form ‘M’ will scan and upload the same to electronically transmit to the AROs Migrants at Delhi, Jammu, and Udhampur for further necessary action. Hard copies so uploaded shall also be sent to AROs Migrant in Delhi, Jammu, and Udhampur as the case may be, he said.

Similarly, the ERO concerned will verify the details in Form 12-C, sign the certificate in Part- II of the Form and scan and upload it to electronically transmit the same to the ARO Migrant at Jammu who will take further necessary action to send a postal ballot to the voter concerned. Hard copies so uploaded are to be sent to ARO Migrant at Jammu.

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The postal ballot will be sent through speed post to the voter concerned by the ARO Migrant, Jammu. The voter can send the polled postal ballot through speed post (free of cost) to the RO concerned of the parliamentary constituency to which he or she belongs. The cost of speed post will be paid by the RO concerned, the official added.

–IANS

sq/sha

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