Published: 30th March 2021
TN Elections 2021: What to expect when you are expecting to cast your vote this election
Over the last few weeks, COVID cases have been on the steady rise, raising concerns about whether voters will be safe during the election process
Over 21 lakh voters are gearing up to vote for the first time in the Tamil Nadu Elections 2021. But for more reasons than one, this election is one they will probably never forget. Voting this year is a risky business in the midst of a pandemic but the election commission authorities are assuring voters that they have nothing to worry about.
Over the last few weeks, COVID cases have been on the steady rise, raising concerns about whether voters will be safe during the election process. The typical scenario outside a polling booth is caterpillar queues, people brushed up against, campaigners trying to do the best they can till the last minute, officials waiting to check your ID and mark your fingers.
But this time, the election officials will be concerned about more than the ink. Efforts will be made to get voters to maintain distance between each other in the line. They will be provided with gloves before they have to press the button on the EVM and masks are mandatory. The voters will also have their temperatures taken before they enter the booth and if they happen to have a fever, they will be given a medical certificate and allowed to vote during the additional hour of polling.
Chief Electoral Officer, Satyabrata Sahoo has said that those who have a temperature will be provided with PPEs to prevent the spread of infection. Like in Bihar, the voters whose temperature is above 100.4 F will be checked again and if it is the same, they would be asked to come later in the evening. As a further preventive measure, the ECI increased the number of polling stations from 68,324 to 88,937 and a total of 4,79,892 personnel have been identified for election work across the State.
Lockdown fears may prevent voters living outside the state from travelling but so far the Tamil Nadu government has made no such announcements. The number of maximum electors per polling station has also been brought down to 1,000 from 1,500.
The election commission has also made arrangements for COVID patients to also exercise their right to vote. The voters are only required to produce a medical certificate and they will be provided with PPE kits in case they don’t arrive with one from home. The electors who are COVID-19 positive or suspect and are in quarantine, home or institutional, will be given the option of postal ballot too. Voting hours may be extended to accommodate more COVID-infected voters too.