Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India Rajiv Kumar today said Meghalaya has nearly 300 voters who are over 100 years old.
Kumar and another team of senior ECI delegation were on a two-day visit to Shillong to review the state’s poll preparedness in the run-up to the forthcoming elections.
According to the Election Commission, there are 22,658 aged over 80. The precise number of centenarian voters is pegged at 290.
“We are (sending our) greetings to all of them from the Commission, to facilitate them and to pay our respect to them,” Kumar told reporters before leaving for Nagaland.
He said the Commission is providing senior citizens with an option to vote from the comfort of their homes.
“There is a provision in Form 12D which they (senior citizens) can register which will be open after five days of the nomination – if they do not have any reason to vote in the polling station, the commission will go to their houses,” the CEC said.
He added, “How will we ensure the secrecy of the vote, the team will go, the agents of the political parties' candidates will also be able to go so that nobody can influence the vote of a senior citizen. This will be videographed.”
He said that as per the Commission’s experience, many of the senior citizens want to come to the polling station as they also want to participate in the 'festival of democracy'.
The CEC said, “As regards to everybody voting from home, that’s a technological development when it will happen I cannot astrologically tell you but I think we should as and when it develops in the world that would be at its own pace, technology will take its own course.”
While the number of teenaged voters (18-19) is 81,443, 970 youth aged 17 years have already registered with the Commission in advance.
Stating that there are also over 7,478 people with disabilities (PwDs), Kumar said there will be polling booths which will be managed by the PwDs. “This is also a way of giving them honour and seeing that they are fully empowered and they can handle as anybody else can handle.”
He said that the PwDs can also opt for the option to vote from home.
Of the 3482 polling stations, Kumar said 120 booths will be managed by all women staff including presiding and polling officers, even police officers. This again is an effort the commission is making all India to make women empowerment its theme.
Also, 60 booths will be managed by young employees to give them the pleasure of managing the booth and conducting the elections, he said while adding that there will be 60 model polling stations, which would be environment-friendly polling stations.
He further informed that there will be webcasting in 50% of the polling stations, which is close to 17041.
The CEC said to target urban and youth apathy, the commission and CEO of Meghalaya have identified the five lowest turnout booths in every constituency and which comes to 300 booths.
“All DEOs under the guidance of the CEO are making all efforts to understand why there was a low voting last time in those 300 booths,” he said.
He said there will be toilets, drinking water, electricity, ramps for PwDs for the voters and there will be voters’ facilitation desks at all polling stations.
“Strict directions have been given that AMF (assured minimum facility) should be in all booths and no violation of this.”
Meanwhile, the CEC also urged the citizens to utilize the C-Vigil app which will empower them to make any complaint to the Commission.