New Delhi, Oct. 29: Nearly 4 lakh troops of the army and a significant number of naval and air force personnel have been made eligible to vote following the implementation of a new rule on postal ballot, a defence ministry release said here today, reports our special correspondent.
Nearly 40 per cent of the 1.25 million army is almost always deployed on field duties, most of them in Jammu and Kashmir and in the Northeast. The new rule allows soldiers to vote by proxy through a blood relation.
The release said a large section of the defence forces could not vote because they were deployed in far-flung areas and the postal ballot system was ineffective. The new rule on proxy voting follows the enactment of the Election Laws Amendment Act, 2003, known as the Proxy Voting Act. It allows soldiers to vote through nominated proxy by “Electoral Power of Attorney”.
Armed force personnel wanting to vote have to be registered with district election officers or electoral returning officers.
The release says : “A service voter and his/her spouse, if ordinarily residing with him/her, who elects to vote by proxy may nominate any one of his/her blood relations as proxy on Form 13F. This form has willingness of the proxy and signatures of the service voter.
“This form is required to be countersigned by the Commanding Officer or Notary or First Class Magistrate. The completed Form is to be sent to the concerned Returning Officer by the last date of making nominations. Once the details of proxy are filled in the last part of the electoral roll then proxy will physically vote on behalf and as per the instructions of the service voter in the election.”
The person selected as proxy should be an eligible voter and cannot act as proxy for more than two electors.
The ministry said for the state Assembly polls in November and December, form 13F has been sent to all headquarters and units. To be eligible to vote in the polls, the forms should be sent to the respective returning officers by November 3 for elections on November 20 and by November 13 for elections on December 1.