A full airline seat for Mr Ballot Box on Presidential poll duty
Ballot boxes for Presidential elections will travel to state capitals as hand baggage and return to New Delhi with the status of a passenger, occupying a full seat. The Election Commission has booked a separate seat for each box, next to the seat occupied by the official accompanying it.
Instructions have also gone to the airlines that carry election material to and from the state capitals to follow the guidelines. The Commission had acquired this special right in 1969 from civil aviation authorities.
The steel ballot box is carried in a wooden box. The boxes are meant only for the Presidential elections and remain in the custody of the Commission.
Secretaries of state Legislative Assemblies are assistant returning officers (ARO) for the Presidential election. The ARO or his representative will take the box on Saturday to the respective state capitals, where it will be kept in a strong room. The voting will take place between 10 am and 5 pm on July 19 in all Assemblies and Parliament in New Delhi. MLAs usually vote in their respective Assemblies and MPs vote in Parliament, but they can vote anywhere with a special permission from the Commission.
On July 20, the boxes will return to Delhi and counting will take place in Parliament House the next day. "We expect to announce the results by 3pm the same day," said returning officer P D T Achary.
Since the ballot papers have only the names of the candidates and not symbols, a voter, if illiterate, can seek the help of the polling officer. The voter has to indicate his preference by writing numeral one in the column against to the name. Any other mark, including "one" in letters will make the vote invalid.
Once the ballot boxes land in Delhi, they become the responsibility of Parliament security and Delhi Police. They have received permission from civil aviation authorities to drive to the plane and carry the boxes straight to the Parliament House.
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