Rejection of postal votes high in Madurai constituency

Concerns raised over low number of postal ballots as well

One in every five postal ballots cast by government officials and police personnel in Madurai parliamentary constituency were rejected during counting, allegedly due to inaccuracy in details filled up in the form attached to the ballots.

According to the data provided by District Election Office (DEO), the total postal ballots received were 5,751, including 507 votes sent through the newly-introduced Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) by those working in armed forces.

Of the remaining 5,244 votes cast by government officials and police personnel who were deployed on duty on the polling day, 1,073 votes, which is roughly 20%, were rejected. In contrast, in Virudhunagar parliamentary constituency, of the nearly 10,000 postal ballots received, the rejection was around 10%.

A senior official said a majority of the rejections were due to absence of signatures on the cover or inaccuracies in the forms.

Concerns have also been raised over the low number of postal ballots received in Madurai parliamentary constituency compared to other places. It can be noted that before polling, a section of government officials had alleged delay in issuance of postal ballots.

An official involved in the election work said the low number of postal ballots was possibly due to the issuance of more Election Duty Certificates (EDC) compared to other districts. With EDCs, officials posted for election duty within their respective constituency can cast their vote in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the polling booths they were deployed. “This eliminates the need for postal ballots,” the official said.

However, in the absence of details from DEO on the number of EDCs issued, an official from the School Education department said the claim of issuance of more EDCs than postal ballots needed verification. “I know there were issues in providing postal ballots since I was personally affected. I could get it only after raising the issue with senior officials,” he said.

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