The Election Commission of India (ECI) today started the distribution and dispatch of designated ballot boxes, ballot papers, special pens, and other sealed election materials to the State Legislative Assembly Secretariats for the conduct of the presidential election scheduled on July 18 next.
This two-day exercise at Nirvachan Sadan, New Delhi, is being undertaken under the supervision of Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar and Election Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey.
The Commission mandates the collection of the materials from the ECI Headquarters at Delhi by Assistant Returning Officers (AROs) including one senior officer from the office of the Chief Electoral Officer.
Once they reach Delhi, officials are also assisted at the help desk at the Delhi Airport manned by the officials of the Election Commission of India, Civil Aviation, Delhi Police, and CISF.
Ballot boxes along with other essential election materials are handed over to the AROs under appropriate security and safety measures after complete inspection at Nirvachan Sadan, New Delhi.
Delhi Police teams escort the AROs while they come to collect the election material. The AROs return to their respective States/UTs on the same day as the collection of the election materials.
During the transportation, the Ballot Boxes fly on a separate air ticket in the front row of aircrafts beside the seat of the officer transporting the materials under personal supervision.
CEC Rajiv Kumar emphasized that strict adherence to procedures by the ECI teams has become its hallmark in delivering error free elections time and again.
A set of well-defined instructions and Standard Operating Procedures that are required to be followed thoroughly to complete every electoral process account for ECI’s robustness for conducting elections he added.
He asked the officials to be vigilant and ensure strict adherence to protocols and guidelines for transportation and storage of election materials including ballot boxes and ballot papers.
Once the officers with ballot boxes reach the state capitals, these are stored in previously sanitised and properly sealed strong rooms under strict videography monitoring. Ballot papers for Presidential Election are also stored and sealed along with.
After the poll is over, the polled and sealed Ballot boxes and other election material have to be transported back to the Office of Returning Officer that is Rajya Sabha Secretariat by the next available flight. The boxes and other documents are carried personally in the aircraft cabins - never out of sight of accompanying officers.
The Observers are senior IAS Officers of the rank of Additional Secretary or Joint Secretary.
The designated Observers will take stock of election arrangements made for security and transportation of ballot boxes and election material by the ROs and AROs and ensure free and fair elections.
The Observers deputed at Parliament House will also oversee the counting process of votes on 21st July 2022.
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