Preparation begins for phase I of Odisha Panchayat Polls: Polling parties sent to 11 dists

Odisha SEC clarified about validity of Ballot paper on certain occasion

Bhubaneswar: The preparation for the first phase of the Odisha Panchayat Polls has begun in the State. Today polling parties have been sent to 11 districts. Similarly, polling parties will be sent to 19 districts tomorrow. The casting of vote will begin at 7 am in the morning to continue up to 1 pm in the afternoon on February 16.

The voters will cast their votes for four posts such as: Ward member, Sarpanch, Samiti member and Zilla Parishad candidates during the polling. Hence, there is many chance of committing mistakes in polling. And, if somehow a voter commits any mistake, the vote may become invalid. Hence, the State Election Commission has clarified about how to cast vote properly.

The Panchayat Election Rules says that a Ballot Paper is liable for rejection if votes are recorded in favour of more than one candidate. If someone votes for multiple candidates contesting for a single post, the vote will be invalid.

In the instant case even if the voter has recorded his vote against one contesting candidate and another against a symbol which has been pre-folded before, the intention of voter is clear and the same cannot be considered as recording vote in favour of more than one candidate.

The above clarification shall be made applicable for counting of votes for General Election to PRIs, 2022.

To explain the above rules here is an illustration: (Suppose) There are 4 candidates for the post of Sarpanch in X GP. Accordingly 6 symbols of the Ballot Paper (already printed with 10 symbols) are to be pre-folded so that four symbols of the contesting candidates are visible to the voter. The voter has cast his vote against the symbols at Sl No. 2. It may so happen that the pre-folded portion may be opened by the voter and he has cast another vote against the symbol at Sl No 8 .

In this case even though the voter has double stamped the ballot paper, the intention of the voter is clear when he has stamped against the symbol at Sl no. 2. The voting at Sl No. 8 is not against any candidate. Hence, vote cast against the candidate at sl no. 2 shall be taken into account and the ballot paper shall be deemed as valid.

Also read: Odisha Panchayat Polls: State govt to grant paid holidays to employees

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