HANDBOOKS


HANDBOOK FOR PRESIDING OFFICERS

FORMATION OF POLLING PARTY AND REHEARSALS

Polling Party
Contact with the other members of the polling parties
Polling rehearsals
Application for postal ballot paper or Election Duty Certificate

Polling Party

1.1. At an election to the House of the People/State Legislative Assembly, your party will consist of yourself and three or four Polling Officers. While appointing the polling party, your District Election Officer/Returning Officer will authorise one of the Polling Officers in your party to perform the duties of Presiding Officer in case you are to be unavoidably absent from the polling station.

1.2. At a single election, where the number of voters allotted to a polling station is thousand or less, the polling party will normally consist of one Presiding Officer and three polling officers and where the number of voters exceeds one thousand, the party will consist of a Presiding Officer and four Polling Officers. At a simultaneous election, the polling party will consist of 5 Polling Officers, besides the Presiding Officer.

Contact with the other members of the polling parties.

2. Ascertain as soon as it is practicable, who the other members of your polling party are going to be. It is necessary for you to have the residential addresses of all the Polling Officers appointed to work under you. You should go over with them as frequently as possible, and explain to them, the part to be taken at the poll by each member of the party. Unless there is team work, your task as Presiding Officer will be more difficult.

Polling rehearsals.

3.1 Attend as many polling rehearsals as you can. This is essential for obtaining a clear idea of the procedure to be followed and for understanding the provisions of the law.

3.2 You must take with you the Polling Officer authorised to perform your duties in your unavoidable absence to these rehearsals. It is very necessary that you and such authorised Polling Officer should do the various operations with the ballot box yourself/himself and should not be content with simply watching the demonstration. Both of you should also familiarise yourselves with the fixing of the green paper seals, in case such seals are used.

3.3 You should also prepare a sample ballot paper account and paper seal account.

3.4 Even in case you had worked as a Presiding Officer or a Polling Officer in some earlier election, you must attend the training classes/rehearsals, as the election law and procedure are being amended from time to time and it is necessary that you should follow the revised procedure as otherwise the conduct of election may not be in accordance with the latest procedures or instructions. Further, it is always advantageous to refresh your memory even if there is no change in the law and procedure.

Application for postal ballot paper or Election Duty Certificate

4.1 You and your Polling Officers may be electors in the same constituency in which you are posted on duty or in some other constituency. The order of appointment as Presiding Officer will be issued in duplicate and along with this order, the District Election Officer/Returning Officer will send you sufficient number of Forms 12 and 12A to enable you and the Polling Officers to apply for postal ballot papers and Election Duty Certificates. If any one of you is an elector in the same constituency, you can apply for an Election Duty Certificate in Form 12A to the Returning Officer, which would enable you to vote at the polling station at which you use on election duty. If any one of you is an elector from a constituency other than the one where you are posted on election duty, you may fill in Form 12 and apply for a postal ballot paper. In either case, you have to send the application forms immediately along with the duplicate copy of the order of appointment, as otherwise there may not be enough time to receive the Election Duty Certificate/Postal Ballot Paper, and in the case of postal ballot paper, to record your vote and return it to the Returning Officer well in time before counting. Applications from voters on election duty for permission to vote by postal ballot are required by law to be made at least seven days or such shorter period as the Returning Officer may allow before the day of poll or the first day of the poll in the constituency.

4.2 In case of simultaneous elections, it may so happen that any one of you may be on election duty outside your assembly constituency, but within your parliamentary constituency. In such cases, you may apply for Election Duty Certificate for the parliamentary election and for postal ballot paper for voting at the assembly election.

4.3 A copy each of the electoral rolls for all the assembly constituencies in the district will be made available for inspection by the District Election Officer at the centre(s) for rehearsal and training classes, so that you can note down the particulars of electoral roll numbers which you have to furnish in your applications for postal ballot paper or Election Duty Certificate, as the case may be. Spare copies of Forms 12 and 12A will also be available at the said centre(s).

4.4 Sub-rule (2) of rule 24 of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, requires that the elector giving his vote by postal ballot paper shall sign the declaration in Form 13A in the presence of, and have the signature attested by, a stipendiary magistrate or such other officer specified for the purpose. Under the rules, you can attest the declarations of Polling Officers working with you.



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