Elderly and Disabled Vote from Home in Mumbai

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Centenarian Maruti Rane and 18-year-old Muhammad Younus were among those who cast their votes remotely

Team Clarion

MUMBAI – In a significant stride towards inclusive democracy, elderly and disabled voters in India have embraced the opportunity to cast their vote from the comfort of their homes during the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. The initiative by the Election Commission of India marks a pivotal moment in electoral accessibility, allowing individuals above the age of 85 years and a substantial proportion of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) to participate in the democratic process without facing the challenges of accessing the conventional polling booths.

Among the notable individuals who exercised their right to vote from home in Mumbai were 100-year-old Maruti Rane from Bhiwandi and 18-year-old student Muhammad Younus from Kurla. Maruti Rane, the oldest voter of Bhiwandi East Assembly Constituency, enthusiastically availed himself of the facility, reflecting the diverse range of participants in the electoral process. Additionally, Muhammad Younus, a determined young student with multiple disabilities, seized the opportunity to cast his vote for the first time from his residence in Kurla.

Expressing his satisfaction with the experience, Muhammad Younus remarked, “I have not made disability a constraint, although I have multiple disabilities. Despite this, I try not to feel needy due to my disability.” He added, “Voting for the first time in my life was a pleasant experience. The feeling of being a citizen of the country was enhanced by exercising the right to vote.”

The process of voting from home ensures the secrecy and integrity of the ballot. Eligible voters are required to complete Form 12D within five days of the election notification and submit it to the Returning Officer, accompanied by relevant documentation for disabled voters. Subsequently, a dedicated team of polling officials and security personnel visit the voter’s residence within the specified dates to facilitate the voting process. Temporary polling stations are set up indoors, and the entire process is meticulously documented through videography to uphold transparency and accountability.

Highlighting the success of the initiative, election officials emphasised the active participation of elderly and disabled voters across various constituencies. In Bhiwandi alone, a significant number of voters aged 85 and above and disabled individuals exercised their right to vote from home, underscoring the widespread adoption of this inclusive electoral practice.

The facility of voting from home will remain available until May 15, providing eligible voters with ample opportunity to engage in the electoral process and contribute to shaping the future of the nation. Initiatives such as remote voting serve as catalysts for empowering marginalised communities and upholding the fundamental tenets of democracy.

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