Bihar Polls: Timing, Campaigning & All That’s Changed Amid COVID  

How will Bihar polls be held amid COVID? What are the physical distancing protocols? Here’s all you need to know.

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F.A.Q
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Bihar Assembly polls will be one of the biggest elections globally to be held during the prevailing COVID-19 situation, said Election Commission Chief Sunil Arora, on Friday, 25 September, announcing the schedule for the same.

The polls will be held amid new security protocols due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he added.

So, what’s different about the Bihar Assembly elections? What are the physical distancing protocols? Here’s all you need to know.

What is the schedule for Bihar Assembly elections 2020?

Bihar will vote in three phases – 28 October, 3 and 7 November, announced the Election Commission.

When will the results be announced for the Assembly polls?

The results of the Bihar Assembly elections 2020 will be announced on 10 November.

What will be the timings for the polling of votes?

  • To decongest polling stations, and allow free movement of voters, the polling time has been increased by 1 hour
  • Polls will be held from 7 am-6 pm, instead of 7 am-5 pm
  • However, this will not be applicable to naxal areas.

How will candidates file their nominations?

  • Candidates have been given the option to file their nominations online. All the necessary affidavits will also be made available online
  • If they choose to file affidavits offline, only two people can accompany the candidate

What about COVID-19 patients? How will they cast their votes?

COVID-19 patients who're quarantined will be able to cast their votes on the last day of polling, at their respective polling stations. This will be done under the supervision of health authorities. This is in addition to the option of postal facility already extended to them, CEC Sunil Arora said.

What if I live in a containment zone? How can I vote?

The EC is yet to come up with guidelines for this. However, it has said that postal ballot facility will be provided wherever required and requested.

Watch this space for more updates.

What are the new additions being made to the polling booths due to COVID-19?

Over 7 lakh hand sanitiser units, about 46 lakh masks, 6 lakh PPE kits, 6.7 lakh units of faces-shields, and 23 lakh (pairs of) hand gloves have been arranged and will be available across polling booths.

Around 7.2 crore single-use hand gloves have been arranged specifically for voters.

What are the rules for campaigning?

  • Public meetings and road shows can be organised but they must follow COVID-19 containment conditions set by the Home Ministry
  • A group of five persons, including candidates but excluding security personnel, is allowed to do door-to-door campaigning
  • Every person has to wear a mask during any election-related activity
  • Large halls to be identified and utilised for election activities
  • Standard safety measures like using sanitisers, installing thermal scanners and wearing personal protection equipment (PPE) kits will continue during the election process
  • Physical distancing to be maintained at all times.

Is it safe to use EVMs?

While there is no clarity on this, all voters will be asked to wear hand gloves before casting their ballot.

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