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Kashmiri Migrants Granted Voting Rights in J&K Elections

The Election Commission (EC) has unveiled a comprehensive voting scheme aimed at enhancing voter awareness and preserving the integrity of elections, particularly for Kashmiri migrants. This initiative seeks to ensure their participation in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls. Expanding on existing modalities such as postal ballots and designated polling stations, the scheme provides a breakdown of voting options for Kashmiri migrants in the Jammu and Kashmir Lok Sabha elections.

The scheme targets voters from specific parliamentary constituencies in Kashmir who have been displaced due to compelling circumstances, currently residing away from their usual places of residence. The EC has categorized these migrants into “specified” and “notified” voters, delineating voting procedures accordingly.

For those opting for in-person voting, the EC has designated 26 special polling stations across Jammu, Udhampur, and Delhi. These stations will facilitate voting via electronic voting machines for Kashmiri migrant voters residing in various relief camps. Alternatively, migrants can choose to vote through postal ballots by submitting Form 12C.

Completed Form 12C applications for postal ballots must reach the assistant returning officer in Jammu at least 10 days before the polling date for each phase. Subsequently, migrants are advised to approach the office of the electoral registration officer (ERO) in their current place of residence nationwide.

The Lok Sabha polls in Jammu and Kashmir are scheduled in five phases, with vote counting slated for June 4. The EC has appointed assistant returning officers (AROs) to aid the returning officers of Kashmir’s three Lok Sabha constituencies in managing affairs concerning migrant voters.

Migrant voters are urged to submit Form M for in-person voting or Form 12C for postal ballots to the respective AROs at least 10 days before polling. Special provisions, such as online facilities and designated letter boxes, have been made to facilitate the submission process.

EROs will verify Form M details and electronically transmit them to AROs for further action. Similarly, Form 12C details will be verified, and postal ballots dispatched to electors by the ARO Migrant in Jammu. The measures undertaken aim to ensure the inclusion of Kashmiri migrants in the democratic process, safeguarding their right to vote in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

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