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Election Commission Facilitates Voting for Kashmiri Migrants in Lok Sabha Elections 2024

New Delhi: In a move to streamline the voting process for Kashmiri migrants, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has abolished the tedious procedure of filling Form-M for displaced individuals from the valley residing in Jammu and Udhampur. Additionally, for migrants outside these regions, the ECI has authorized self-attestation of the certificate appended with Form-M, eliminating the need for attestation by a Gazetted Officer. This landmark decision aims to simplify the voting process and enhance accessibility for Kashmiri migrants during the ongoing General Elections 2024.

The decision was made following a meeting chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar, alongside Election Commissioners Gyanesh Kumar and Dr. Sukhbir Singh Sandhu. Various Kashmiri migrant groups had raised concerns regarding the cumbersome Form-M procedure, which posed additional bureaucratic hurdles and complexities compared to standard voting procedures. In response to these representations and in consultation with the Chief Electoral Officer of Jammu and Kashmir, the Commission formulated a scheme to facilitate voting for Kashmiri migrants in person at transitory camps and through postal ballots.

For migrants residing in Jammu and Udhampur, the Commission has designated 22 special polling stations, ensuring comprehensive coverage across zones and camps. Electoral roll extracts corresponding to each special polling station have been culled out from the basic electoral rolls of respective assembly constituencies, with draft extracts notified for public scrutiny and feedback. Following a seven-day period for objections and modifications, final electoral roll extracts will be notified and utilized on the day of polling.

To prevent duplication, migrants opting for postal ballots will have their details marked accordingly to avoid voting at special polling stations. For migrants outside Jammu and Udhampur, self-attestation of Form-M has been authorized, simplifying the process and ensuring compliance with electoral regulations. However, electors must present valid identification, such as EPIC (voter ID card), or alternative documents prescribed by the Commission at polling stations.

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