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Model Polling Stations to Enhance Voting Experience in Upcoming Elections

Bhubaneswar: In preparation for the simultaneous Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly elections in the state, the Election Commission has mandated the establishment of model polling stations in each constituency, following its instructions.

The Chief Electoral Officer and Additional Chief Secretary, NikunjA Bihari Dhal, have directed District Election Officers to open model polling stations in every Assembly Constituency. The concept of model polling stations is aimed at creating a positive and celebratory environment during elections, encouraging voters to participate joyfully in the democratic process.

Model polling stations will be set up in a clean and eco-friendly environment, free from polythene materials. The Election Commission has decided to open these model polling stations in 20 percent of the total polling stations in each assembly constituency. Among them, five polling stations will be exclusively managed by youths, and one will be operated entirely by Dibyang (divyang) workers, while around 10 percent of the polling centers will be managed by women exclusively.

The Chief Electoral Officer stated that the three types of model polling stations would involve the engagement of youth, Dibyang, and women employees for various roles, including security personnel and presiding officers. Political parties have also been encouraged to appoint youth, Dibyang, and women polling agents for model polling centers during elections.

To facilitate the establishment of model polling stations, a grant of Rs 25,000 will be provided by the office of the Chief Electoral Officer. The funds will be utilized to enhance basic facilities, making the polling centers attractive and encouraging maximum voter turnout. The model polling stations will be equipped with various amenities, including uninterrupted power supply, a generator (standby), separate toilets for women and men, provision of drinking water, waiting areas for voters, ramps for the disabled, wheelchairs, volunteers, display boards, ORS packets, medical kits, and first aid.

In an effort to welcome voters, the polling stations will feature a beautiful welcome gate, a welcome mascot, red carpets, flowers, selfie zones, a playground for small children, and chairs for voters. The booth staff will be instructed to behave humbly and politely with voters, and there will be Braille facilities in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) for visually impaired voters.

The Chief Electoral Officer emphasized the importance of creating an inviting and inclusive atmosphere at model polling stations to ensure a positive and celebratory voting experience for all citizens.

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