Election 2014, India: Role of the First Polling Officer (FPO)

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A Brief presentation on what a First Polling Officer is supposed to do, meant to help those who are on election duty for the first time.

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Election 2014, India: Role of the First Polling Officer (FPO)

  1. 1. • District Election Officer nominates the Presiding Officer and Assistant Presiding Officer at the polling stations under the Section 26 of the R.P. Act, 1951. • Under the revised section 159 of the R.P. Act, employees of the Central Government, State Government, Panchayat, Local Bodies, Universities, Nationalised Banks, LIC, Government Companies registered under the Company Act, Government enterprises can be nominated as polling officers at the polling stations.
  2. 2.  FPO’s duty starts at the hour at which they have been asked to report at the polling station, and it ends when at the end of polling time, they hand over to the presiding officer the voters’ list and the count of male and female voters.  Sometimes the other officers ask FPOs to stay late until the night when all formalities are over. You need not.
  3. 3.  The election process only appoints you, but makes no provision for your food, or water. You may not be allowed to leave the station, and there may be no/clean toilets  Please take adequate snacks for you to last the long day.  If it is summer, your cooked lunch may rot. Choose your food wisely.
  4. 4. Is the first officer that the elector encounters inside the polling station. Has the marked copy of the electoral roll Is responsible for identification of the electors
  5. 5.  The electoral roll should not bear any marks or entries other than the “EDC” marks against the names of those voters on election duty and Voters who have chosen postal ballots
  6. 6.  Separate queues for men and women voters.  Allow three or four voters at a time as you direct.  Infirms and women with babies in arms may be given precedence over other voters  Men and women voters should be admitted in alternate batches
  7. 7.  Make sure: › The slip is on plain white paper, may have the name, serial number in the electoral roll, the number of the electoral roll part and the number and name of the polling station › The slip should not contain the name of the candidate and/or the name of his party and/or facsimile of symbol allotted to him.  Don’t compel voter to bring an identity slip, nor turn them away solely because they don’t have it  The slip is not a conclusive proof of his identity
  8. 8.  Ascertain and locate the name of the elector in the electoral roll  Matching particulars in the relevant entry in the roll, and loudly call out the page number, the part number, the serial number and the name of the elector to the hearing of the polling agents and the second polling officer.
  9. 9.  In case an elector brings an identity slip, his identity is to be established under the procedure as explained in Chapter XII.  Thereafter the identity slip brought by the elector should be torn into pieces and put in the Waste Paper Basket supplied.
  10. 10.  Such torn slips should not be thrown on the floor. If there is no challenge as regards the identity of the voter, the Polling Officer will underline in every case the entry relating to the elector in the marked copy of the electoral roll with him and where the elector is a female, put a (ü) mark also on the left hand side of the name of the female elector. Such tick marking will not be necessary at a polling station set-up exclusively for women.
  11. 11.  At the end of the day’s polling he should count the number of men and women voters who have voted and record the result in the Presiding Officer’s diary. One easy method of doing this would be to write down all the serial numbers from 1 to 200 or 300 on two separate sheets of paper before the commencement of the poll. One such sheet may be used for recording the number of men voters and the other for women voters. The serial number on the relevant number sheet should be struck off in consecutive order, according to the sex of the voters as and when they come to vote. This will also help in ascertaining instantly the total number of men and women voters who have voted up to a particular hour.
  12. 12.  The voter will then move to the Second Polling Officer
  13. 13.  The slip contains party/contestant’s details, call the polling agent, tear the slip  The voter is faking ID, call the presiding officer and handover the imposter to police  Voter is a woman in Purdah, verify identity with help of woman PO in separate enclosure
  14. 14.  Polling agents, candidates/party workers may have a list of the names of dead, and allegedly bogus voters.  If any person from that list comes to vote, check that person's identity rigorously. This does not mean a formal challenge
  15. 15.  Do not entertain any challenge by a candidate/polling agent to a voter's identity unless the challenger pays five rupees in cash  Furnish a receipt to challenger in the form prescribed in Annexure IX.  Warn the person challenged about the penalty, read the relevant entry in the electoral roll in full and ask him whether he is the person referred to in entry  Enter his name and address in the list of Challenge Votes (Form 10) and ask him to sign or affix thumb impression thereon.  If he refuses to do so do not allow him to vote.
  16. 16.  Ask the challenger to produce evidence that the challenged voter is indeed faking ID  If the challenger fails to produce evidence, dismiss the challenge and allow the person challenged to vote  If the challenger provides the evidence, then ask the voter to counter the challenge. If he proves his ID, allow him to vote  If voter fails to do so, establish the challenge as valid  Feel free to ask the village officer, the neighbors of the voter question and any other person present, administer an oath to the paper challenged or nay other person offering to give evidence.  In case the challenge has been established, hand over the person to the policeman on duty together with your complaint as in Annexure X addressed to Station House Officer of Police Station in the jurisdiction of which your polling station falls.
  17. 17.  After successful inquiry, return the challenge fee of five rupees, take receipt in Column of Form 10 and on counterfoil of the relevant receipt in the Receipt Book  If challenge was not genuine, forfeit the challenge fee, enter the word “forfeited” in Column of Form 10 and relevant counterfoil in the Receipt Book
  18. 18.  If you are otherwise satisfied about identity of the person, ignore the clerical errors in the roll  It may appear to you that the voter is younger than 18 years of age in spite of th ID proof. If so, take an affidavit from him/her but allow to vote if they have the ID proof.
  19. 19.  On production of election duty certificate, obtain the signature of the person  Enter the person’s name and electoral roll number as mentioned in the certificate at the end of the marked copy of electoral roll  Permit him to vote by means of the voting machine in the same manner as for an elector entitled to vote at that polling station.
  20. 20. 1. Maintain close relation with members of your Polling Party, work as team 2. Ensure that all the Polling materials have been given to you 3. Compare marked copies of Electoral Roll and see that both are identical and see that marked copies of Electoral Rolls contain no mark other than PB and EDC. 4. See that deletions of names and corrections as per supplement have been incorporated. 5. All papers of working copies of Roll are serially numbered in manuscript. 6. Printed serial numbers of voters are not corrected and no new number substituted. 7. Arrive at least 45 minutes before Poll at the Polling Station. 8. Separate entry and exit for voters at Polling Station. 9. Appoint a Polling Officer locally, if any Polling Officer is absent.

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