The Odisha State Election Commission (SEC) has laid down a set of guidelines specifying rules for the validation of votes polled during the Panchayat elections in the State.
Secretary to the SEC, R.N. Sahu on Sunday issued a letter to all district Collectors with clarification on rules for the counting of votes at the Block headquarters.
The SEC's clarification comes in the wake of several queries received by the Commission regarding the validity of the Ballot Paper when a voter has recorded his vote in the pre-fold portion and another vote against one of the contesting candidates.
Quoting the Panchayat Election Rules in its notice, the Election Commission mentions that a Ballot Paper is liable for rejection if votes are recorded in favour of more than one candidate in the fray for the election.
In the instant case even if the voter has recorded his vote against one contesting candidate and another against a symbol which has been pre-folded before, the intention of the voter is clear and the same cannot be considered as recording vote in favour of more than one candidate.
In such a case, since the elector has recorded his vote in the pre-fold portion, definitely it is not in favor of one of the contesting candidates. Hence, the Ballot Paper voted in favour of a contesting candidate shall be considered, provided it is not otherwise invalid.