Covid-19: Election Commission announces updated SOPs 

The ECI’s updated rules and regulations are for all general elections and by-elections to be held in the wake of Covid-19  


As the Covid-19 pandemic goes through various stages, all future election processes, including campaigning, and voting, will now follow an updated set of rules and regulations. The Election Commission of India (ECI) has made public the updated rules and regulations that will be followed for all elections, including general elections and by-elections, that are due to be held in the wake of Covid-19. 

The Covid-19 prevention protocols will have to be followed by all those involved in the process, including voters, officials, candidates and their supporters. The mandate includes, compulsory wearing of  masks, social distancing, thermal scanning at all premises that will be used for the election. Sanitisers, soaps and extra masks, will also be provided.

The ECI has also extended the Postal Ballot facility to include voters who are:

a. Persons with Disabilities (PwD)

b. Above the 80 years of age

c. Employed in notified Essential services

d. Are Covid-19 positive/ may be infected and under quarantine (home/ institutional)

The ECI has also issued additional options to facilitate online filing of nominations:

1) Nomination forms will also be available online on the website of CEO/ DEO. Candidates can fill in it online, and take a print for submitting before the Returning Officer as specified in Form-1 (Rule-3 of Conduct of Election Rules 1961).

2) Affidavit may also be filled in online, a print taken, and after notarization, submitted along with the nomination form before the Returning Officer.

3) Candidates will also be able to deposit security money online, however, they still continue to have the option of deposit in cash in the treasury.

All pollings booths will be sanitised a day before the election, and thermal scanners will be provided at the entrance of all polling stations, stated the election commission. According to news reports, if a voter has a temperature higher than the criteria set by the Ministry of Health, then the temperature will be measured again, and if still high then the voters will be “given a token and asked to come in the last hour of voting” and allowed to cast their vote after additional Covid-19 precautions are put in place. 

According to a report in YojanaKhabar, all voters will be issued tokens on a first come-first-served basis, so that people do not have to wait in the queue. There will be more polling booths, each catering to a maximum of 1,000 voters. Earlier this limit was 1,500 voters, stated the report.

Rules have also been updated for campaigning during this time, in adherence to Covid-19 protocol. Candidates can undertake house to house campaigns with a maximum entourage of five persons (excluding security personnel). During campaign roadshows, the motor convoy will be divided into 5-5 vehicles, and permission for rallies will be approved on the basis of Covid-19 guidelines stated by the ECI.

District Election Officers will decide the venue for public meetings, which will have entry and exit points. Social distancing will have to be followed at public places. The Nodal District Health Officer will be involved in the process to follow the Covid-19 guidelines, stated the ECI update. The District Election Officer and Superintendent of Public will ensure that no more people gather than the approval from the State Disaster Management Authority.

Some guidelines are common, and compulsory for everyone: 

1) Wearing a face mask during every election related activity.

2) At the entry of hall/ room/ premises used for election purposes:

(a) Thermal scanning of all persons 

(b) Sanitiser, soap and water shall be made available.

3) Social distancing shall be maintained as per the govt Covid–19 guidelines 

4) As far as practicable, large halls should be identified and utilized to ensure social distancing norms.

5) Adequate number of vehicles shall be mobilized for movement of polling personnel, security personnel to ensure compliance of COVID-19 guidelines.

The entire document may be read here:





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