As it is known that in a democratic country election are the key to make government. The election is a process in which citizens of a country chooses their representatives and these representatives are accountable to the people. After every particular time elections are held and people have the option to change their representative and elected a new one. As we all are aware that the whole world is suffering and fighting with the worldwide pandemic named as Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). But the biggest question that arises here is that in this situation election should be held or not be held. On the one hand, elections should be held because elections are must in a democratic country and it has been a long time since the disease has come and it will take time to get the vaccine also because it seems that this disease will go through medicine.
If elections should be held then safety measures must be taken. On the other hand, the safety of the people is the priority and important. In this situation, we cannot take the risk of people’s lives. So, elections should not be held. Countries like South Korea had successfully carried out a parliamentary election during this pandemic and many countries like America, New Zealand, Iceland, The Dominion Republic, Burundi etc. are planning to conduct elections. Those countries which are planning for elections are right because they want that there will be no delay in these things and these things are important for a country. If a representative of a country is good then it will make the country more powerful and developed. It is good that they were planned guidelines for the election process and everyone have to follow them. But if elections can be delayed and conduct after this pandemic will be safer to the peoples and also for a country.
Elections are the base of democracy which provides the primary mechanism and by this mechanism, people choose their representative and this representative is accountable to the people and work for the welfare of both people and country. Through elections, individuals participate in the governance of their country. An election is a complex process and to handle elections many las, rules and regulations have made. There is a definite criterion to participate in elections both as a voter and as a candidate. But now the situation is different because of COVID-19. There is a question that election should be held or not be held, if held then it is risky to the peoples and if not held then it will affect democracy and country because conduction of elections after a definite time interval is necessary. No country has faced this type of pandemic before and every country is trying to banish this pandemic from the world.
Due to regularly spreading of this virus and government responses may have a crucial impact on the electoral cycle, or the set of guidelines and processes involved in the conduct of elections.
As the election is a lengthy process it involves various elements relating to the:
1) pre-electoral period (involves training, information and voter registration),
2) Electoral period (it involves nominations, campaigns, voting and result) and
3) Post-electoral period (involves review reform and strategies).
What has changed due to COVID-19 related to elections?
The COVID-19 breakout has put India’s electoral calendar on the back burner. The absence of vaccine has obliged a long period of physical distancing and use of sanitising measures and this will change the great Indian poll circus forever, say, experts. This virus is causing postpone of elections and maybe even further. It has changed the whole process of elections and the Election Commission has made new guidelines to conduct elections. Everyone will have to follow these guidelines to keep themselves safe and to keep others safe too. There is also a change in polling issues that Congress MP and former Union Minister Manish Tewari agreed that much of the campaigns would have to shift to the digital sphere, but expressed more concern over the voting portion of the electoral exercise.
It has not only affected the Indian election system but also affected worldwide election system. Due to this virus, other countries also postponed their election and made a change in their election process. They also allowed new rules and guidelines related to elections. It has made questions on the leadership skill of the leaders of the country. It has changed everything- how the campaign is run, how we vote, what we value etc.
Elections should be held during COVID-19
Through elections, government is made and this government runs the country so, elections are compulsory and should be held during this pandemic. Everything wants to change and no one remains the same. Due to the change in things we are aware of these things. If a new leader is appointed for a country then we will see his or her leadership qualities and maybe it is beneficial for a country. Elections make changes in the democratic country and new leaders learn a lot from old leaders. We can not let the future of the country deteriorate by not conducting skills. If election should not be held then it will change the mind of the leader and maybe they work for their benefit but if they have a fear that maybe his or her position will be taken by someone else then he/she will work for the welfare of the people and the country so that people can choose to impress with it. As it is aware to all that the things which were closed earlier in this pandemic have now opened, those works which were closed have started happening so why we cannot we get the elections done, we can get the elections done by following safety measures and guidelines provided by Election Commission of India.
Election Commission of India is preparing to conduct elections and for this EC has made broad guidelines for the conduct of elections/ bye-elections during COVID-19, some of them are as follows:
- General guidelines to be followed by all the persons during the entire election process:
- During election-related activity, every person shall wear a face mask.
- At the entry of room/ hall place used for election purposes:
- Thermal scanning of all individuals shall be done
- Sanitizer, soap and water shall be provided.
- Social distancing shall be maintained.
- An adequate number of vehicles shall be available for voters to vote.
- Designation of Nodal Health Officer for the state, the District and the Assembly Constituency to oversee COVID-19 related arrangements and, preventive measures during the entire electoral process.
- Nomination Process:
- The nomination form will be provided online on the website of CEO/DEO
- An affidavit may also be provided online on the same website and its print can be taken and after notarization, it may be submitted along with the nomination form before the Returning Officer.
- The candidate may deposit security money at the designated platform through online mode.
- Election Material Kit will be prepared in a hall which has a definite amount of space following all sanitization, social distancing and safety measures.
- The no. of electors shall be maximum of 1000 instead of 1500 in a polling station.
- Mask, sanitizer, face-shield and gloves will be provided to every polling official.
- Campaign by the political parties/contesting candidates:
- Door to door campaigning is allowed with a group of 5 persons including candidates, excluding security personnel.
- Instead of 10 vehicles, the convoy of vehicles must be broken after every 5 vehicles and the interval between two sets of convoys of vehicles should be half an hour instead of a gap of 100 metres.
- Public meetings/ rallies can be organised adherence to expanding COVID-19 guidelines.
- Strong-room arrangement with proper sanitization.
- There will be a maximum of 7 counting in a counting hall.
- Result will be displayed on a large screen to avoid accommodation of a large number of counting agents.
These are the guidelines which are provided by Election Commission of India and every person has to follow them. By proper following of these guidelines, we can avoid the danger of COVID-19.
In a democratic country election is an important and compulsory process and the more free and fair elections make the country more powerful and developed.
Elections should not be held during COVID-19
Everyone knows that in a democratic country election is an important process but the safety of people is above this. This is the first time this disease has occurred so we have to keep safety in everything in every way. At this time conduction of election is not a good move by Election Commission and by the government because in the electoral cycle there will be a huge crowd. No matter how many guidelines we create, we will not be able to control this crowd and the crowd will be more, the danger of virus will be more.
The biggest reason for not conducting the election is that due to the fear of this pandemic few people, will come to vote. For the people the safety of themselves is greater than casting vote. Even if a single vote is not cast, the motive for conducting the election will not be fulfilled. If the motive of the election is not complete, then what is the benefit of conducting the elections. Another reason is that it may also happen that one or two people do not stand in the election due to this virus and it is possible that due to this we can leave a good leader. If there is no full participation in elections from the candidate side and voter side then it makes the electoral cycle incomplete. The election needs free and fair and full participation.
On November 28, 2019, Mr Thackrey was sworn in as Chief Minister and became a member of the legislature with 6 months, which expired on 27 May. This would not be a problem for them, the elections were to be held on 26 March, not postponed by EC indefinitely due to the epidemic, which exercised its powers under section 153 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 as well as Article 324 of the Constitution. The dual application of Article 164 (4) to extend this period for another 6 months was out of the question as the Supreme Court, In S.R. Chaudhari v. the State of Punjab and Ors (August 17, 2001) declared that it would tantamount to a subvert the principle of representative government.
This is the first time that the whole world is suffering from this type of big pandemic and this has caused many problems. From these, one problem is related to the conduction of elections. In a democratic country election are the base of democracy and government is made by the people. So, elections are compulsory and despite this pandemic, it is necessary to conduct the election. We opened the things which were closed earlier and most of the works which were not done earlier, have started slowly now. Delay in elections means the country remains behind. So, we can conduct elections keeping in mind the safety measures, sanitization, social distancing and guidelines provided by the Election Commission of India.
On the other hand, if there are elections then it is risky to the life of peoples and cases of COVID-19 will also increase, which we are trying to decrease. elections are important in a democratic country but the life of people is more important than elections and the elections can be conducted later anyway. This will not affect things so much. But now during this worldwide pandemic safety of people is more important. There will be less participation of voters in the elections and maybe one or two candidates will not participate in elections if these shall hold during this pandemic. If there will be no complete participation of people in elections, then there is no use of conducting elections. It is better and beneficial to conduct elections when this virus banishes.
So, the big question arises here is that there shall be the conduct of elections or shall not be the conduct of elections?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What is the full form of COVID-19?
- Name a country in which the parliamentary elections have been successfully carried out during this pandemic time.
- What has changed due to COVID-19 related to elections?
- Why should elections be in this pandemic?
- Why should there not be an election in this epidemic?
- Times of India, Newspaper
- Broad guidelines for the conduct of general elections/bye-elections during COVID-19, by Election Commission of India.
 Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease which is caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.
 It is developed by the European Commission (EC), the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) and the United National Development Programme (UNDP).
 Electronic Voting Machines/Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail
 The Election commission of India is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering election processes in India.
 Citation: (2004) 8 SCC (J) 48