Inside model polling stations: Chairs, clean toilets, assistance booths, photographs on walls

The Election Commission has decided to have at least 35 'model' polling stations for the Assembly elections. These polling stations won't be run-of-the-mill government buildings but spruced-up places with walls sporting blown-up pictures of dignitaries and leaders voting in past elections.

"Bad polling infrastructure has been noted as one of the reasons for electoral disenchantment. We have been systematically working on all the underlying causes for low voter turnout and urban apathy to make targeted interventions in the form of voter awareness camps and, simultaneously, working at improving the infrastructure at polling stations," Delhi's Chief Electoral Officer Vijay Dev said.

Officials said one polling location would be chosen in each of the nine districts of Delhi and converted into a 'model' station. One polling location ó a government building ó normally houses four-five polling stations. The model polling stations would be spruced up under three categories ó hardware improvement, queue management and voters' experience enhancement.

"On the hardware side, we will ensure the buildings are painted afresh and are clean, with proper lighting, arrangement for drinking water, clean toilets, furniture and proper place for voters to sit," Ankur Garg, chief nodal officer for the Delhi elections, said.

On the queue management side, the electoral office will ensure proper steel barriers such as those seen at airports; patients, pregnant women and old people will be given priority for voting; tokens will be given to voters and tents set up for them, where they can await their turn; professionally done signages will direct voters to their polling locations.

"Voter assistance booths will be set up outside the polling stations with block-level officers and youth volunteers assisting voters. We also wish to set up counters and a token system at all polling stations to keep the mobile phones of voters when they go inside to vote," Garg said.

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