• India’s election laws provide a comprehensive framework to manage disruptions in the polling process due to various reasons such as damage to EVMs, booth-capturing, natural disasters, or the death of a candidate.
  • Provisions for repolls, adjournments, and the voiding of polls are in place to ensure that the democratic process remains fair, transparent, and uninterrupted.
  • A recent example is the adjournment of elections in Madhya Pradesh’s Betul Lok Sabha constituency due to the death of a candidate on April 9.


  • Under Section 58 of the Representation of the People Act (RPA), the Election Commission (EC) can declare the poll at a polling station void in specific circumstances:
  • If an unauthorized person unlawfully takes away any EVM.
  • If any EVM is accidentally or intentionally destroyed, lost, damaged, or tampered with.
  • If a mechanical failure develops in any EVM during the recording of votes.
  • In such scenarios, the Returning Officer (RO) promptly informs the EC and the state’s Chief Electoral Officer of the relevant facts and material circumstances.
  • Following this, the EC may declare the poll void and formally set a new poll date and time.
  • Contesting candidates or their election agents are notified in writing. Additionally, a public notice is displayed, and announcements are made in the polling area to alert voters.
  • All electors are allowed to vote in the new election. During the repoll, voters’ left middle fingers are inked to differentiate from the mark made during the first poll (on their left forefinger).


India’s election laws and the provisions for managing disruptions play a crucial role in upholding the integrity and fairness of the electoral process.

By ensuring that all contingencies are addressed, the EC maintains public confidence in the democratic system and ensures that elections are conducted smoothly, despite unforeseen challenges.

Legacy Editor Changed status to publish June 29, 2024