The state election commission (SEC), last month, gave a go-ahead to hold civic polls in the city in February, 2022, and asked the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to begin preparation keeping COVID-19 protocols in mind. To encourage voter turnout, the civic body will increase the number of polling booths in the forthcoming polls by 50 per cent.
Currently, a survey of polling stations used for municipal elections across Mumbai is being conducted. According to BMC officials, considering the COVID-19 pandemic, it will have to create more polling stations and reduce the number of voters in each polling booth. Each booth is meant for 1,200-1,500 voters. "We have been asked to ensure that COVID-19 protocols are followed while making arrangements in the due process. We are working to see if it is possible to reduce the number of registered voters in each polling station from 1,200 to 1,500 voters to 700 to 800 voters. We will know after the survey," the official said.
The Municipal Election Department has started identifying the additional polling stations while surveying the existing polling stations. Due to the pandemic, officials have been directed to make arrangements to increase the number of polling booths by the state election commission (SEC). “There are around 7,900 designated booths now. The BMC may need to increase it to 11,500 or more to reduce crowding," said a senior BMC official.