AP PHOTOS: For the first time India's elderly and disabled are able to vote from home

NEW DELHI (AP) — Vijay Lakshmi, 85, stood beaming at the entrance of her house as she welcomed a team dispatched by the Election Commission of India. They were here to collect her vote.

The team visiting Vijay lakshmi’s neighbourhood comprised of 5 people in total, including a policeman and a cameraperson to document the process.

The octogenarian had just gotten the dressing changed on her injured arm when the team arrived. She didn’t need to be briefed as she was all prepared and excited to vote. “It would not have been possible for me to cast my vote had the team not visited my house,” she said.

The election commission for the first time has provided the facility of home voting for the elderly and persons with disabilities in the 2024 national elections. Voters at or above the age of 85 and those with 40% disability have been given the option to vote from home. More than 17 million such voters have registered across the country, the commission said.

Nearly 970 million people — or over 10% of the global population — are eligible to vote in India’s general elections that began April 19 and will run through June 1. The mammoth exercise is the biggest anywhere in the world and will take 44 days before results are announced on June 4.