The Government of India has made it easier to apply for a voter card via the internet and hopes to expand the scope of voter registration, especially for NRIs who no longer need to visit the ERO in India.
Can A Non-Resident Indian Citizen Become A Voter?
Yes, According to the provisions of the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 2010, a person who is a citizen of India and who has not acquired the citizenship of any other country and is otherwise eligible to be registered as a voter and who is absenting from his place of ordinary residence in India owing to his employment, education or otherwise is eligible to be registered as a voter in the constituency in which his place of residence in India as mentioned in his passport is located.
NRI voters can also register by applying online through Form 6A. The Form is available under the ‘Overseas Electors’ category on the website of the Chief Electoral Officer.
Online Application for NRI Voter ID Card
Realizing that it is practically not feasible for NRI voters to come down to India for submitting Form 6A to get a voter ID card in order to be able to cast vote, the Government through the Election Commission has made provisions so that NRI voters can apply online for election card.
NRI voters can apply online by filling up the Form 6A available under the ‘Overseas Electors’ category on the electoral website of their state. To find out their state electoral website they can go to www.eci.nic.in and click on the ‘Link to state CEO’ URL/option. Once on to the concerned site, they can proceed for their voter ID card online apply procedure.
They can submit scanned copies of the required documents and photograph. They will also need to submit the scanned copy of their Indian Passport for the page containing the Identity info and the Address details of the applicant which should be attested by the competent officer of the Indian Mission of the country where the applicant currently resides. These documents along with the Form 6A will be downloaded by officers back in India and their application for election card will be processed.
This amendment is mainly to fulfill the demand by NRI voters to be able to cast their vote in India and exercise their franchise. However, the major problem still is that postal ballot is not acceptable. NRI cannot even cast a vote through the Indian Embassy in their current country of residence. The current law states that if an NRI needs to cast a vote, he/she must be physically present at the election booth in their constituency along with their original passport to be eligible for voting. This is of course after getting their name on the voter’s list and getting an election card. It is still a major reason why not many NRI voters exercise their franchise as it is not always possible for them to come down to India during election days and cast the vote.
Questions Related to Voter ID Card for NRIs
We clarify some of your major doubts related to the procedure of obtaining a Voter ID Card for NRI. You can go through the following questions and get clarifications for your doubts
Can I be enrolled as a voter in more than one place?
No. A person cannot be enrolled as a voter in more than one place in view of the provisions contained under Section 17 and 18 of Representation of the People Act, 1950.
From where can Form 6A be obtained?
It can be downloaded from the website of Election Commission of India. Form 6A is also available free of cost in Indian Missions in foreign countries and in the offices of EROs in India.
What documents are required to be enclosed with Form 6 A?
One recent passport size colored photograph, Photocopy of relevant pages of the passport of the applicant containing his/her photograph and all other particulars and photocopy of the pages of Passport containing the valid visa.
What is the postal address of the ERO concerned?
Postal addresses of all EROs are available on the website of Election Commission of India. They can also be obtained from Indian Missions in Foreign countries. In addition to that, these are also available on the website of the Chief Electoral Officer of respective State/UT, link to which has been provided on the Commission’s website.
What other formalities are required to be fulfilled at the time of filing claim application?
If the application is sent by post, the photo-copy of the documents mentioned above should be duly self attested and attached. If the application is submitted in person before the ERO, the original passport should be produced for verification.
Should ERO be informed when the overseas elector returns to India and becomes ordinarily resident in India?
Yes. In such case the person can be registered as a general elector at the place where he is ordinarily resident in India.
How will an overseas Indian know that his/her name is included in the electoral roll?
The decision of the ERO will be communicated to the applicant by post on his address in the foreign country given by him in form 6A and also by SMS on the mobile number given by him in form 6A.
Electoral Rolls are also available on the website of the Chief Electoral Officer of the State concerned in PDF format and can be seen by anybody.
How can an overseas elector whose name is enrolled in the electoral roll exercise his/her franchise?
After enrolment, an overseas elector will be able to cast his vote in an election in the Constituency, in person, at the polling station provided for the part where he is registered as an overseas elector.
Where are names of overseas electors included in the electoral roll?
Names of overseas electors are included in the relevant part of the electoral roll of the constituency where his place of residence in India as mentioned in his passport is located. Within that relevant part a Separate section for “Overseas Electors” is created in the roll and names of overseas electors are kept in this section.
Whether ERO is to be informed of the change in current residential address of the overseas electors in the country of his/her residence?
Yes. It is the responsibility of the overseas elector to keep the ERO informed of the change in residential address in the country of his/her residence.
Provision for NRIs
Since the year 2010, any overseas elector can get their name on the voter’s list of the constituency for the address present in their passport. The basic criteria are the individual needs to be a citizen of India and must not hold citizenship of any other nation. They must possess a valid Indian passport in order to submit Form 6A. Some other documents and a passport sized photograph need to be attached with the form prior to submission at the ERO through post. The documents as well as the form must come with a copy of a valid Indian passport of the applicant that has been attested by a competent officer of the Indian Mission of the nation where the applicant currently resides.
Applications for election cards can be submitted either in person directly to the registration officer of the concerned constituency or online by NRIs. The addresses of the registered officers for the various assembly constituencies may be found online. The Form 6A for NRI electors will be available under the category of ‘Overseas Electors’ on the electoral sites of their respective states along with the website of the Chief Electoral Officer in case of some states. But first the NRIs need to find their state electoral web page. As soon as they access the concerned site, they are free to precede with their online voter ID card application process.
Voting Right to NRIs
In response to common queries regarding voting rights of overseas Indians, it is clarified that every Indian citizen staying in a foreign country, who has attained the age of 18 years as on first January of the year, and is otherwise eligible to be registered as a voter, can make an application in Form 6A for being registered as a voter in the roll of the part/polling area of the constituency where he is ordinarily resident.
A Non-Resident citizen of India, who is not included in the electoral roll, and who is absenting from his place of ordinary residence in India owing to his employment, education or otherwise is eligible to be registered as a voter in the constituency in which his place of residence in India as mentioned in his passport is located.
For proper acquaintance with the process and procedures of Voter ID Card one can visit the website of the Election Commission of India: www.eci.nic.in.