With everything going digital and the Indian Government embracing the online way of applications in all field from education to documentation, applying for voter ID card online is also simplified and has further increased the scope of voter registration. Even NRIs can apply for voter ID card online without having to visit the ERO in India. This comes with certain conditions though.
Provision: Can and NRI Vote in India?
With the amendment to the Representation of the People’s Act of 1950, in the year 2010, (in effect since February 2011); every overseas elector can get his or her name on the electoral list or voter’s list of the constituency to which the address appearing in their passport belongs to. This amendment covers every Indian, residing outside India either due to employment, education or any other reason; but is still an Indian citizen and does not hold any other citizenship with any other country. They need to have a valid Indian Passport and can get their name on the voter’s list in their corresponding constituency. NRIs can submit the Form 6A along with the documents and passport sized photograph personally to the ERO or send it there by post as well. This form and documents should be accompanied by an attested copy of the applicant’s valid Indian passport. The copy needs to be attested by any competent officer of the Indian Mission of the country in which the applicant is currently based out of. So those citizens who are residing out of the country for various reasons can make the application for voter ID card this way as well.
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 there in. 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 can not 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. This 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.