In some of our previous articles, we have discussed the possibilities of voting for NRI voters without requiring them to visit India on the election day. Here is some good news for all of our NRI friends who have long aspired to actively participate in the elections by the means of voting. In the near future, e-ballot voting may become a possibility and there is official backing to this news.
What is E-Ballot Voting for NRI Voters?
The Union Government informed the Supreme court of India on 12th January 2015 that it has accepted the Election Commission of India’s recommendation of allowing NRI voters to vote through the electronic ballot. The other recommendation that has been accepted is the provision of proxy voting. Through e-ballot and proxy voting, the non-resident Indians would soon be able to cast their votes from the country of their respective residences, without the need of coming to India itself. This is a proper landmark step for the voting rights of all the citizens.The catch is, the e-ballot voting system and the proxy system would not be easily accessible. The application by the NRI voter must be made 6 months in advance of the end of the term of the house. The recepient of the same would be the Residing Officer who would also be in-charge of all the required verification work.
What is Proxy Voting for NRI Voters?
Under the proxy voting system for the non-resident Indians, the voters would be able to make their opinion count by allowing a nominee chosen by them, to vote in place of them. In this way the NRI voters could nominate their close friends or family members to vote in their name. The nominee would obviously be only allowed to vote after due verification of all the documents and application forms. Nevertheless, both of the above voting procedures would surely act as blessings for all the Indian citizens who have been missing out on their right to vote just because they are not able to mark their presence in the nation, on the election day.
Can NRIs use E-Ballot or Proxy to Vote in the Delhi Assembly Re-Elections 2015?
No, since this recommendation of Election Commission of India has been just recently accepted by the Government, the implementation of these voting procedures is not happening anytime soon. It would still take some time for the ECI and Government to brush up these voting procedures and make them ready for use by the NRI voters. Therefore, the Non-resident Indians belonging to Delhi would not be able to cast their votes in the Delhi assembly re-elections taking place on 7th February 2015, without visiting the capital themselves.
Rejected Ways for NRI Voting
Even though the e-ballot voting and proxy voting recommendations have been accepted for the NRI Voters, the Election Commission of India did indeed rejected the idea of postal ballot and internet voting. These two methods have been tagged as not ready. Hence, until and unless all the loopholes and vulnerabilities related to postal and internet voting are redressed, the only option for NRI voters would be the e-ballot and proxy voting. Nevertheless, these two voting methods(e-ballot and proxy) would soon be made available for the NRI Voters.
This step by the Government and the Election Commission of India is surely a victory for all the NRI voters and social activists who have dreamt of proper inclusion of non-resident Indians in the Electoral process. All eligible voters should have a right to vote and this step is indeed a reflection of this fundamental right of the citizens of India.
How Can NRIs Register to Vote?
If you are a Non-resident Indian, you cannot fill the Form no. 6 to register yourself as a voter. The form no. 6 is only for the registration of resident citizens. However, NRIs can surely fill another form called form no. 6A, which is easily available online on the Election Commission of India website. The form no. 6A is the form for NRI voter registration and through this, any eligible NRI citizen could get his/her name in the native constituency’s voters’ list and become a registered voter. For the complete NRI voter registration guide, read our article: – How can an NRI apply for voter ID card online?
Here is the direct link from the ECI website, for NRI online voter registration: – http://eci-citizenservices.nic.in/?type=FORM6A