Lok Sabha Election 2019

Fact check: can NRIs vote in this general election?

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Social media is abuzz with posts that non-resident Indians can exercise their franchise in this year's general election, that too online.

First things first. India does not support e-voting. The only way a voter can exercise his/her franchise is by personally visiting the polling booth. There are two more options: postal ballots and proxy voting reserved for government and armed forces personnel.

Postal ballots, in which a voter exercises his/her franchise through post is available only for people on election duty, armed forces personnel, and electors subject to preventive detention.

 

The option of proxy voting is available only for armed forces, police, and government officials posted outside India. The person can authorise another residing in the same polling booth area to cast a vote on his/her behalf. This option is currently available for wives of the above mentioned personnel, but not for the husbands.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) on February 21, clarified that NRI voters cannot cast votes online. It lodged a complaint with the Delhi Police, asking it to track down those spreading the “fake news”.

 

A non-resident Indian, who holds an Indian passport, can vote in his/her hometown after registering as an Overseas Voter. The NRI must fill the Form 6A, which can be downloaded online (http://ecisveep.nic.in/voters/overseas-voters/) or taken from the nearest Indian Mission.

The duly filled forms with supporting documents must be submitted to the Electoral Registration Officer in the constituency in person or via post. After verification, the ECI will add the NRI to the electoral rolls as an 'Overseas Voter’. Once the person returns to India, he or she will have to re-register himself or herself as a general voter and obtain an EPIC card.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, there are about 3.1 crore NRIs living in different countries. An expert committee of the ECI approved proxy voting. The Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill 2017 that extends the proxy voting to NRIs was passed in the Lok Sabha during the monsoon session last year, but didn't see the light of day in the Rajya Sabha and hence got lapsed.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 5:08:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/lok-sabha-2019/fact-check-can-nris-vote-in-this-general-elections/article26520133.ece

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