The Election Commission of India (ECI) this week kicked off a drive to update the electoral rolls in Jammu & Kashmir, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, where elections are expected later this year, for the first time allowing those turning 18 as of October 1 instead of January 1 to enroll, and for the collection of Aadhaar numbers of applicants.
On Wednesday, the ECI wrote to the Jammu & Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), instructing that the ongoing electoral roll revision exercise should be conducted in accordance with the new rules allowing four qualifying dates a year. For Jammu & Kashmir, the ECI has said the draft electoral roll should be published on September 1, and the final electoral roll on October 31.
The ECI wrote to the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh CEOs on Monday, giving the programme for the revision of rolls to be followed. The ECI informed the CEOs to carry out the special revision in accordance with the rules framed under the Election Laws (Amendment) Act, 2021, which increased the qualifying dates from January 1 every year to January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1, and allowed for Aadhaar-linking with Voter ID, that were notified on June 17.
The ECI’s letter stated: “In the light of amendment in the Representation of the People Act, 1950 and the Registration of Electors Rules, 1960 and being election year for the States of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, special summary revision of electoral rolls with reference to 01.10.2022 as the qualifying date is required to be undertaken with the purpose of giving opportunity to all young eligible persons, who are attaining the age of 18 years between 1 January 2022 and 1 October 2022, to get themselves registered in the electoral roll and use voting right in the impending general election to legislative assemblies.”
The pre-revision activities would be carried out from Monday till August 10 and the draft electoral roll would be published by August 12, the ECI said. The electoral roll would be finalised by October 10, according to the programme.
The two State Assembly elections would also be the first ones where new electors would have Aadhaar-linked Voter IDs, but it would not be mandatory. “The applicant had to furnish Aadhaar Number in Form-6 and Form-8, if he/she is having Aadhaar number, however, no application for inclusion of name in electoral roll shall be denied and no entries in electoral roll shall be deleted for inability of an individual to furnish or intimate Aadhaar Number,” the ECI’s letter said.