Election 2019: Voting rights of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs)

Voting rights of NRI
Voting rights of NRI

All you need to know about Voting Rights of Indians

Can Non-Resident Indians vote? If yes, then how does it work? The question of whether the non-resident Indians (NRIs) are allowed to vote for their native country has been the center of focus on many occasions. Lok Sabha Elections 2019 is around the corner. In that case, let us throw some light on the Voting Rights of Non – Resident Indians.

Voting rights of NRI
Voting rights of NRI

Understanding the Voting Right of Non – Residents India

According to the provisions of Section 19 of the Representation of People Act, 1950, as long as an NRI is ‘ordinarily resident’ as per the provisions of Section 20A of the law, he could join the electoral rolls. Till  2010,  NRIs were not permitted to play the active role in the elections of India.

NRIs forms a great force all over the world with a population of 3.10 Crore, according to the Ministry of External Affairs. If seen practically it is very expensive and complex to fly from another country for the sake of pressing one button. There has been no proper concern paid to the matter by the election commission as it is a vast and complex matter.

So, based on the upper fact it was not at all surprising that the number of NRI voters registered in Punjab polls were 314. The number of voters as compared to the total was very few.

Read more: Election 2019: How to apply for Voter ID, documents required, and Eligibility

Who are Non-Resident Indian Electors?

An Overseas Elector or Non-Resident Indian Elector is a person who is a citizen of India and has not acquired the citizenship of any other country. A person is eligible to vote for his native country and he is absent from the country for the sake of education, employment or for any other matter. According to the Provision of Section 20A of the Representation of People Act 1950, an NRI settled in the foreign land is allowed to take part as an elector in Electoral roll of India.

Conditions that authorize NRI to be an Elector

 There should be a valid Indian Passport, which means a person should be a citizen of India and not of the country where he’s living. The age of the elector must be 18 as on January 1st of the year in which the elections are to be held.

If the above-given conditions are fulfilled by an NRI then he is ready to take another step –

There are two ways in which one can register himself for the voting, which are, offline and online registrations

1.Offline Registrations       

If you wish to apply for Voter ID offline then you have to visit constituency first. Once you are there then follow the steps discussed –

Go the Election Registration office.

Fill out the form Form 6A.

Submit the documents like passport size photographs, address in India and so on

You will also need to show your original passport but be careful enough with that and don’t misplace it.

 Make an application

 2.Online Registration

It is a great step by the Government as it promotes a large number of the overseas elector to become at least a part of electoral rolls of India even if they are not voting.

Follow the steps for the online registration –

Visit the ECI website.

Choose the state or Union territory.

Opt for Form 6A and fill it.

 Print the form.

 After filling it, scan the same.

 Electoral registration officer will confirm it and the final decision will reach to you by post on the address in the foreign country.

Misconceptions for the NRI voters –

 If you thought of casting your vote remaining in the foreign country at an Indian Embassy, then you are wrong. E-postal ballots are yet not confirmed by the Election Commission. Although the EC is trying it for the pilot constituencies at by-elections after the Lok Sabha polls.

For now, after getting your Voter ID through offline or online registration, you have to fly down to the country for the suffrage.

 An overseas elector or an NRI is not a Hero, i.e. they have to carry their passport to the booth.

 If you held an EPIC in the past as a voter in India then you must have to inform in the Form 6A.

Irrespective of the Victory and loss of your party, the important thing is that you cast your vote.

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