India heads for the crucial Lok Sabha elections and assembly polls in four states on April 11. The Election Commission has announced the full schedule and only a few days are left for voters to register.
However, there are many who may be unable to make it to their home constituency on the day of polling.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, this group included a whopping 280 million people of a total of 834 million. To put this data by the Election Commission in perspective, that is around seven times the population of Canada!
Of these voters, there may be many who did not vote out of choice, but there were also others who did not have this choice.
A significant number of this set included those who had moved to other parts of their state or country for education and employment among other reasons.
According to the 2011 census, the number of internal migrants in the country stood at 139 million.
Now that another election is round the corner, the importance of votes of millions of Indians can’t be neglected.
So, if you are not staying at your original’ home and are unable to travel on the date of voting, know that you can still vote — this will not involve the investment of much time or money.
Here is the guide to vote in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
FIRST, ARE YOU ELIGIBLE TO VOTE?
There are three types of voters — general, overseas and service. General voter: Any Indian citizen who has attained 18 years of age as on January 1.
Overseas voters, subset of general voters, include Indian citizens living abroad for work or education.
Service voters: As the name suggests, members of the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force, Border Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Assam Rifles, National Security Guards, Central Reserve Police Force, Central Industrial Security Force and Sashastra Seema Bal and General Reserve Engineer Force (Border Road Organisation) are eligible to be registered as service voters.
So, while NRIs can exercise their right by proxy voting, service voters can use postal ballot services or cast a proxy vote.
This is, however, not an option for internal migrants since they are away from the polling booth assigned to them on the basis of their permanent address.
There are two ways to cross this hurdle, but one magic word — Form 6.
Get your name enrolled in the constituency you have moved to. For this, file the application in prescribed Form 6 on the website of the chief electoral officer of the concerned state or website of Election Commission of India.
For the online process, you will need a passport-size coloured photograph and photo-copies of documentary proof of age (birth certificate, marksheet of classes 10, 8 and 5, Indian passport, PAN, driving licence and Aadhar letter issued by UIDAI) and residence.
The address proof which you can sumit includes passport, licence, passbook, ration card, IT assessment order, rent, water, telephone, electricity, gas bills or a letter delivered via Indian postal department.
Once the EC receives Form 6, a booth-level officer will visit your home to verify and obtain a signature on the application form.
Form 6 is also available free of cost in the offices of electoral registration officers, assistant electoral registration.
You can either file the form before the electoral registration officer or assistant electoral registration officer of the home constituency or post it with relevant documents to the officers.
Postal addresses of electoral registration officers are available on the website of Election Commission of India, chief electoral officers of state and Union Territories.
After the Election Commission receives your Form 6 with the requisite documents, within a week your name will be included in the electoral rolls.
Note that if you are a student and want to be enrolled as an elector at the place of your college or university, you will have to enclose a bona fide certificate by the head of the institution.
All requests in the form of Form 6, submitted 10 days before the filing of nomination in your home constituency and completed with details, will ensure that your name is enlisted in the voter list, as requested.
So, now that you know voting away from home is possible, get your name in the voter list.
Make every vote count.