In a bid to attract more overseas Indians to register as voters, the Election Commission (EC) has been taking various steps to make matters easy for the eligible and willing.
The EC is trying to attract Indians abroad, who are eligible to vote in India. In order to do so the EC has launched a portal that allows these Indians to register online. The action was taken after close to 24,000 overseas Indians recently registered themselves as voters.
Set in order to engage more voters, the portal has been designed to cater to all queries of the applicants. It has a long list of frequently asked questions to help people understand the registration procedure.
The portal can be accessed through the website of EC.
As of now 24,348 have registered with the poll panel, and the EC wants to maximise this number. According to data provided by it, of the total current applicants, 23,556 are from Kerala, 364 from Punjab and 14 from Gujarat.
The ‘Overseas Indian Voters’ defines an overseas elector as a person who is a citizen of India and one who has not acquired citizenship of any other country. Such a person is eligible to be registered as a voter in the constituency in which their place of residence is in India, as mentioned in their original Indian passport in which their visa endorsement has been made.
Once a voter’s name is registered, the election officials of the concerned constituency inform the overseas Indian by posting on his or her latest address abroad.
The portal, however, makes sure that overseas electors are not issued an election photo identity card. This is to ensure the eligible applicants follow protocol and cast their in-person at the polling station after presenting their original passport as identity proof.
Although this condition may change now if the Union Cabinet’s proposal to extend proxy voting for overseas Indians is applied.
In past, data has shown that only 10,000 to 12,000 NRIs casted their vote as they were unwilling to bear the expenses of an overseas journey; but now with the introduction of proxy voting, an increased participation is being anticipated.
The new rules demand a new person as a proxy voter for every election.
Proxy voting is also allowed for members of the armed forces.