To meet the demand of NRIs wanting to be able to cast their vote in the Indian elections, the Indian Government has embraced NRI online applications for Voter ID cards. With global digitalization, it’s easier to apply from anywhere in the world using the Internet. Without ever having to physically visit an ERO in India, an NRI can apply for his Voter’s ID online. This move has increased the scope of voter registration.
Representation of the People’s Act of 1950
According to the Representation of the People’s Act of 1950, there was no provision for NRIs till the year 2010. The Act was then amended to incorporate NRIs to allow them to apply for their Voter’s ID card outside of India. The amendment allows any NRI, who does not have citizenship in any other country where she/he resides, to enroll for their Voter’s ID, provided they have attained the age of 18 years. The purpose of residing in another country can be education, business, employment, family and so on. The only stipulation is that you should not be a citizen of that country.
You need to meet the following requirements in order to be eligible for an NRI Voter ID Card.
- You should not be a citizen in the country you reside.
- You should be at least 18 years old.
- You need a photograph.
- You need a valid Indian passport.
- The passport page containing the identity and address details needs to be attested by a competent officer of the Indian Mission in the country of residence.
- The name enrolled in the constituency will be as mentioned in your passport.
NRI Voter ID Online Procedure
The procedure is quite simple to apply for an NRI Voter ID. To apply online, follow these simple steps.
- Visit the ECI website, and go to your state election commission of India division by choosing your state or union territory.
- Select Form 6A and download it.
- Print the form and fill it in.
- You will need to fill in your details as mentioned in your documents and passport.
- Your passport needs to be attested by a competent office of the Indian Mission in the country in which you are currently residing.
- Scan your filled in form, along with a copy of your attested passport and other documents.
- If online registration is supported for your area, then you can create a login ID with a password. You will be able to fill up your form, upload your scanned documents and make the application online itself.
- If you do not have this option, you can send these soft copies to the email of the State Election website.
Applying for NRI Voter ID Offline
If you wish to apply for your NRI Voter ID offline, you need to visit an ERO in India, fill out the form, submit your documents and make the application. If you wish to make the application from outside of India, some amount of online activity is required. You can download and print the form from the ECI website. Fill it in, and then scan it. Scan all the documents required and then post it to the address on the website.
NRIs Can Now Cast Their Ballot From Overseas
Non Resident Indians (NRIs) who wish to exercise their franchise need not fly down to India during elections. They will be allowed to vote through proxy, with a relative residing in India casting their vote for them. Another alternative suggested and accepted is voting through electronic ballot, or e-ballot.
These suggestions were accepted by the Union government regarding providing avenues to NRI’s so they could vote without needing to be present at polling stations.
The government rejected other alternatives such as postal ballot and internet voting as they were believed to be easier to manipulate.
The Election Commission had rejected a suggestion enabling NRIs to cast their votes at diplomatic missions abroad.
Regarding the e-postal ballot, the Election Commission has stated that it will be implementing a pilot project in a few constituencies and checking for the feasibility before being rolled out across all constituencies.
The proxy ballot has been recommended by the Election Commission as the most viable option for the casting of NRI votes. NRI voters will be able to choose if they would like to avail of this scheme, which will see the eligible voter notifying a relative in India who is also eligible to vote of his/her choice. The Indian resident voter will then cast the vote on behalf of the NRI voter.
The e-postal ballot appears to be the safest way to cast one’s vote. The eligible NRI voter will have to send an application to the Returning Officer 6 months before the termination of the House to be eligible to vote in the forthcoming elections. This application can be sent electronically or physically. Once the Returning Officer verifies the particulars of the NRI Voter ID, he/she will receive the postal ballot electronically at the time of the elections. A password would be allotted to the voter to ensure confidentiality of the process. The voter can cast his/her ballot after downloading the same, after which it is to be sent to the Returning Officer.
NRI Voter ID Restrictions
The provision to apply remotely for a voter’s ID has left many NRIs content. Although it has been extremely helpful, there are a few restrictions that will not make their vote count. NRIs need to be present at the election booth in the country in order to cast their vote. There is no provision to vote from outside of India at any Indian Embassy. While casting your vote, you should carry your original passport. The NRI can vote only in that constituency in which he/she has enrolled in.