Voting, or exercising one’s franchise is a fundamental duty given to every Indian citizen. Voting empowers the country’s citizens to elect leaders of their choosing to govern the country and enact policies. Voting allows everyone to participate in the process of governing a country and can be used to bring about a populist change in government and impacts every aspect of a country.
Assam Elections 2021: Election Commission lays down Stringent COVID Protocols
The term of the 126-member Assam Assembly will come to an end on 31 May, 2021. The Election Commission and political parties have now started the preparations for the upcoming election. While addressing a press conference, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora had said the dates for the assembly election would be decided, keeping in mind the Rongali Bihu festival. In Assam, Rongali Bihu is celebrated for marking the beginning of the Assamese New Year. The CEC had said that the process of the election will be completed before the CBSE Board exams which will begin on 4 May.
With the pandemis still making its rounds, the EC has been expected to issue a strict COVID-19 protocols and the number of polling stations will increase by around 5,000 and might even be more than 33,000 in total.
The polling booths will adhere to all COVID protocols like sanitising, social distancing, and temperature check. The polling personnel will be provided with COVID kits.
EC has also reduced the maximum number of electors foe every polling station from 1,500 to 1,000. EC might even deploy special observers in a lot of sensitive constituencies and districts for monitoring and ensuring free and fair elections.
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All Indian citizens above the age of 18 years are eligible to vote and contest elections at the state as well as central level, as also for local government bodies. However all those who wish to participate in the electoral process are required to register for the process and provide proof of their eligibility, in the form of a voter ID.
A voter’s ID card is issued to individuals if they fulfil the criteria as laid down by the laws governing the election process.
Election commissioners, who are responsible for conducting a smooth election process, have made it easier for citizens to apply for voter ID cards or make changes in their cards.
Assam, being one of the largest states in the strategic north eastern region of India, has also made it easier and more convenient for its residents to register for the electoral process, as explained below.
How to Apply for a Voter ID Card Online in Assam
To facilitate a faster and smoother registration process, the Chief Election Officer of Assam has introduced online applications for voter ID cards. This process makes it convenient for applicants to register wherever they are, at their convenience. They no longer have to wait in long queues for application forms or verification processes, and can also track the status of their application online.
Applicants can visit the official website of the Chief Election Officer of Assam, which contains information and guidelines for all upcoming elections as well as registration and application processes.
Follow the given steps to Voter ID Registration in Assam:
- Visit the website of the Chief Election Office of Assam (www.ceoassam.nic.in), where you find a “Download Forms” tab to the left of your screen.
- Click on the link and select the form you require. For enrolment of new voters, click on Form 6.
- Choose your language preference (from English, Bengali and Assamese).
- Print the form and fill in the details requested.
- Once you have done so, attach the documents required, such as proof of age and address as well as a passport sized photograph.
- Submit the form either by post or in person to the nearest election office.
- You will receive an application number, which can be used to track the status of your application.
- After submission of the form, a Booth Level Officer (BLO) will visit your home to verify the details provided in the form.
- After successful verification of your details, you will receive your voter’s ID card through the post at the address mentioned in your application form or you can collect it in person from the election office.
How to Apply for a Voter ID Card Offline in Assam
Individuals who wish to register for a voter’s ID card in Assam can do so offline as well as online. For those who do not have access to the internet or are not familiar with a computer, the offline voter registration process can also be used.
Applying for a voter’s ID card can be done by following the below steps:
- Visit the nearest electoral office (or designated booths as announced from time to time) and collect Form 6, which is the form for registering a new voter in the electoral rolls.
- Submit the filled in and signed form to the electoral office along with the documents required (address proof, age proof, photographs).
- When you submit the form, you will receive a reference number, which can be used to track the status of your application.
- A Booth Level Officer (BLO) will visit your home to verify the information you have provided in your application form.
- Once the verification process is successfully completed, you will be issued a voter’s ID card. You can collect the card from the electoral office or you could choose to receive it by India Post to the address as mentioned in your application form.
Documents to be Submitted for Voter ID in Assam
When applying for a voter ID card, applicants have to submit certain documents for verification purposes.
The documents to be submitted are as listed below:
- Proof of address (Aadhaar card/utility bills/bank passbook/passport/driver’s licence/ ration card)
- Proof of age (PAN Card/ passport/ Aadhaar card/ driver’s licence/birth certificate etc)
- Recent passport sized photographs
How to track status in Assam
Tracking Voter ID Status Online
The Assam CEO website(http://ceoassam.nic.in/) currently has no facility available to check your Voter ID status online. However, you can check if your name has been included in the electoral rolls by visiting the NVSP website (http://electoralsearch.in/).You can search using your details or your EPIC number.
- Search by details.
- Provide your name, father/husband’s name, age or date of birth, gender, state, district and assembly constituency. You can also locate your constituency on the map.
- Search by EPIC number
- Provide your Epic number and state.
- Enter the Captcha code and click on “Search” to generate your results.
Tracking Voter ID status via SMS
This facility is not available in Assam yet, but may be rolled out in the future.
Calling on the Dedicated ECI Helpline Number
You can call the ECI Helpline number 1950 toll free. The helpline is available on all working days between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm.
How to Apply for Duplicate Voter ID Card Online in Assam
A voter ID card is a government issued photo identity card that is accepted as proof of address and identity universally and thus should be kept safely. However there are situations when your voter ID card may have been misplaced or lost. It could also have been stolen from you. The Electoral Officer in Assam makes provision for issuing a fresh voter ID card in such cases.
Alternatively, it may be mutilated or torn, making it unusable. In such situations, you can apply for aduplicate voter ID card, the process for which is mentioned below:
- Go to the Election Commission of India website and download the Form EPIC-002, which is the application form for issuance of duplicate voter ID card.
- In the case of individuals whose voter ID cards have been lost or stolen, an FIR is to be filed at the local police station and a copy of the FIR along with the application form is to be submitted to the Electoral Office.
- In the case of individuals with torn or unusable voter ID cards, submit the card along with the form to the local Electoral Office.
- After verification of the application has been conducted, you will receive your duplicate voter’s ID card through the post or you can collect it in person.
How to Apply for Duplicate Voter’s ID Card Offline in Assam
As a registered voter, your voter ID card is the most important document that permits you to vote in regional as well as national elections. It also functions as a government issued identity proof. In the event that you lose or misplace your voter ID card, you can now apply for a duplicate card through a convenient method.
If your voter ID card has been stolen or cannot be used as it is torn or mutilated, you can also apply for a duplicate voter ID card offline, with the process outlined below:
- Visit the nearest electoral office and collect a copy of Form EPIC-002, which is the form for issuance of duplicate voter’s ID card.
- Fill in the form and submit it along with the relevant documents- if you have lost your card, attach a copy of the FIR.
- If your card is torn or mutilated, submit your card along with the application form.
- Your application will be verified, following which a duplicate voter ID card will be issued to you.
How to Make Corrections in your Voter ID Card Online in Assam
If you have received your voter ID card and it contains errors such as misspelled name or incorrect details with regard to any of the information mentioned, you can correct the errors. It is important that you do this as the voter ID card is issued by the government and the information contained in it is assumed to be correct.
Steps to make corrections in your voter ID card easier (the Assam Election Commission has introduced an online application process), which is mentioned below
- Go to the official website of the Assam Chief Election Officer and click on the “Download Forms” tab.
- Select “Form 8”, which is the application form for correction of details in voter’s ID card.
- Download and print the form and fill in the details as requested, taking care to provide the information you wish to change/correct in your voter’s ID card.
- In the case of change of name, you will have to attach proof of your name change, such as a passport or official government gazette copy along with the application form.
- Submit the form and supporting documents to the nearest electoral office, where you will receive an acknowledgment.
- After your application has been verified, you will receive an updated voter ID card through the post or by collecting it personally from the electoral office.
How to make Corrections in your Voter ID Card Offline in Assam
If you have noticed that your voter ID card has errors such as name being misspelled, errors in address or any other details, you can now have these errors rectified simply by submitting an application form mentioning the need for changes.
The process is mentioned below:
- Visit the local electoral office and request for a copy of Form 8, the form for making corrections in your existing voter ID card.
- If you wish to correct your name, ensure you provide proof of your name in the form of a passport copy/official government gazette/any recognised documents with the changed name.
- For corrections in address or birth date, attach supporting documents with the correct information along with the form.
- Submit the filled in form and supporting documents to the electoral office, whereupon you will receive an acknowledgement.
- After your application has been verified, you will receive your voter ID card with the corrected information by post, or you can collect it personally from the office.
How to change Address Online in Voter ID Card in Assam
Most individuals apply for a voter’s ID card when they are 18 years of age, with the address mentioned that of their hometown. Individuals sometimes move to other cities or states during the course of their lives for a number of reasons.
As a registered voter, when you change your address, your voter ID card should also reflect this change if it is a long term one. Your name has to be struck off the electoral rolls in your former area of residence and included in the rolls at your present residence.
For voter id address change, an application is to be filed, the process of which is listed below:
- Go to the official website of the Chief Electoral Officer of Assam and click on the “Download Forms” tab.
- Select “Form 8A” from the options presented, which is the form for transposing the entry (shifting the name from one electoral roll to another).
- Print and fill in the details as requested and provide the supporting documents as specified in the form.
- Submit the duly filled in and signed form with the supporting documents to the nearest electoral office in your current place of residence.
- A Booth Level Officer (BLO) will visit your home to verify your address and details.
- Once the voter id verification process is complete, you will receive a voter ID card with the changed address.
How to Change Address in Voter ID Card Offline in Assam
If you have changed your place of residence, you are obliged to change the address as stated in your voter ID card as well. This is done so you can be registered in the electoral rolls in your current place of residence, and so your name is struck off the rolls in your former area of residence. This is important as it reduces the incidence of someone else voting in your name, and permits you to participate in the electoral process even though you have shifted residence.
The Election Commission of Assam has made it easier for individuals to change their address, through the submission of a form to that effect.
The process for voter id address change is mentioned below:
- Go to the local Electoral Office and collect Form 8A, the form for transposition of entry in the electoral rolls.
- Fill in the details and attach proof of your current address as mentioned in the form.
- Submit the form and the supporting documents to the electoral office.
- A Booth Level Officer (BLO) will visit your home to verify your address details.
- On successful completion of the verification, you will receive a voter ID card with your current residence details mentioned. Your name will also be included in the electoral rolls of the constituency in your present area of residence.
Election Commission of Assam
Assam, often referred to as a Shangri-La nestled in the picturesque North East of India, is a melting pot of various tribes and sub-tribes with a rich cultural heritage. Elections in Assam are conducted by the office of the chief electoral officer who performs his functions under the supervision of the Election Commission of India. The election department is located at block C, Assam secretariat, Dispur.
Office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO)
Vijayendra is the current chief electoral officer of Assam. The various officers of the department are listed below (in no particular order):
- Nitin Kumar Shivdas Khade - Additional Chief Electoral officer
- Vinod Kr. Persenia - Chief Secretary to the Government of Assam
- Siddharth Singh - Additional Chief Electoral officer
- Gaurav Bothra - Additional Chief Electoral officer
- Ghanashyam Das - Joint Chief Electoral officer
- Mohan Lal Sureka - Joint Chief Electoral officer
- Pradip Kumar Doley - Additional Chief Electoral officer
Key responsibilities of the CEO
Some of the key responsibilities of the Chief Electoral Officer vis-a-vis elections to the legislative assembly in Assam are listed below:
- Preparation and updation of photo electoral roll
- Post and update the database of BLOs
- Finalise the list of vendors
- Ensure adequate training of designated officers and BLOs
- Filling up of election related posts
- Meeting political parties on revision of rolls
- Create awareness on revision of rolls
- Provide all the required information to the Election Commission of India in the prescribed formats
- Maintain proper record of complaints received in DEOs
- Ensure removal of duplicated names
Assam Elections 2019
The Lok Sabha elections in Assam have been scheduled for April 7, 12 and 24. The elections will be held in three different phases. The results of the Lok Sabha elections in Assam in 2014 were as follows:
|Name of political party||Number of seats won|
|Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)||7|
|Indian National Congress||3|
|All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF)||3|
|Asom Gana Parishad||0|
Facts about Assam politics
Like any other state in India, the political structure of Assam is headed by the governor. However, the governor of Assam is more powerful here than most states in the country. This is because of the presence of ULFA, a terrorist organization that has caused a lot of violence in the state. In addition to the governor, the political structure of the state also comprises of the chief minister and the council of ministers.
Chief minister of Assam
The current government in Assam is formed by the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Chief Minister is Sarbananda Sonowal. The legislative assembly elections in the state were last held in 2016.
Election commissioner of Assam
Harendra Nath Bora is the current election commissioner of Assam. He is a retired IAS officer.