Elec­tion Com­mis­sion of In­dia launches por­tal for NRI vot­ers

Muscat Daily - - NATION - Swapna Taraf­dar Mus­cat

The Elec­tion Com­mis­sion of In­dia (ECI) has launched a por­tal to en­cour­age more Non-Res­i­dent In­di­ans (NRIs) to reg­is­ter as vot­ers.

NRIs can log on to http://eci.nic.in/OverseasVot­ers/home.html to reg­is­ter them­selves as vot­ers. The en­rol­ment can be done in Hindi, English and Malay­alam.

The por­tal also has a list of fre­quently asked ques­tions to help NRIs un­der­stand the en­rol­ment pro­ce­dure.

Ac­cord­ing to the ECI, some 24,348 NRIs have reg­is­tered with the poll panel. Of those, 23,556 are from Ker­ala, 364 from Pun­jab and 14 from Gu­jarat.

The por­tal can also be ac­cessed through the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion web­site eci.nic.in.

Peo­ple are el­i­gi­ble to be reg­is­tered as vot­ers in the con­stituency of their res­i­dence in In­dia, as men­tioned in their pass­ports.

Once the name is reg­is­tered as a voter, the elec­tion of­fi­cials of the con­stituency con­cerned will in­form the NRI by post on the cur­rent ad­dress abroad.

Over­seas vot­ers will not be is­sued an elec­tion photo iden­tity card as they are al­lowed to cast their vote in the con­stituency in per­son at the polling sta­tion upon show­ing their pass­port. Now, things may change as the Union Cab­i­net re­cently cleared a pro­posal to ex­tend proxy vot­ing to NRIs by amend­ing elec­toral laws.

While NRIs and over­seas In­di­ans are free to cast their votes in con­stituen­cies where they are reg­is­tered, ac­cord­ing to the pro­posal, they would also be al­lowed to use the op­tion of proxy, which as of now is only avail­able to ser­vice per­son­nel.

An ex­pert com­mit­tee in the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion work­ing on the is­sue, in 2015, for­warded the le­gal frame­work to the law min­istry to amend elec­toral laws to al­low over­seas In­di­ans use proxy vot­ing. But for ev­ery elec­tion, the over­seas vot­ers will have to name a new per­son as their proxy.

Proxy vot­ing is al­lowed for mem­bers of the armed forces.

The bill to al­low the new pro­vi­sion for over­seas vot­ers could not be in­tro­duced in the mon­soon ses­sion of Par­lia­ment which ended on Fri­day.

Pho­to­graph for il­lus­tra­tive pur­pose only

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