When UPA government conducted a survey during their tenure, they discovered that youngsters above 18 years of age were less inclined towards getting registered in the electoral rolls. Therefore, the enrolment ratio was as low as 20% to 25% in the country. To resolve this issue, the Election Commission of India implemented a vigorous exercise to identify young voters across the 8.5 lakh polling stations across India, in the month of January.
What is National Voter’s Day and its Significance in Indian History?
Indian government on January 2011 decided to observe National Voter’s Day. The idea was to encourage youngsters to participate in the political process of casting vote.
Why was 25 January Observed as National Voter’s Day?
It’s because the date marks the Election Commissions’ foundation day. Keeping in line with the EC’s new rules, every year, by January 25, first-time voters will be enrolled on the national voter list. They’ll be handed over their EPIC (Electoral Photo Identity Cards).
If you’re going to cast your votes for the first time, here are 7 important national voters day facts that you must consider.
7 things that Every Indian Voter must Know before Casting their Votes in Elections
- Every Voter has the Right to demand Election Manifesto from the candidates.
Section 19 of the Indian Constitution states that all Indian voters have the right to seek information about candidates contesting from their constituency. This information includes, criminal record, financial worth and election manifesto of the candidates.
- Selected Members can cast their votes through Post.
Regular Indian voters can cast their votes in poll booths. However, in special cases, the Election Commission allows you to cast your vote via posts. This system is known as postal ballot. This is exclusively given to the members of the armed forces, individuals on election duty like policemen/army men on duty and electoral officers, Indian citizens posted abroad, NRIs, prisoners and members held under preventive detention.
- Even NRIs can vote in India.
Earlier, the non-resident citizens of India were excluded from the election process. However, the amendment of 2010 restored their rights of voting in India. The NRIs need to register themselves as voters. Thereafter, they’ll be allowed to vote even if they’re away from India for more than 6 months.
- The Election Commission Officers can help the Disabled cast their votes on polls.
If you’re sick, physically disabled or unable to cast your votes on medical grounds, the election officers can assist you to record your votes.
- You can choose to Reject all Candidates if you think they’re ineligible for voting.
The Supreme Court directed the election commission to include the option of NOTA (None of the Above) in ballot papers and electronic voting machines (EVMs). This was a measure for cleansing the corruption involved in the political system.
This option was first included in the 1961. Under this provision, the candidates can cast a negative vote against all candidates contesting in election. When it was first launched in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh– around 50,000 voters opted for NOTA in Delhi, 5.67 lakhs in Rajasthan, 5.9 lakhs in Madhya Pradesh and 3.56 lakhs in Chhattisgarh.
- Some people cannot cast votes at all!
Yes, that’s true. Regardless of the fact that every Indian has the right to contest votes in election, there specific people who can’t vote at all. This includes individuals who’ve been arrested under Section 171E for bribery, 171F for influencing the election results and other offenders confiscated under Section 125, 135 and 136 of the Indian Penal code. Other than these, the people who are registered for more than one constituency will be disqualified from voting.
- Even if someone else casts your votes by fraud, you can still demand a tendered vote.
If someone else has cast your vote in your name, you can still declare yourself as a voter and demand the EC officers to arrange for your voting by producing an identity proof to confirm your identity. In such cases, your votes will be recorded separately on a ballot paper.
These were some lesser known facts about voter rights in India. Hopefully, this will generate awareness among new Indian voters.