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National Voters Day: A Comprehensive Guide to the Electoral Process for Empowerment of Voters in India

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National Voters Day
 
National Voters Day is a momentous occasion in India, celebrating the strength of democracy and the power vested in the hands of every eligible citizen. To truly appreciate this democratic privilege, it is essential for every Indian to be well-informed about the electoral process. This article aims to guide and tutor voters on crucial aspects such as obtaining a voter ID, checking voter list details, finding polling booths, understanding acceptable ID proofs, the voting process, and the rights and duties of a voter.

How to Obtain a Voter ID

The Voter ID, also known as the Elector’s Photo Identity Card (EPIC), is a vital document that allows you to exercise your democratic right. Follow these steps to obtain your Voter ID:

a. Online Application:

i. Visit the official website of the Election Commission of India (ECI): https://www.nvsp.in/
ii. Click on the ‘Apply online for registration of new voter/due to shifting from AC’ option.
iii. Fill in the required details in the form, upload supporting documents, and submit the application.

b. Offline Application:

i. Visit the nearest Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) office or Common Service Center (CSC).
ii. Collect the Form 6 for new voter registration.
iii. Fill out the form, attach the necessary documents, and submit it to the ERO or CSC.

c. Verification:

i. After submitting the application, officials will verify the information.
ii. Once verified, you will receive your Voter ID via post.

How to Check Your Name on the Voting List

Before heading to the polling booth, it’s crucial to confirm your presence on the voter list. Here’s how you can do it:

a. Online Verification:

i. Visit the National Voter Services Portal: https://electoralsearch.in/
ii. Enter your details like name, date of birth, and state.
iii. The portal will display your voter details, including polling booth information.

b. SMS Verification:

i. Send an SMS to 1950 in the format – EPIC<space>VoterIDNumber.

How to Find Your Polling Booth

Now that you know you’re on the voter list, it’s crucial to find out where you need to cast your vote:

a. Online Booth Locator

i. Visit the ECI’s official website: https://electoralsearch.in/
ii. Enter your details, and the portal will provide information about your polling booth.

b. Voter Helpline App:

i. Download the Voter Helpline App from the Play Store or App Store.
ii. Enter your details to find your polling booth.

Acceptable ID Proofs at the Venue

On the day of voting, you need to carry a valid ID proof to the polling booth. The following documents are acceptable:
a. Voter ID card
b. Passport
c. Aadhar card
d. Driving License
e. PAN card
Ensure that the ID proof is not expired and is in good condition.

Voting Process: A Step-by-Step Guide

On the day of the election, follow these steps to cast your vote:

a. Queue Up

i. Join the queue at your designated polling booth.
ii. Maintain patience and follow instructions from the election officials.

b. Verification

i. Present your Voter ID and ID proof to the polling officer.
ii. Your name will be checked in the voter list.

c. Electronic Voting Machine (EVM)

i. Go to the EVM when your turn comes.
ii. Press the button next to the candidate of your choice.

d. Verify Your Vote

i. Verify your vote on the VVPAT (Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail) machine.

e. Collect Your Ink Mark

i. After casting your vote, collect the indelible ink mark on your finger.

Special Voting Facilities

Ensuring inclusivity in the electoral process is a fundamental tenet of a robust democracy. Recognising the unique circumstances and challenges faced by certain individuals, special voting facilities have been established to accommodate diverse needs.

Absentee Voting: Empowering Voters Beyond Physical Presence

i. Provisions for Absentee Voting

Absentee voting is a crucial mechanism that allows individuals who are unable to cast their votes in person on Election Day to exercise their democratic right. This provision is particularly significant for citizens who may be away from their registered constituency due to work, education, or other unavoidable circumstances.

ii. Process and Eligibility Criteria for Absentee Voting

To avail the benefits of absentee voting, eligible voters must follow a specific process
– Application Submission: A voter interested in absentee voting needs to submit an application to the Election Commission or the concerned authorities.
– Reason for Absence: The application must include a valid reason for the inability to vote in person, such as travel, illness, or other legitimate concerns.
– Verification: Election officials will verify the details and reasons provided in the application.
– Dispatch of Ballot: Once approved, a postal ballot is dispatched to the registered address of the absentee voter.
– Ballot Submission: The voter, in turn, must mark their preferences on the ballot and return it to the designated election office within the stipulated timeframe.
Eligibility criteria may include being registered as a voter, having a valid reason for absence, and adhering to the specified deadlines. This provision ensures that citizens, regardless of their physical location on Election Day, can actively participate in the democratic process.

Facilities for Persons with Disabilities

Recognizing the importance of accessibility, special provisions have been implemented to facilitate voting for persons with disabilities. These provisions aim to eliminate barriers that may hinder their ability to cast their votes independently and confidentially.

Inclusive Measures at Polling Booths

– Ramps and Wheelchair Accessibility: Polling booths are equipped with ramps to ensure wheelchair accessibility, allowing individuals with mobility challenges to enter and exit easily.
– Priority Voting: Persons with disabilities are often provided with priority voting status, allowing them to skip queues and cast their votes promptly.
– Braille on EVMs: Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) feature Braille labels, enabling visually impaired voters to identify and select their preferred candidates independently.
– Assistance Booths: Specially designated assistance booths are available, where voters with disabilities can seek support from a companion or election official if needed.
– Accessible Voting Stations: The layout of voting stations is designed to accommodate diverse needs, ensuring a comfortable and accessible environment.

Your Rights as a Voter

As a voter, you possess certain rights that empower you in the democratic process:

a. Right to Information

You have the right to access information about candidates, political parties, and election processes.

b. Secrecy of Vote

Your vote is confidential, and no one has the right to know whom you voted for.

c. Right to Choose

You have the right to choose a candidate of your preference.

Your Duty as a Voter

With rights come responsibilities. As a responsible voter, it’s your duty to:

a. Stay Informed

Be aware of the candidates, their policies, and the issues at hand.

b. Vote Responsibly

Cast your vote without succumbing to external pressures.

c. Encourage Others

Encourage friends and family to participate in the electoral process.

d. Respect the Process

Follow the election rules and respect the decisions of fellow voters.

Conclusion

National Voters Day is not just a celebration; it’s a reminder of the power that every Indian citizen holds in shaping the destiny of the nation. By understanding and actively participating in the electoral process, you contribute to the strength and vitality of India’s democracy. So, let’s embrace our role as voters with enthusiasm and responsibility, ensuring a brighter future for our country.