The Constitution of India mandates all the individuals who are the citizens of India and are of 18 years of age to register himself as a voter.
Who Can Vote?
All Indian citizens who are 18 years of age as on 1st January of the year for which the electoral roll is prepared are entitled to be registered as a voter in the constituency where he/she ordinarily resides.
These individuals can vote in national, state, district as well as local government body elections.
Who are forbidden from voting?
Only individuals who are of unsound mind and have been declared so by a competent court or disqualified due to ‘corrupt practices’ or offenses relating to elections are not entitled to be registered in the electoral rolls.
Process of voting registration
The Voter ID Card, also known as Electrol Photo ID Card (EPIC), serves as a document to establish one’s nationality and citizenship. This Voter ID is issued by the Election Commission of India and it primarily serves as an identity proof for citizens while casting their votes. Not only for casting votes, the Voter ID can also be used as Identity and Address Proof. The Voter ID number present on the card is unique for every cardholder
Read the complete process of applying for Voter ID card in Karnataka in the below article
Voting rights of criminals
Convicted criminals and prisoners are banned from participating in the elections as voters. On the same note, those with unstable mental condition are refrained from voting. Many states are arguing for greater human rights for prisoners. According to them, prisoners too are citizens of the country—and therefore, part of the Republic—and thus deserve equal participation in elections. However, the cause has not found widespread support yet.
Voting rights of Non-Resident Indians (NRI)
In order to qualify as a voter, the person must reside in the particular constituency. Thus, NRIs are prohibited from participating in the voting process, except in one case. If the NRI happens to be an Indian citizen employed under Government of India and is currently posted overseas, he or she may get registered as a voter.
How can you vote?
In India, all voters who are eligible to take part in the electoral process are required to cast their ballot (or vote) at the polling booth in person. This is done to ensure that the registered voter exercises his ballot himself and his vote is not used by an impersonator.
In special cases, voting can be done by post, which is known as a postal ballot. Postal ballots are conducted for those individuals who are unable to visit a polling booth in person due to certain reasons.
Generally, postal ballot privileges are given to members of the armed forces posted across the country and overseas, to individuals who are on election duty (such as electoral officers, policemen on duty etc).
The postal ballot can also be granted to those individuals who are under preventive detention, resulting in their inability to visit a polling booth and cast their vote in person.
How to check your name on the Electoral Roll?
Being an elector it is your responsibility to check whether or not your name has been included in the electoral roll in the constituency where you reside. You have to visit Electoral Registration Office in your area to find out the information. Electoral rolls in all major cities have now been displayed on official websites also.
Disqualification from Voting Process
The Indian Constitution has laid down the following rules regarding disqualification of voters from the election process:
- Individuals who are convicted of offenses committed under Section 171E (which deals with bribery) and Section 171F (which deals with personation or undue influence at an election) of the Indian Penal Code are disqualified from participating in elections.
- Those convicted of offenses under Section 125 (which deals with various electoral offenses), Section 135 and Section 136 of the Representation of People’s Act face disqualification from elections.
- If an individual votes in more than one constituency, his vote is disqualified.