Voting Rights in India

Voting rights are the bedrock of a successful democracy, empowering citizens to elect their government. India's commitment to democratic principles is evident in its long history of ensuring fair and inclusive voting practices. The Indian Constitution granted Universal Adult Suffrage in 1950, including voting rights for women.

Notable amendments, such as lowering the voting age to 18 in 1988 and introduction of reserved seats for marginalized communities, have further strengthened voting rights.

Adding to the evolution, Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the late '90s enhanced the efficiency and transparency of the voting process. Today, India educates voters and uses technology to improve voting rights.

NVSP Voter ID Services

You can address and manage your Voter ID-related issues through the National Voters Service Portal (NVSP), which is now the Voter Service Portal. You can avail of multiple services on the website, including applying for new Voter ID card, updating information on your existing Voter ID card, and downloading e-EPIC Voter ID.

Eligibility for Voting in India

According to the Indian Constitution, all Indian citizens above the age of 18 have the right to cast their votes. Once an Indian citizen turns 18, they need to register themselves on the electoral list of their constituency and have a valid voter ID to exercise their right to vote.

To apply for Voter ID in India

  • You must be an Indian citizen.
  • You must be at least 18 years of age
  • Must be resident of the part/polling area of the constituency where you want to be enrolled

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Important Rights of Voters in India

The rights of the voters collectively aim to promote transparency, inclusivity, and integrity in the Indian electoral system. It empowers citizens to make informed choices and actively participate in the democratic process. Below are some of those rights.

  • Right to Knowledge: Indian voters have the right to receive information about candidates. This information includes data on their education, work, assets, and criminal records. The Supreme Court and Election Commission lay down this information. They ensure that voters can make well-formed decisions and realize their right to access information.
  • NOTA: This act was invented in 2013. NOTA is the None of The Above option. Voters can use the NOTA mechanism with both EVMs and postal ballots. It is a unique right to voters in the Indian Democracy. It assumes rejecting all the candidates in the list and means that the person is not satisfied with the offer. If the majority of voters choose NOTA, then there are some obligations for the nomination of other candidates before starting the new elections. It is an instrument that informs political parties and citizens that the current nominee system is unsatisfactory.
  • NRI Voting Rights: NRIs also may vote. However, only non-resident Indians who have Indian passports, but have acquired no other nationality, can do this by the actual law. They are service voters if their workplaces belong to exceptionally specified authorities. An NRI can also vote by postal ballot. Before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Election Commission introduced an online voting system for trial.
  • Tendered Voting Rights: This right preserved people’s voting rights if their names are missing from the list or voter identity is questioned. People need to sign a declaration and be questioned by the polls. Later they have a right to vote using a tendered ballot. Their vote will be counted only if their credibility as a voter is proven.
  • Exercising voting rights: When exercising voting rights , polling stations serve as a location where individuals can provide their votes during an election. Government of India has provided EVMs (Electronic Voting Machine that aims offering accurate , user friendly voting methods. In conjunction with EVMs,Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail that provides another layer of transparency and accountability while casting votes.

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Methods of Voting in India

In India, for different types of elections held in the country, there are several methods to vote. The major ones include:

  • Electronic Voting Machines: It is used for all parliamentary, state legislative assemblies, and local body elections, in which voters choose by pressing a button on the EVM against the candidate/party of their choice. Such machines are more efficient, accurate, and tamper-proof than traditional ballot papers.
  • Postal ballot: By law, only some categories of voters such as service voters, voters on election duty, and voters who are above 80 years old have the right to cast postal ballots. They are sent to such groups of the population by mail, and they return such ballots by post, expressing their preferences for them.
  • Traditional ballot papers: While EVMs are used, in some local bodies, cooperative bodies, etc. elections, traditional ballot papers are used and the voters mark their choice on the ballot papers just like we do in case of a poll. Then such ballot papers are counted manually.

Can Someone Be Disqualified to Vote?

The circumstances under which a person may be disqualified from voting in an election are as follows:

  • Convictions under certain IPC sections: If convicted under Sections 125 (Waging war against any Asiatic power), 135 (Abetting desertion of soldier/sailor/airman), and 136, a person is disqualified from voting.
  • Electoral offences: Committing offences under Sections 171E (Violation of official duty in elections) and 171F (Illegal hiring/procuring conveyance at elections) of IPC leads to disqualification from voting rights.
  • Mental incompetence: an individual could be declared legally mentally incompetent or insane, which may be a reason for being disqualified from voting.
  • Multiple constituency voting: A person found voting from two or more constituencies is disqualified from the electoral list.

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Frequently Asked Questions

India doesn't have a specific amendment solely for voting rights. However, the Sixty-first Amendment of 1988 lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 years.

This article guarantees the right to vote in India. It establishes the concept of "adult suffrage," meaning all citizens above 18 (unless disqualified) can be registered as voters.

The Constitution of India, enacted in 1950, already guaranteed voting rights for all citizens irrespective of gender. So, women have had the right to vote since India's independence.

The 61st Amendment recognized 18 as a more appropriate age for people to be involved in the democratic process, considering they're often educated and aware of current affairs by then.

Yes, the Election Commission has provisions for postal ballots and special polling booths to facilitate voting for people with disabilities or illnesses.

Currently, NRIs are not eligible to vote in Indian elections. There have been discussions about proxy voting rights for NRIs, but concrete legislation still needs to be created.

No, people under detention are generally not allowed to vote in Indian elections. This may vary depending on the specific reasons for detention.

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