What Do I Need to Know to Be a Voter?
India is the largest democracy in the world. The right to vote and more importantly the exercise of franchise by the eligible citizens is at the heart of every democracy. We, the people, through this exercise of our right to vote have the ultimate power to shape the destiny of country by electing our representatives who run the Government and take decisions for the growth, development and benefit of all the citizens.
All citizens of India 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 or she ordinarily resides. Only persons who are of unsound mind and have been declared so by a competent court or disqualified due to ‘Corrupt Practices’ or offences relating to elections are not entitled to be registered in the electoral rolls.
To exercise your franchise, the first and foremost requirement is that your name should be in the electoral roll. Without your name registered in the relevant part for the area where you ordinarily reside in the Assembly Constituency, you will not be allowed to exercise your franchise. Therefore, it is your duty to find out whether your name has been registered or not.
Details of the Prescribed Forms:
Any eligible person can file claim in Form No. 6 for inclusion of his name in the roll.
However, an overseas elector has to fill Form 6A to include his name.
To raise an objection to somebody’s name or for deletion of his or any other person’s name in Form No. 7.
Similarly if any particulars in the electoral roll are to be modified such as name, house number, middle name, last name, age, sex, epic number etc. a claim in Form No. 8 can be filed.
In case any elector has changed his house from the polling area of one booth to other booth in the same Assembly Constituency he can file application in Form No. 8A for change/transposition from one electoral part to other part.
An electoral roll is a list of all eligible citizens who are entitled to cast their vote in an election. The electoral rolls are prepared Assembly Constituency wise. An electoral roll for any Assembly Constituency is sub- divided into parts corresponding with the polling booths.
The Election Commission of India has decided to generally have a maximum of 1200 electors per booth. The polling booths are so set up that no voter should ordinarily travel more than 2 kms. to reach the polling booth. Normally, one part will correspond with one polling booth.
The Election Commission prepares the electoral rolls through a process of intensive revision where house-to-house enumeration is done and electors residing in each house are registered by official enumerators who go physically from door-to-door to collect the information about electors. This process is done normally once in five years.
Between two Intensive revisions, summary revisions are done every year during a specified period when persons who are left out of the electoral rolls are given an opportunity to register themselves by applying in Form-6. It is also expected from you to get your name deleted from the place where you earlier resided, and get it included at new place in case you have shifted.
For this, on your part, it is sufficient that you file claim application in Form 6 before the Electoral Registration Officer of the new place and in that application give the full address of your earlier place of residence. Short absence from place of residence does not debar one to continue his/her name in electoral roll.
Similarly, deletions are carried out of electors who have died or who have shifted residence from one area to another outside the prescribed part of the electoral roll. You should note that you can be registered only at one place. Registration in more than one place is an offence.
During Intensive Revision of electoral rolls which normally takes place once in five years, a draft roll is prepared after house to house enumeration and published at every polling booth location for inviting claims and objections.
During Summary revision of electoral rolls which takes place every year, the existing electoral rolls are published at each polling booth locations to invite claims and objections for inclusion, deletion, modification and transposition. After due enquiry all the claims and objections are decided and a supplementary electoral roll is prepared and published.
Even after the final publication of electoral rolls the process of continuous updation of electoral rolls goes on and the citizens are free to file any application for the addition, deletion, modification and transposition with the Electoral Registration Officer.
As per the law, your name can be registered up to the last date of filing nominations by candidates, that has been notified by the Election Commission for any general election or bye-election to an Assembly or Parliament.
To enable the Electoral Registration Officer to take action on your application, you must apply at least ten days before the last date of making nominations as he has to mandatorily invite objections by giving a seven clear days’ notice before including your name in the roll. If you apply later than ten clear days before the last date for nominations your name may not be included for the purposes of that particular election.
To download the booklet “A Guide for the Voters”, click here.
Source: This information was obtained from ‘A guide for the Voters booklet’ by the Election Commission of India.
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