India 2009 Elections Voters FAQs
Why should you vote?
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.
Who can vote?
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.
What is an electoral roll?
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.
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.
How to register?
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. Any eligible person can file claim in Form No. 6 for inclusion of his name in the roll or raise an objection to somebodys 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.
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 upto 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.
How to check your name in the electoral rolls and to find the polling station where you have to go to vote?
As an elector you should immediately check whether your name has been included in the electoral roll of the constituency where you reside or not. You can find out this information from the Electoral Registration Officer of your area. Electoral rolls in all major cities have now been displayed on official websites also.
Do you have an Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC)?
The Election Commission of India has made voter identification mandatory at the time of poll. The electors have to identify themselves with either Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC) issued by the Commission or any other documentary proof as prescribed by the Commission.
Will possession of an EPIC alone entitle you to vote?
You should note that mere possession of an EPIC issued to you does not guarantee you your vote, because it is mandatory that your name should appear in the electoral roll. Once you have found out that your name is there in the electoral roll and you also possess an identification document prescribed by the Election Commission (EPIC or others), you are entitled to vote.
Before you come to the polling booth, there are some other important aspects that you need to know as an elector and a conscientious citizen of the country.
What is the Disclosure by Candidates?
Recently the Election Commission of India has made it mandatory consequent upon a Judgment of Honble Supreme Court that all candidates must file an affidavit along with their nomination form with details such as:-
his/her criminal antecedents,
his/her assets and liabilities and those of his/her spouse and dependents, and
his/her educational background.
This has been done with a view that every citizen has a right to know about
the candidates contesting an election and make an informed choice.
The Election Commission has directed all Returning Officers to display the copies of nomination papers and accompanying affidavits received during any day on his notice board immediately on receipt and make copies of these for distribution to the press and any members of public who want this information, free of cost. Any citizen of the country can obtain copies of the nomination form and the affidavit filed by any candidate from the Returning Officer and it shall not be refused. As a voter you have every right to seek this information and get it.
The details of the dues owed by the candidates to the Government are published by giving an advertisement in the leading newspapers by the Returning Officer for the benefit of electors.
Above measures help the electors make an informed choice about the candidate they are going to vote for.