What's New :
UPSC CSE Result 2023.Download toppers list

E-postal ballot for overseas Indian voters

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    24th Mar, 2023

Context

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has proposed to change the rules pertaining to the conduct of election rules to facilitate the ‘electronically-transmitted postal ballot system’ for overseas Indian voters.

Background

  • In 2014, a committee constituted by the ECI concluded that proxy voting was the most viable solution.
  • A Bill was passed in the 16th Lok Sabha (2014-19) to enable this. But Bill lapsed with the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha.
  • The ECI then approached the government to permit NRIs to vote via postal ballots similar to a system that is already used by service voters, (a member of the armed Forces of the Union; or a member of a force to which provisions of the Army Act, 1950 which is the Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System or ETPBS.

About the development:

  • The Election Commission of India has taken up a proposal to amend the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 to facilitate electronically-transmitted postal ballot system for overseas electors.
  • The matter is under discussions with the Ministry of External Affairs to roll out the logistical challenges involved in the implementation of the proposal.

What is the issue?

  • Citizens who leave the country for short-term work often miss out on exercising their voting rights.
  • Overseas citizens, although can cast their vote, the necessity to vote in person comes with a monetary cost and acts as a disincentive to exercise their voting mandate.

Voting Rules for overseas voters:

  • Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 2010: After the passing of the Act, NRIs have been able to vote, but only in person at the polling station where they have been enrolled as an overseas elector.
    • The provision of having to visit the polling booth in person has discouraged eligible voters from exercising their mandate.
  • Amendment to Conduct of Election Rules, 1961: The Rule was amended in 2016 to allow service voters to use the Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS).
    • Under this system, postal ballots are sent electronically to registered service voters.
    • The service voter can then register their mandate on the ballot and send it back via ordinary mail.
    • The ECI proposed to extend this facility to overseas voters as well.
  • In the case of overseas voters: the address mentioned in the passport is taken as the place of ordinary residence and chosen as the constituency for the overseas voter to enroll.

Significance of electronic voting:

  • Greater turnout among service voters in the process of voting.
  • It is a more trustworthy way of registering mandates rather than appointing proxies.
X

Verifying, please be patient.

Enquire Now