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NRIs will soon be able to vote remotely with electronic ballots | India News


NEW DELHI: Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), currently required to cast their vote in person in India, will soon be able to vote remotely from their country of residence, perhaps in planned state elections for May of next year. the proposal sent by the Electoral Commission to the Ministry of Justice is accepted.
The EC has suggested that NRIs be allowed to vote through the Electronically Transmitted Postal Voting System (ETPBS), a facility that is now available to service voters that include members of the military, paramilitaries, and government employees providing services. abroad.
In a November 27 letter to the law clerk, EC proposed that the necessary amendments be made to the Election Rules of Conduct, 1961, “as soon as possible” to allow the Indian diaspora to vote by mail, adding that it is “technically and administratively ready to extend this facility in general elections to the legislative assemblies of Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.”
There are about 1.17 crore NRIs registered as voters on the electoral rolls. In its letter, EC stated that it has been receiving various representations from the Indian diaspora to facilitate postal voting as such foreign voters are not in a position to be present in their voting area as they travel to India for this Purpose is an expensive affair and otherwise, they are unable to leave their country of residence due to compulsions such as employment, education or other commitments. The protocols associated with Covid have further compounded the problem, he added.
Under the EC’s proposal, an NRI can receive a ballot by email after it hints at its desire to vote via Form 12 to the teller, which must be received at least five days after the election notification. The duly completed postal ballot, certified by an official to be appointed by the diplomatic or consular representative of India in the country where the voter resides abroad, must be returned by post to the NRI constituency teller in India in a manner that is received no later than 8 am on the counting day.
“We estimate about a two-week window for the NRI to return the ballot by mail,” an EC official told TOI, adding that staff from missions / consulates abroad were already following the voting system. “Once this facility is allowed to NRIs, the volumes of such postal ballots that are returned will be much higher,” said the official.

Times of India