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How can NRIs vote in the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections in India?

Casting a Vote as an NRI in the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections
5
min read
March 24, 2024
voting_in_india_for_nris

Introduction

The essence of democracy lies in the power of the vote, which extends across borders to include non-resident Indians (NRIs) in India's global democratic process.

With the 2024 Lok Sabha elections right around the corner, the central government is strongly advocating for Non-Resident Indian (NRI) voters to take part in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections that will be spread across seven stages, commencing from April 19th with the declaration of the results on June 4th.

This blog will help NRIs navigate the process, which includes completing and submitting Form 6A online on the Election Commission's official website. Let's break this down in detail.

Eligibility Criteria for NRIs to Vote in India

Before proceeding with the registration, ensure you meet the following criteria to vote as an NRI:

  • You must be a citizen of India, aged 18 or above, on the qualifying date (January 1st of the year of the elections).
  • You must not hold citizenship of any other country.
  • You must possess a valid Indian passport.
  • You are temporarily absent from India for employment, education, etc.

Start With Filling Out Form 6A

Form 6A is designed explicitly for NRIs looking to register as voters. Here's how to fill it out:

  1. Get Form 6A on the Election Commission's website here: eci.gov.in/overseas-voters  for overseas voters
  2. Start with your full name, age, and gender as per your Indian passport
  3. Provide your passport number, date of issue, place of issue, and other visa details
  4. Include your current overseas residential address in full
  5. Mention the address in India as per your passport, which will determine your constituency
  6. Affirm the declaration that you are a citizen of India residing abroad

How do you Submit Form 6A After you've Filled it?

After filling out Form 6A, submission can be done in two ways:

  • Online: Visit the National Voters' Service Portal (NVSP), find Form 6A in the 'Forms' section, and submit it online, along with scanned copies of your passport and visa.
  • Offline: Download Form 6A from the ECI website, fill it out, and submit it along with photocopies of relevant pages of your passport to the nearest Indian embassy or consulate.

Documents Required to be Attached with Form 6A

  1. One recent passport-size colored photograph
  2. If sent via post, the application should include self-attested photocopies of passport pages containing the photo, applicant details, and valid visa.
  3. Applicants submitting in person before the ERO must provide a photocopy of relevant passport pages. The original passport should also be shown for verification by the officer and will be returned immediately afterward.

What Happens After The Form is Submitted?

Upon submission, the local Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) in your Indian constituency will verify the details. This process may involve a verification officer contacting you for confirmation. Once verified, your name will be added to the electoral roll, and you will be informed about your voter registration status.

Post Verification: How do you Cast your Vote as an NRI?

As per the current rules, NRIs must be physically present at their respective polling stations in India to cast their vote on election day. Ensure your name is on the electoral roll of your constituency and carry your Indian passport as identification on the day of voting.

Conclusion

The right to vote is a powerful expression of democracy, transcending geographical boundaries to include NRIs in India's electoral process. The 2024 Lok Sabha elections present an opportunity for NRIs to contribute to India's democratic fabric, influencing its governance and future direction. By understanding and following the registration and voting process outlined above, NRIs can ensure their participation in this vital democratic exercise.

FAQs

1. Who can vote as an NRI in the Indian elections?

Any citizen of India who resides outside India and has not acquired citizenship of any other country is 18 years or older as of January 1st of the election year and possesses a valid Indian passport is eligible to vote as an NRI.

2. What is Form 6A, and why is it essential for NRI voting?

Form 6A is the application form designed explicitly for NRIs to register as voters in Indian elections. It's crucial for enabling NRIs to exercise their voting rights from abroad.

3. Can I submit Form 6A online or visit the Indian embassy?

You can submit Form 6A both online via the National Voters' Service Portal (NVSP) and offline by downloading the form and submitting it to the nearest Indian embassy or consulate along with the necessary documents.

4. What documents are required to register as an NRI voter?

You need to provide a photocopy of the relevant pages of your valid Indian passport, including the page containing your visa status, as part of the Form 6A submission process.

5. How will I know if my voter registration as an NRI is successful?

Once your application is verified and approved by your constituency's Electoral Registration Officer (ERO), you will receive a confirmation, and your name will be added to the electoral roll. This information may be communicated via email or postal mail.

6. Should I be physically present in India to vote in the elections?

Yes, as per the current guidelines, NRIs must be physically present at their designated polling station in India on the day of the election to cast their vote.

7. Is there a provision for NRIs to vote online or through postal ballots?

Currently, there is no provision for online or postal ballot voting for NRIs in Indian elections. NRIs are required to be physically present in their polling stations to vote.

8. What should I do if I cannot travel to India to vote?

While it is mandatory to be physically present in India to vote, if you cannot travel, it's essential to stay informed and engaged in the democratic process by encouraging friends and family in India to vote and staying updated on the electoral outcomes.

9. Can I vote in any constituency in India as an NRI?

No, you can only vote in the constituency where your place of residence, as mentioned in your passport, is located.

10. What happens if my voter registration application is rejected?

If your application is rejected, the Electoral Registration Officer will inform you of the reason for rejection. You may address the issues cited and reapply or appeal the decision according to the guidelines provided by the Election Commission of India.

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Rupali enjoys writing about everything related to money (in India and around the world). A MICA graduate in Communications, she has over seven years of experience in content creation and communication strategy for various user touchpoints, from CRM to UX for apps and websites, especially in fintech and healthcare. Outside of work, you'll find her binging on true crime documentaries or cooking up a storm.

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