Before you go to vote, you must know exactly what the process of voting entails, and how you can participate in it. To vote, you either require your Voter ID Card or other forms of identification. As an NRI voter, you must take your passport with you. Read more to understand how the process of voting occurs.
Checking the Electoral Roll
Before you go to the polling station to cast your vote, you must verify if your name is included in the electoral list of your constituency i.e. a list maintained by the election authorities of all the registered voters in a constituency. If your name is not on the electoral roll, you will not be allowed to vote, regardless of whether you have a Voter ID Card or other documentation.
You can check if your name is on the electoral roll, by any of the following methods:
Online — You can visit the website of National Voter’s Service Portal (NVSP) and in the Electoral Search section, fill in the required details, such as your name, age, state, district and the assembly constituency. If you are on the electoral roll, your details along with your Voter ID number will be verified by the website.
In Person — You can call the Voter Helpline at 1950, and request for the details of the office where you can go to check your name on the electoral list. Ensure that you also ask about the relevant documents you require for the purpose of verification.
Even if your name comes twice in the electoral roll or your name comes in the electoral rolls of two different constituencies, you can only vote once. If you vote twice, neither of your votes is counted.
Finding the Polling Booth/Station
A polling booth or station is fixed at a building or a hall where the voters of the concerned polling area cast their votes.
You can find out where the polling station where you will cast your vote is, by visiting the NSVP. The polling station will usually be only 2 kilometers away from your place of residence. Only in hilly areas or forest areas, it may be set up further away.
At the polling station, a notice is posted which gives information on the following:
The polling area, and the different polling stations with their addresses (if there are more than one),
The list of voters in each polling station,
The list of candidates standing for elections.
Inside the Polling Booth
When you find your polling station, you will have to wait in line till your turn comes to vote. It is preferable to go early in the morning, so that you can avoid the long queues. When you enter the polling booth, the following will happen:
Step 1: Voter Verification
First, the polling officer will verify if you have the valid ID and if you are on the electoral roll.
Once it is verified that you are a bonafide voter, the Second Polling Officer will put an ink mark on your left index finger. This is done to ensure the voting officials of the fact that you have voted and to not allow a person to vote multiple times. If you do not have a left index finger then watch this video to understand what will be done. If you already have an ink mark on your finger or if you refuse to put the ink mark, then you will not be allowed to vote.
The officer will make a record of your Voter ID Number in Form 17A.
The officer will ask you to put your thumb impression or signature in a book known as the Register of voters.
The officer will mark your name on a copy of the electoral roll, thereby permitting you to vote and move to the voting compartment.
Step 2: Voting Compartment
When you move to the voting compartment, you will see an EVM Machine or Electronic Voting Machine which helps record votes and beside it a VVPAT system (Voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) or verifiable paper record (VPR)) which allows the voters to verify that their votes are cast as intended.
A list of candidates’ names and symbols will be available with a blue button next to it. You have to press the button next to the name of the candidate’s name that you wish to vote for. If you do not wish to vote for any particular candidate, then you have the option to select the NOTA — None of the Above option in the EVM Machine.
Right after you have voted, you will see a green light on the VVPAT Machine which will be placed next to the EVM Machine, which will indicate that you have voted. You will also see a printed slip which is printed containing the serial number, name and symbol of the candidate which you can see through a transparent window for 7 seconds. This printed slip automatically gets cut and falls in the sealed drop box of the VVPAT.
You cannot vote more than once and even if you make a mistake, you cannot undo it. There is nothing you have to do after all this is over. Once you exit the polling station, you have completed the voting process.
After Voting — Problems at the Polling Station
If you face any situation such as someone misbehaving, or someone asking for votes, someone conducting exit polls or if you know that someone has voted in your name, you can immediately give this information to the authorities of the polling station who will help you out. You can report such behaviour by calling the voter helpline to complain or by going to the nearest electoral office, if you cannot approach the authorities at the polling station.
Malavika Rajkumar is the Content Lead at Nyaaya and Kadambari Agarwal is a Research Assistant at Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy. Views are personal.
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