If you are registered as a service voter in your home constituency, i.e. constituency where your permanent residence is, and you are posted elsewhere when the elections are announced, the Returning Officer of your home constituency will send you and your wife postal ballots.
The Returning officer will send you the following forms/papers for you to cast your vote:
- A postal ballot paper (with your electoral roll number and the initials ‘PB’ written on the backside of the form by the Returning Officer)
- Form 13A, i.e. a declaration saying that you have casted your vote.
- Form 13B i.e. a cover for placing your marked ballot paper
- Form 13C i.e. a cover with your duly filled Form 13A and Form 13B addressed to the Returning Officer
- Form 13D i.e. a copy of the instructions explaining how to cast your vote along with time and date by which you should send the ballots back)
If the postal ballot is received by the Returning Officer as undelivered, he will send it to you again by post. You can even ask the Returning Officer to have the postal ballot delivered to you personally.
If for some reason your postal ballot gets damaged and you cannot cast your vote through it, you can ask your Returning Officer to send you a second set of ballot papers and return the spoiled ones back to him. Only if the Returning Officer is satisfied that they are indeed spoiled, he will send you a second set.
To reduce the time of sending ballot papers, the Election Commission has set up an ETPB method – Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballots. By using ETPB, the Returning Officer can send you the ballot papers electronically and you can download the same using an OTP (One Time Pin) generated specifically for you. Once you have entered your OTP, you can download your forms accordingly. For further information, please refer to the Election Commission’s Service Voter Portal. 1
Once you have received your ballot papers, follow the steps mentioned below to cast your vote:
In order to cast your vote on the postal ballot you must either out a tick mark (✓) or cross mark (x) next to the name of the candidate you want to vote for. But you must not write or mark anything on the ballot paper that would reveal your identity.
Fill in Form 13A declaring that you have casted your postal ballot and get it attested by a notary/stipendiary magistrate or the commanding officer of your unit, ship or establishment (depending upon which wing of the armed forces you are from). If you are a government official serving abroad, you must get it attested by the diplomatic or consular representative of India at the country where you are posted.
After marking your vote and getting your declaration attested, note down the serial number of your ballot paper on the Form 13B cover and place your marked ballot paper inside it and seal it.
Take the sealed Form 13B and your Form 13A declaration and put it in an envelope (Form 13C) addressed to your Returning Officer and post it by the time and date mentioned accordingly. You do not need to affix any postal stamp on your envelope. If you send it after the fixed time, your vote will not be counted. If you are a government official casting your postal ballot then you can send it either by airmail or as a diplomatic package.
- ETPBS & Service Voter, Election Commission of India, available at https://eci.gov.in/divisions-of-eci/it-applications-etpbs-servicevoter/