How to Vote in India?
To answer “how to vote in India”, individuals will come across a flair of rules and regulations to make one understand the voting system in India. In this country, every law or provision regarding this voting is governed by the Election Commission of India. Since voting rights is one of the basic fundamental rights of citizens in any society or country, an eligible person must be familiar with the rules of voting in India.
What are the Voting Rules in India?
Voting in India is a fundamental right and a crucial part of the democratic process. Here are the steps to vote in India:
- You must be a citizen of India.
- You must be at least 18 years old on the qualifying date (January 1 of the year in which the electoral roll is prepared).
- You should be registered as a voter. If you aren’t registered, you’ll need to complete the voter registration process.
2. Voter Registration
To register as a voter, you can fill out Form 6, which is available both online and offline.
- Online registration: Visit the official website of the Election Commission of India, go to the “National Voters’ Services Portal,” and follow the instructions to fill out the online voter registration form.
- Offline registration: One can also visit your nearest Electoral Registration Office or Designated Post Offices, get a Form 6, and submit it along with the required documents.
3. Verification and Inclusion in the Voter List
- Your application will be processed, and after verification, your name will be included in the Electoral Roll (Voter List).
- Individuals can check the status of their application online to ensure they are registered.
4. Voter ID Card
- Once your name is included in the voter list, you will receive a voter ID card (Electors Photo Identity Card – EPIC). This card is proof of your voter registration and includes a photo, name, and other details of the voter.
- Note that having a voter ID card is not mandatory to vote. You can vote using other government-issued photo IDs.
5. Finding Your Polling Station
- Before the election, find out your designated polling station. This information will be available on the official website of the Election Commission of India.
- You can also call the helpline number of the government for election-related information.
6. Election Day
- On the day of the election, visit your designated polling station.
- Carry a valid photo ID, such as your voter ID card, Aadhaar card, passport, or driver’s license.
- Follow the instructions of the election officials, including queuing up, presenting your ID, and casting your vote in the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) or Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machine.
7. Casting Your Vote
- Inside the polling booth, select your candidate by pressing the button next to their symbol on the EVM.
- Verify your choice on the VVPAT slip.
- Your vote is cast, and you will receive an acknowledgment.
8. Secrecy of Voting
Voting in India is a secret process. No one should be able to see how you vote.
9. Counting and Results
After voting ends, the votes are counted, and the results are declared.
It’s crucial to exercise your right to vote to participate in the democratic process and have a say in your country’s governance. Make sure to stay informed about the candidates and issues before casting your vote.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Voting in India
Before voting in India, it’s important to be well-prepared and informed to make an appropriate decision. Here are some key things to keep in mind before casting your vote:
Ensure that you are a registered voter in the constituency where you reside. Verify your voter registration status online to ensure your name is on the electoral roll.
Ensure to carry a valid photo ID to the polling station. Some of the acceptable IDs include your voter ID card, Aadhaar card, passport, driver’s license, or any other government-issued photo ID.
Polling Station and Voting Date
Know the location of your designated polling station, time, and the date of the election in your area. Check this information well in advance to avoid any last-minute confusion.
Candidates and Parties
Familiarise yourself with the candidates contesting in your constituency and their respective parties. Research their backgrounds, qualifications, and track records.
Be aware of local issues and challenges faced by your constituency. Consider how candidates plan to address them.
Ballot or EVM/VVPAT
Understand “how to vote in India” and different technologies used in your area, whether it’s paper ballots or Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) with Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs). If using EVMs, ensure your vote is cast correctly, and verify your choice on the VVPAT slip.
Secrecy of Voting
Maintain the secrecy of your vote. Do not display your choice to anyone.
Election Commission Guidelines
Adhere to the guidelines and instructions provided by the Election Commission and polling officials.
Know Our Fundamental Rights of India
The Fundamental Rights of India are enshrined in Part III of the Indian Constitution. These rights are considered the basic human rights of every citizen and are protected by the Constitution. Here are the six fundamental rights of India:
Right to Equality (Articles 14-18)
- Article 14: Equality before the law.
- Article 15: Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth.
- Article 16: Equality of opportunity in public employment.
- Article 17: Abolition of “Untouchability.”
- Article 18: Abolition of titles and nobility.
Right to Freedom (Articles 19-22)
- Article 19: Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, expression, assembly, association, and movement.
- Article 20: Protection in respect of conviction for offenses.
- Article 21: Protection of life and personal liberty.
- Article 21A: Right to education (added by the 86th Amendment Act, 2002).
- Article 22: Protection against arrest and detention in certain cases.
Right to Exploitation (Articles 23-24)
- Article 23: Prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labour.
- Article 24: Prohibition of employment of children in factories, etc.
Right to Freedom of Religion (Articles 25-28)
- Article 25: Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice, and propagation of religion.
- Article 26: Freedom to manage religious affairs.
- Article 27: Freedom from taxation for promotion of any religion.
- Article 28: Freedom from attending religious instruction or religious worship in educational institutions wholly maintained by the state.
Cultural and Educational Rights (Articles 29-30)
- Article 29: Protection of interests of minorities.
- Article 30: Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions.
Right to Constitutional Remedies (Article 32)
- Article 32: Right to move the Supreme Court for the enforcement of fundamental rights.
Knowing these fundamental rights is essential for the protection and well-being of Indian citizens along with the knowledge of “how to vote in India”. The Constitution of India provides a mechanism for individuals to approach the judiciary, especially the Supreme Court if they believe their fundamental rights have been violated. The judiciary plays a crucial role in upholding and safeguarding these rights