The Supreme Court on Monday had advised the Central Government to allow the Non-Residential Indians (NRIs) to vote in 8 weeks. NRI is a 25 million strong community, second largest immigration community after the Chinese.
NRIs who went abroad for education or work purpose want to be a part of the Indian Judiciary system and they want to be able to make a difference. ‘A single vote can make a huge difference’. Imagine, if even 15 million NRI votes, it will make a massive difference to the results.
But the biggest question is “How will they vote?”
The poll panel had ruled out the possibility of voting on the internet or at diplomatic missions abroad. So, the other options that Election commission recommended was allowing voting through proxy & e-postal ballot.
In the proxy method, one person staying in India acts as the proxy for only one NRI voter. The person who will be voting on the NRI’s behalf is known as a ‘principal voter’ and the NRI acts as a ‘proxy voter’. The principal voter and proxy voter must be from the same constituency i.e. they must vote in the same poll booth.
In the e-postal ballot, a blank postal ballot paper is transferred electronically i.e. via an email to an NRI and then NRI can cast their vote and return it by a post.
Allowing NRIs to vote will impact many states like Kerala constituting of nearly 4 million NRIs as well as Punjab, Maharashtra and many other states.
The Election commission though discarded the possibility of internet voting and says that e-postal ballot system will be free of fraud, manipulation and violation of secrecy.
After sending their application through internet or physically, registration office will verify the details and information about the elector and after full satisfaction a password will be given to them, then they can download the ballot paper, cast their vote and post it back to registration office, after attesting the declaration.