NRIs to vote in Bihar Elections
Bihar elections are approaching and it could turn out to be a turning point in the election history of India. If reports are to be believed, Election Commission of India is working out on making NRIs cast their votes in Bihar Elections. The voting’s would take place semi-electronically. The commission is on its way to amend the Representation of People’s Act (RPA), 1951 to make this a facility a reality.
The special wing of the commission has been working on preparing a system wherein NRIs can cast their votes without being present physically at the polling booths and this facility can be used in upcoming Bihar elections. The commission would test run it for the first time in the state elections and would make subsequent improvements to the system for elections to follow.
The Election Commission of India is going to use a one-way electronic postal ballet system for this time in Bihar elections. With this system, the voter would be sent a password that he/she would use to login and cast their votes. Through the password, a voter would be able to unlock the election ballot and cast their votes accordingly.
While the system is still ready, election commission is committed to make necessary improvements to the system even after the conclusion of Bihar elections. The commission is working on a two way election ballot wherein the NRI voter can receive the ballot electronically and then send it back the same way.
More than 1 crore of NRI are eligible for voting as per the law, ideally above 18 years of age. The law which states that a voter should be an ordinary citizen of the place he has to cast vote from has already been amended and the amendment would make this NRI voting system a reality.
NRIs would have to showcase their visa and passport in order to become eligible for voting. They would not be required to meet the six month criterion after the amendment. The amendment was made in wake of the fact that NRIs usually live away from their voting area in a stretch and the six month norm forbid them from exercising their votes.
The amendment was made in 2010, however, even after the amendment, the person had to come physically to the voting booth in order to cast their votes. Now with this new system, NRI can vote from whichever country they are currently living in and make a difference in the political standing of their native area.