With the Indian General Elections underway from the 11th of April to the 19th May, 2019, the Election commission has a new problem on its hands.
Much to the surprise of many voters, their names were stricken off the Voters’ List. Public outrage was evident as many took to social media on April 11 after the first phase of voting when they lost the opportunity to vote. The aggrieved include Maruti Suzuki Chairperson RC Bhargava, who tried voting in Noida, Executive Vice Chairperson of Apollo Hospitals Shobana Kamineni who went to cast her vote in Telangana and Yamini Mazumdar (mother of famous Entrepreneur Kiran Mazumdar) among other disappointed voters.
As you head towards casting your vote this election season, let’s understand what goes behind preparing the Voters’ List and how you can avoid from having your name deleted.
Step 1: Check for your name on the Voters’ List.
To vote in the ongoing elections, it is necessary that your name is on the Voters’ List/ Electoral roll. In the absence of a Voter’s Id, having your name on the list and carrying a valid Identification card is all that you need to exercise your right.
So, how do you check?
- Voter Helpline App on Play Store (Android devices) and App Store (Apple devices)
There are multiple ways of doing it but the ‘easiest’ way of checking according to Kannur District Collector, Mir Mohammed Ali is the “VOTER HELPLINE APP”. This app by the Election Commission of India is fully equipped with all the necessary details about the Lok Sabha elections from Voters’ List to Candidate information.
- Checking on the website
Visit the National Voter Services Portal (NVSP) online and check with your Electoral Photo ID Card (EPIC) number which is found on the voter’s ID card.
In case you don’t have an EPIC number
You can search by details on the NVSP Search page by entering all details including your name, gender, age, Assembly constituency, etc.
If there is no record of your name in the list, you will have to fill out Form 6 of the Election Commission of India as a new voter. This can be done online at the NVSP page or offline by manually submitting a filled out Form 6 with your Age and Address proof at your nearest Electoral Registration Office.
What if you cannot access the Internet or the App?
There are other offline options available-
1. Approach Booth Level Officer (BLO)
“Each booth level officer is assigned an average of 1000 voters. And they manually visit the houses of the voters to check if there are any new voters, if there any deceased voters and for those who are already on the list, it’s just a confirmation. In most cases, BLOs find that the voters are not at their registered address when the BLOs visit,” says Mr Mir Mohammed Ali.
In case you missed it when the BLOs visited your house, you can manually check at your nearest Electoral Registration office and inquire if your name is on the Voters’ List.
2. Approach the Tahsildar
You can even approach the Tahsildars/ Talukdars within your district to check if your name is on the Voters’ List.
Step 2: If you find your name missing
If you find your name missing on the Voters’ List/Electoral Roll, you will need to fill out a Form 6 and register as a new voter.
There are multiple forms which might seem confusing, here’s a list of some of the different forms and their uses-
However, it is essential to note that for the phases 1-4, the last day for filling out these forms is passed. But if you belong to Phase 5,6 or 7, you still have time to check your name and ensure you exercise your democratic privilege.
Last dates for filling the forms are as follows-
When are names deleted or added to the Voters’ List?
- New Voters and Deceased Voters
Names are added to the Voters’ List as more voters register to cast their vote and deleted if an existing voter dies. New voters include first-time voters and Voters who have registered at the particular constituency.
2. Change of address to a different constituency
When you change your constituency, your name is deleted from the Voters’ List of the past constituency. In such a situation, fill out a Form 6 for the inclusion in the Voters’ List once again and submit it to the Electoral Registration Office of your new constituency along with age and address proof. This way you will be eligible to vote from your nearest constituency.
- Relocation within the constituency
If you relocate within the same constituency and are no longer residing at the registered address, there is a chance that the Booth-Level door-to-door surveyors turn up at your old address and find you missing. To avoid being stricken off the Voters’ List, fill out the Form 8 A and submit it to your nearest Electoral registration office.
Why is it necessary to update the Voters’ List?
To prevent bogus voting on behalf of absentee voters who have either registered to vote elsewhere in the country or relocated from their registered address. The Election Commission requires their names to be deleted from the Voters’ List. A similar situation presents itself if the names of the deceased are not stricken off the Voters’ List as this would amount to the accumulation of names who can’t vote, making this process detrimental to free and fair elections.
Also Read: Over 22 Lakh Voters’ Names Missing From Telangana Voter List; Chief Election Officer Says, “I Am Sorry”