A viral message states that those who hold an Indian passport can vote during the 2019 elections and can register on the ECI website.

TNM fact check Can NRIs cast their votes online for Lok Sabha polls Representative image
news Elections 2019 Friday, March 22, 2019 - 16:29

Several messages doing the rounds on social media state that Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and can register themselves as a voter for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and cast their votes online. The messages state that “those who hold an Indian passport can vote for 2019 elections Please register yourself on https://eci.gov.in There is a link Enroll as NRI voter.”

This is false. There is no mechanism for e-voting or online voting in India. 

According to the Election Commission of India, “a citizen of India, who is absent from the country owing to employment, education etc, and has not acquired citizenship of any other country are known as Overseas Voters and are eligible to be registered as a voter in the address mentioned in their Indian passport.”

However, overseas electors are not issued Electoral Photo ID Card (EPIC) numbers and have to physically come to the polling booth, produce their original passport as proof and then register their vote.

The Election Commission took cognisance of the messages and put out a clarification, which stated: “Beware of fake news in social media informing that ‘Those who hold an Indian passport, can now vote online for 2019 elections.’ There is no online voting facility for any category of voter.” 

If Indians who live overseas wish to enrol themselves as voters, they cannot do so on the website of the Election Commission, but only on the National Voters Service Portal.

For NRIs to enrol, they have to file Form 6A before the Electoral Registration Officer or the Assistant Electoral Registration Officer in the constituency where the place of residence or permanent address, as mentioned in their passport, falls.

After this, this application and a self-attested copy of the documents required can be filed by:

a) Either in person before the concerned Electoral Registration Officer or the Assistant Electoral Registration Officer,

b) sent by post addressed to the officer,

c) filed online on the website of Chief Electoral Officer of the concerned state or the website of Election Commission of India.

While filing Form 6A online, the copy of the passport and copies of other necessary documents (like the visa) should also be uploaded.

The facility of postal ballots can be availed only by government employees who are deployed outside of their constituency on government duty and members of the armed forces. Members of the armed forces can also opt for proxy voting. 

The Lok Sabha elections will be conducted in seven phases this year and will begin from April 11, 2019. Around 900 million voters are likely to register their votes in the polls, the Election Commission announced earlier this month.

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