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Know Your Voting Rights in India

If you are a citizen of India and above 18 years of age, you are eligible to cast your vote in the elections. As per the Constitution of India, every Indian citizen who is of sound mind is given a universal voting right. The voter is not discriminated on the basis of factors like religion, caste, creed, economic status, etc. It does not matter the religion he/she belongs to and if he/she is rich or poor. In this article, we will talk about the voter’s rights given to all eligible voters in India in detail. 

The Indian Constitution clearly lays down the eligibility criterion for voting in India. The people who meet the following eligibility criteria can vote in the elections: 

  • You should be an Indian citizen.
  • You must be above 18 years of age.

If you fulfil the above criteria, you are eligible to vote for the following types of elections held in the country:

  • National-level elections
  • State-level elections
  • Local government body elections
  • District-level elections 

As per the voting rules,

  • You can cast only one vote. 
  • You must have Voter ID or EPIC card or photo identity election card.
  • You can vote only at your registered constituency.

Here, the registered constituency implies that the voters need to get themselves registered in a particular constituency, which should be a place they live in. From that particular constituency, the authority will provide them with an EPIC card or the photo election ID card or Voter ID card. 

On what grounds can you be disqualified from the voting process?

As per the Constitution of India, a voter can be disqualified in the following cases: 

  • If you are convicted under Section 125, Section 135, and Section 136, you will be disqualified.
  • If you have committed an offence under the Section 171E and Section 171F of the IPC, you will be disqualified. 
  • If you vote from two or more constituencies, you will have your vote disqualified.

How can you cast your vote?

The two methods how to cast your vote, are mentioned below:

By visiting the polling booth: To participate in the election, you need to vote at the polling booth by visiting the booth personally. This method of casting vote makes sure that only the correct voter goes to the ballot and no fake voter casts a vote on his/her behalf. 

By using the postal ballot: This is a special method of casting vote. As per this method of voting, you will be able to exercise your voting right by casting your vote via post. This facility is offered particularly to those people who cannot go to the polling booth themselves due to some unavoidable circumstance; for example, the armed forces personnel, electoral officers on duty, policemen who are on duty, people on preventive detention, etc. 

The Constitution of India provides us with some voting rights. The various voting rights that we can exercise as per the Indian Constitution includes the following:

Right to KnowThis voting right ensures that the voter knows about the candidates fighting the elections. As per Section 19 of the Constitution of India, this right allows the voters to know about the details of the participating candidates, the election manifesto of the participants, their monetary worth, their past records including criminal record if any, etc.

Voting rights of prisoners and NRI VotersInitially the Right to Vote was not made available to the Non-Resident Indian. However, with the amendment passed in the year 2010, the voting right was given to NRIs. As per the amendment, NRIs can cast vote in elections, even if they are not present in the country for six months. 

Prisoners are still not allowed to vote.

Voting rights of disabled and infirm citizensThis right is for the physically disabled or infirm people who cannot vote by postal ballot. This right allows them to seek the help of electoral officers to cast their votes.

Tendered voting rightThis right is for voters who wish to vote after having found out that others using their names have already voted on their behalf. He/she needs to furnish an ID proof to record the vote on a different ballot paper as per EC. 

NOTA or Right Not to Vote: As per this right, a voter can choose to cast a vote informing that he/she does not want to vote for any of the electoral candidates contesting the election.  

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