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How NRIs and servicemen can vote in the 2019 general election?
The NRIs and government servicemen located abroad can vote in the upcoming general elections 2019. They can enroll with ECI website. Subsequently, a verification process will take place by the Election Officer. Thereafter, the non-residents have to fill a declaration form to get registered with.

The general elections are soon to be held in India. The government is playing all shots to encourage voting for its upcoming Lok Sabha elections in 2019. Several efforts are put to ease out this process. Not only can natives, but also the NRIs and servicemen located abroad can franchise their votes.  It means that the residents of India, be in India or abroad, can use their voting right.

During every election, India's huge mass skips exercising its vote. The reason is their off-the- country location or employment. A huge population had to compromise on its voting right. Consequently, their precious votes got wasted.  Now, the presence in the constituency will not be a barrier. They can participate in general polls from anywhere.

The government employees who are posted in foreign have this right. This time, the overseas voters, better to call NRIs, may be eligible for proxy voting as a service voter or a classified service voter. The bill in this regard has already been tabled in the Rajya Sabha to get a nod from the government.   

Who is a Classified Service Voter?

The service voter is the one who opts for voting through a proxy (or substitute) appointed by him in India. The following classified service voters can vote through a PROXY by nominating a person to participate in polling on their behalf:

  • Those who are serving the Armed Forces of the union
  • Those who are serving in a Force to which the Army Act 1950 applies (including Assam Rifles, CRPF, BSF, ITBF, GREF in Border Road Organisation, Central Industrial Security Force etc.)
  • Those government employees serving overseas
  • Member of Armed Police Force of a State, and serving outside the state
  • Wife of a Service Voter, if she is ordinarily living with him

Once enrolled, their nominee can visit the polling booth to exercise the vote on their behalf.

Can NRIs be a registered as a service voter?

Yes, they may be a proxy voter this time. They may be temporarily settled in the US or Australia or wherever for business, employment or study purpose. Even then, they can be registered as a classified service voter.  

You might be wondering how the government can identify them. Actually, their verification is compulsory to avoid fake franchising. The Election Commission has its answer.  It has set a scale to evaluate the authenticity of NRIs through document verification. As to get a police clearance certificate is compulsory to seek passport & visa, as verification is mandatory for winning a polling right.

Documents required for NRI voters:

Let's get through the checklist of those documents that can qualify the NRIs as a classified proxy voter:

  • One recent passport size photograph of the NRI
  • Self-attested photocopies of the relevant pages of the passport
  • Valid visa

The non-residents should be ready with all these documents and submit them on the ECI website. It ends at the declaration for verification. Subsequently, the verification carries on. 

How does verification occur?

A Booth Level officer visits the home of the classified service voter in-person. He comes across the requisite documents to verify. Afterwards, the verification result is routed through an SMS and a post. In case, the NRI qualifies to participate in the polling, the electoral rolls are published.

The classified service voter can check this roll number on the ECI website under the "Overseas Electors" sector.

Steps to enroll as an NRI voter online:

  • Go to the ECI website to find the name of your constituency.
  • Scroll down the Home page to find and click 'Enroll As A NRI Voter'.
  • Then, the click redirects to https://www.nvsp.in/Forms/Forms/form6A
  • Select the language.
  • Fill up the Form 6A online. 
  • Upload photograph and the scanned picture of the passport.

Steps to enroll as a service voter:

  • Explore http://servicevoter.nic.in/.
  • Download the registration form as per your category. Form 2, Form 2A and Form 3 are meant for the Armed Forces, Armed Police Force and Govt. Officials serving abroad respectively.
  • Fill its two copies.
  • Fill the declaration form.
  • Submit it with the nodal officer.

Significant Information:

  • The service voter should get his name deleted from the service voter list when he enrolls as a general voter.
  • Only spouse has a right to become a service voter. The son/daughter cannot enroll for this role.
  • Don't show your postal ballot to the officer without disclosing your vote.

Voting Procedure for NRIs and Ex-Servicemen:

  • A ballot is sent electronically with your details.
  • Provide with a One Time Password (OTP) to enable downloading of the ETPB (Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot).
  • Besides ETPB, you receive these forms:
  • Declaration Form (Form-13A)
  • Cover A (Form-13B) (to be cut and paste on the small envelope of dimensions 4'X9')
  • Cover B (Form-13C) (to be cut and paste on large envelope of dimension 4.75'X11')               
  • The officer will would attest your signature on the Declaration Form.
  • Place the declaration form (13A) and small envelope with ETPB as a caption Cover A. Put it in the large envelope marked as Cover B and seal it.
  • Attest the envelope with complete signature.
  • Send it to the RO via courier or SMS.
  • The Embassy will get it and send envelope B back after sticking a postage stamp via a diplomatic bag.

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