With the long-awaited elections approaching nearby, political parties have geared up for maximizing the turnout for voting. Apart from the political parties, it is important that people understand as well as exercise their right to vote. The Indian constitution considered anyone above the age of 18 with sound mental health and finances might cast their vote. This law doesn't discriminate over people's caste, creed, social or economic status of an individual. The voters are entitled to certain privileges and rights which is laid down by the constitution.
Discussed below are some of the privileges and rights of the voters.
What is the Eligibility Criteria for Voting in India?
According to the Indian Constitution, anyone above the age of 18 and who have registered themselves can vote in the state, national and district level elections. Every voter is allowed to cast one vote and a voter can vote only in the constituency where he/she has registered themselves. Eligible voters are required to register for voting in the constituency where they reside after which they are issued the voter ID card.
Disqualification from the Voting Process
The following rules are described under the Indian Constitution relating to the disqualification of voters in the election process:
Individuals convicted under Section 171E and Section 171F.
People convicted under Section 125, Section 135 and Section 136.
Individuals voting in more than one constituency.
How Can You Cast Your Vote?
All the voters who are eligible to participate in the electoral process are required to cast their vote in the polling booth. This is done to ensure that the pre-registered voter exercises his/her ballot and the vote is not cast by an impersonator.
Voting can be done by post in special cases, this is known as a postal ballot. They are conducted for individuals who are unable to visit the polling booth physically due to certain reasons.
Usually, postal ballot privileges are provided to members of the armed forces who are posted across the country and overseas and to individuals who are on their election duty like electoral officers, policemen, etc. They can also be granted to individuals who are under preventive detention.
Below described are the rights of the voters which are granted and safeguarded by the Constitution of India:
Right to Know
Voters have the right to learn about the candidates who will be contesting for the upcoming elections. This right has been granted to the voters under Section 19 of the Constitution of India. This Section of the Indian Constitution empowers voters to seek information regarding the election manifesto of the candidates, their gross financial worth and also their criminal record.
Right Not to Vote (NOTA)
Voters have also been granted the exclusive right not to vote, which is also recorded in the system. Also known as NOTA (NULL of the above) vote, this vote can ensure the participation of the individual in the election and it can also empower the voter to choose not to vote for any of the candidates.
Special Assistance to Infirm and Illiterate Voters
Voters who are not able to cast their votes due to any form of physical disability or any form of infirmity can take the assistance of an electoral officer, who will be recording their vote.
NRI and Prisoner Voting Rights
NRIs (Non-Resident Indian) were not permitted to vote earlier. However, after an amendment was made in the constitution in 2010 that allows the NRIs to register themselves as voters and vote in the state, national and local elections, even if they have not stayed in the country for over six months. As per the current law, prisoners are not permitted to exercise their votes.
These votes are applicable for individuals who declare themselves as a voter and seek to cast their vote when a vote has already been cast on their name. In such cases, an individual can cast their votes only if they can prove their identity. His/Her vote is noted in a ballot paper and is decided upon by the election commission.