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Indians abroad can now vote with the postal ballot facility of the Election Commission
Currently, NRIs have to cast their vote in person at their respective Indian constituencies.
Good news for Indian citizens living abroad as the Union Ministry of External Affairs has given its consent to the Election Commission of India to allow non-resident Indians or NRIs to vote remotely electronically-transmitted postal ballot system (ETPBS) from the country of their residence.
The MEA wrote the Election Commission suggesting it to take a final call after consulting all stakeholders. Currently, NRIs have to cast their vote in person at their respective Indian constituencies.
According to a Times of India report, the EC had proposed in a written letter dates November 27, 2020, that the necessary amendments be made in the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 “at the earliest” in order to enable the Indian diaspora living abroad to vote through postal ballot.
As per the TOI report, the EC proposal stated that an NRI would be issued a postal ballot electronically after he fills in Form 12 and intimates his wish to vote to the returning officer, which must be received at least five days after notification of election.
Once the postal ballot is duly filled and attested by the officer or a consular representative of India overseas, must be returned by post to the returning officer of the NRI’s constituency in India such that it is received latest by 8 AM on the counting day.
The ETPBS facility is already available for members of Armed forces and paramilitary forces and government employees serving abroad.