With the politicos in our country gearing up for the 2014 general elections, the media constantly debating on who the next PM should be, the reports on the gory riots in Muzzaffarnagar, the mystery behind a new scam unfolding everyday; the common man –the soul of a democracy is losing interest in the electoral politics of the nation and faith in its governance.
While that remains a fact, we cannot abdicate our responsibilities as citizens. The outcome of the elections may not always be to our liking, but abstaining from exercising our right to vote robs us of our chance even to complain regarding the poor quality of governance, that may follow. Moreover, there is no guarantee that some unscrupulous party worker may not impersonate us in the polling booth and cast our votes in absentia. That would be counterproductive since our intentions of abstaining from voting may have been because of a disillusionment with electoral politics but that purpose would be defeated by someone else hijacking our votes.
The Election Commission of India has proposed to introduce an option of ‘No Vote’ (provided in Section 49 of the Indian Constitution) for the electorate and the Supreme Court too has recommended a ‘None of the above (NOTA)’ option with the rest of the candidates’ names on election day. But understandably, the political class have orchestrated a sustained campaign for nipping any such proposal in the bud. They fear that the widespread discontent against politics and politicians might someday result in none of the contestants winning. We may have to wait to see who will win this tussle.
Every responsible citizen has a duty to register themselves with the local ERO (Election Registration Office) by submitting the duly filled Form 6 along with the supporting documents.
They say a mighty trek starts with a first short step and so we hope that significantly improved governance can only result when each one of us solemnly discharges our primary responsibility at the polling booths without demur.
FAQS FOR A FIRST-TIME VOTER
May I vote?
You are eligible to vote if:
* You are an Indian citizen.
* You are 18 years or older as on 1 January of the year the electoral rolls are prepared. Currently, this will be 1 January, 2014.
* You are an ordinary resident at your current location i.e. you have been living at your current address for six months or longer.
How do I register myself as a voter?
* The Election Commission of India now allows you to register online.
* Go to http://eci.nic.in and hover over the ‘Online Voter Registration’ tab. Click on the category applicable to you (this is usually Form 6).
* The website will ask for your mobile number. After providing your number you will receive a verification code via text message. Submit the verification code to proceed with the registration.
* If you’re confused about registering or need any help with the process, visit www.firstpost.com/firstvote to clarify your queries.
* Fill up Form 6 (available at the local ward office) and submit it to the ERO (Election Registration Office).
* You will need two passport-sized photographs and proof of your permanent residence.
* If you are between 18 and 21 years of age, you might also have to submit a proof of age.
I am a student studying outside my native city. May I register to vote from my present location?
* Yes! If you are residing in a hostel and thus do not have an ordinary address proof document, download the Student Declaration Form (available online) and get it signed by your college dean/ principal/registrar and submit it along with your voter registration form.
* You may also register from your parent’s place of residence, but you must then cast your vote from there.
* You cannot register from two or more addresses simultaneously.
I’ve registered but haven’t gotten my voter ID card! How do I get it?
* Once you register as a voter, you do not have to register separately for a voter’s ID – called Electors’ Photo Identity Card (EPIC). An Enumerator should visit your residence and confirm your residency during the preparation of Electoral Rolls. If you don’t get any response in three months, visit the Chief Electoral Officer’s website to check at which stage your application is stuck.
*If your application has been verified but you still haven’t received your ID, contact the Electoral Registration Office, polling station, Local Tahsildar or Zonal Officer in the area you have applied.
May I vote without my voter ID?
* You may, provided your name appears on the Electoral Roll of your constituency. Carry an identification card issued by the government or a public sector enterprise that has a unique ID number (PAN card or driver’s license) to the polling booth.
How do I check if my name is in the Electoral Roll?
You may check online at http://eci.nic.in.
Keep in mind that the Electoral Rolls will only be updated on 1 January, 2014.
OPERATION BLACK DOT
Operation Black Dot is an initiative by The Thincquistive Foundation and DDB Mudramax.
It aims to break down the electoral process to make it more engaging and inclusive for firsttime voters.
If you are a student in Mumbai, you may apply to be a ‘Youth MP’ or your college ‘MLA’ (representative) and go on a drive to get as many students from your college as possible registered for voting. The college with the most new registrations will win a prize.
To register, visit
Volume 3 Issue 5