Election Commission of India launches portal for NRI voters

Muscat - 

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has launched a portal to encourage more Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) to register as voters.

NRIs can log on to http://eci.nic.in/OverseasVoters/home.html to register themselves as voters. The enrolment can be done in Hindi, English and Malayalam.

The portal also has a list of frequently asked questions to help NRIs understand the enrolment procedure.

According to the ECI, some 24,348 NRIs have registered with the poll panel. Of those, 23,556 are from Kerala, 364 from Punjab and 14 from Gujarat.

The portal can also be accessed through the Election Commission website eci.nic.in 

People are eligible to be registered as voters in the constituency of their residence in India, as mentioned in their passports.

Once the name is registered as a voter, the election officials of the constituency concerned will inform the NRI by post on the current address abroad.

Overseas voters will not be issued an election photo identity card as they are allowed to cast their vote in the constituency in person at the polling station upon showing their passport. Now, things may change as the Union Cabinet recently cleared a proposal to extend proxy voting to NRIs by amending electoral laws.

While NRIs and overseas Indians are free to cast their votes in constituencies where they are registered, according to the proposal, they would also be allowed to use the option of proxy, which as of now is only available to service personnel.

An expert committee in the Election Commission working on the issue, in 2015, forwarded the legal framework to the law ministry to amend electoral laws to allow overseas Indians use proxy voting. But for every election, the overseas voters will have to name a new person as their proxy.

Proxy voting is allowed for members of the armed forces.

The bill to allow the new provision for overseas voters could not be introduced in the monsoon session of Parliament which ended on Friday.

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