My Vote My Right – A Call for Correct Documents, Involving Post Offices, and Digitisation

The women gather at the Jagalikatte after hearing the announcement going on. Priyanka informs all of them that elections are coming soon, so today at the Jagalikatte, an Election Officer is visiting to clear all our doubts about the process. In the meantime, the officer comes in and Manjula says, “Usually, we discuss many things but this is the first time that we have an election officer amongst us.” Asha had a question – “My daughter is almost 18-years-old, can she vote?” Vijaya assures her that, of course, she can vote but before that, she will have to get her name registered. “She has to meet the BLO Officer and fill Form 6 and attach a passport-size colour photo of hers as well as provide a document as age proof, like the birth certificate, and address proof. After submitting all these papers, don’t forget to take the acknowledgement slip. If not, the chances of missing the ID card are high.” Manjula adds to this, “Yes, my parents registered my name when I was 18-years-old and we got an ID card when I was 20-years-old. So, in 2019, if a person is nearing 18 years of age, they can apply for the ID card and vote.”

Usha asks if her relatives staying in Dubai can come and vote. Vijaya answers that they can always come if they are Indian citizens and vote. “They should have voter ID cards and if they are NRIs, they can fill Form 6A and vote.”

If you shift your house in the same Vidhana Sabha Keshtra then you should fill Form 8 and submit for a change of address. If you shift your house to a different Vidhana Sabha Kshetra, then you should fill Form 8A and submit your old voter ID. “In my voter ID card, my father’s name was mentioned but he has since passed away. I am married and I want my husband’s name mentioned on it. So, how can this be changed?” asks Manjula. Vijaya answers, “When you shift from one Vidhana Kshetra to another, you have to take Form 8A and to change the name in your voter ID, you have to fill Form 7 and ask for an acknowledgement.” Priyanka raises a doubt – her relative has passed away so what should be done with that person’s voter ID card? Vijaya says, “You have to fill Form 7 and submit the death certificate because chances of misusing the card are high.” Vijaya also talks about downloading the ‘GO CALL’ app from the Google Play Store as well as using the customer care number ‘1950’. “Their website is We can download all the above-mentioned forms and submit the changes.”

Dr. Priyanca Mathur talks further on voter registration and about what happens when we go to the polling booth and don’t see our names on the roll, or even someone else’s name in your place. “So, this shouldn’t happen, we have to take responsibility to update our details.” The qualifications to vote are:

One should be an Indian citizen and a resident of the constituency where he or she wishes to vote
One should be 18-years-old on January 1st, 2019
Indian passport-holders are also eligible to vote in the address mentioned in their voter ID
Armed forces professionals have special voting provisions

Documents required to get registered as a new voter in any constituency are:

A furnished Form 16 with a colour photograph with address proof, age proof and Aadhar Card

“To make changes in the existing voter card, a Form 8 needs to be filled and submitted and for shifting the address in the same polling constituency, a Form 8A needs to be submitted. To register after shifting to a new polling constituency, a Form 6 needs to be submitted along with the old voter ID card. For NRIs, Form 6 needs to be submitted as an Overseas Indian Elector, and to cancel any deceased voter ID card, a Form 7 needs to be submitted. This will help you vote and stop others from voting in your name. The right documents are critical.” Delay in voter registration is a huge problem in many places.

“In 2009, the Loksaktta party had suggested the use of the Postal Department for the voter registration process. The Postal Department is the most trust-worthy department with the least amount of cheating reported. In fact, they had suggested using local post offices as nodal agencies for voter registration. Even civic activists say that there is a need for involving post offices.”

Srinivas Alavilli, co-founder of Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB) says that involving post offices in voter registration will really help people. “The Postal Department is composed of reliable, trustworthy people who are well aware of local post offices. Of late, though, post offices have been losing their relevance. They can be given a facelift by making them the hub of social and civic activities by involving them in voter registration.”

Apart from the post offices, we can also involve Bangalore One in voter registration, which will help to further reduce election-related problems. Also, there is a need to avoid hard copies of documents and to digitise the process as much as possible. Anjali Saini from the ‘Million Voter Rising’ group comments on the lack of technology in the voting process. “Let’s involve more technology and minimise the use of paper. The Million Voter Rising group has also suggested that we should go fully online and do random checking and fine levying to address cheating.”

Listen in for more…

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