The Election Commission of India is undertaking a massive drive to ensure that all eligible voters are registered and able to vote. Recently the Indian government took great strides in this direction by facilitating voting arrangements for its Non-resident Indian citizens as well. While it is imperative to note that only Indian citizens are eligible to vote, there has been sufficient interest generated that even Indians abroad who had renounced their citizenship were keen on getting onboard. However, India doesn’t permit dual citizenship and therefore, several voters who renounced their citizenship and took citizenship of other countries are automatically ineligible. For now, according to Section 20A of the Representation of People Act, 1950, an NRI settled in a foreign land can become an elector in electoral roll in India and be eligible to vote in his home constituency. They do not have to be residing in India at the time of registering as electors nor is there a minimum period for which they have to be out of the country to qualify as an overseas elector.
Process of registering as an overseas Indian elector (NRI) in the electoral roll –
- Download Form 6A, available on the Election Commission of India/ State Electoral Registration Officer website.
- These can be picked up free of cost from all Indian missions in each foreign country.
- Families staying back in the home constituency are also able to pick up a Form 6A on behalf of the NRI living abroad from the booth level officer in their respective polling station.
- Fill out the application and file before the Chief Electoral Officer of the concerned state or online uploaded to the website.
- The Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) sends Booth level officers for a field verification to both the home constituency as well as the foreign Indian mission abroad. Further NRI information is also collected by these BLOs.
- This application is vetted and screened for objections for a period of seven days.
- If nothing objectionable is found, the elector will be registered and the ERO notifies him via official mail sent to the home address along with SMS on his cell phone.
- This information can also be obtained on the website of the Chief Electoral Officer.
- If there is an objection to the Form 6A application, the Indian Mission where the applicant resides is notified and a hearing is conducted. The final decision is imparted to the address in the home constituency.
- A NRI can be registered only under one state and home constituency. Any duplications can be penalized.
- A change of addresses has to be duly notified by the elector to the election commission.
Attested documents required to support Form 6A application are –
- Document showing address in the home constituency
- Copies of the passport
- Copies of a valid visa
- Colored, passport -sized photograph
- Documents reflecting local address abroad
Election Commission revises the existing electoral roll throughout the year and publishes the updated electors list by the first week of January each year.