Everything you wanted to know about voting but didn’t know whom to ask

“Don’t forget! May 16!” scream the posters. They are quite hard to miss, plastered as they are onto every vertical surface in the vicinity of any government building, local corporation school, bus shelters, trees or any random wall left standing.

Election fever has the state in its grip and the media is full of the campaign trails of the main parties contesting for the 236 seats in the TN legislative assembly. The results will be declared on May 19th and the party that has won a majority of 118 seats will take charge of the state legislative assembly.

For old voters and new, there are doubts aplenty.

  • Do I need to register anew for every election?
  • What can I do if I forget to take my Voter’s ID with me to the voting station?
  • How do I find out where my voting station is?
  • What if my name has been left out of the list?
  • Or if I find out someone else has voted in my name?

Often, citizens opt to not vote instead of getting their doubts resolved. So here is a quick guide to all that you might want to know as you prepare to cast your vote.

PREPARING TO VOTE

When is the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Elections this year?

On May 16, 2016. The Election Day is a holiday so that voters can exercise their right to vote.

To start with, how old must I be to be eligible to vote in the coming elections?

The minimum age for a voter to be eligible is 18 years, by January 1 of the year of revision of the electoral roll. He/She can cast his/her vote in his/her residential constituency, i.e, the constituency of the place called home. Students living in hostels need to make the trek back to their parents’ home and cast their votes there.  

I am more than 18 years old. How do I get myself on the electoral roll?

Form 6 is the one you need to fill out to get yourself included on the electoral roll. You can get this from the Electoral Registration Officers, Booth Level Officers or from the website of the Election Commission of India. Just submit a recent passport-sized photograph, as well as photocopies of proof of your age and residence.

(You just missed the boat on online registration. But the other option is still open so get going now!)

Can NRIs (Non-Resident Indians) vote? Didn’t I hear that they can cast their votes in the upcoming elections?

Well, yes and no. Yes, an NRI can register for a voter’s ID, stating the address on his passport but must travel to India and cast his vote in his registered constituency. He / she needs to fill out Form 6A available here.

What is an EPIC number?

EPIC stands for Elector’s Photo ID Card. Please keep this safe. Or at least make a note of the EPIC number as you need that to get a replacement if you lose your voter’s card, to search for your data etc.

How do I get a replacement EPIC card?

By visiting this link. It is a fairly straightforward process and you’ll get your replacement voter’s card within 7 – 10 working days.  

How can I find my name on the voter’s list?

It is important to make sure that your name is listed in the Electoral Roll ahead of the polling day. Even if you have an Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC), you cannot vote if your name is not in the Electoral roll.

Having an EPIC does not guarantee that you have a vote; it is mandatory to have your name on the list.

  1. Go to the website of the Chief Electoral Officer, Tamil Nadu by using this link:  http://www.elections.tn.gov.in/index.aspx
  2. Go to ‘Search Voter’s List’ (First option)
  3. It will take you to ‘Tamil Nadu Voter’s Service Portal’. Enter your EPIC number and click submit. If you are already registered, you details will be displayed on the page.
  1. If you don’t know the EPIC no. Select ‘Don’t Know Epic’. Then fill the following details: District name, elector name, gender, relative’s name, locality, pincode, and assembly constituency. Then, click  submit.  [Not working]

OR

The voter’s list is available at the office of the Electoral registration Officer (ERO). Find the details here: http://elections.tn.gov.in/old/eros.htm

How do I know my assembly constituency?

  1. Go to the website National Voters’ Service Portal using the link: http://www.nvsp.in/
  2. Select ‘Know your booth, AC and PC’ option. This will take you to www.electoral search.in
  3. Select ‘Search by EPIC No.’ Enter the number, state and verification code. Click Search

How can I locate my polling booth? 

  1. Go to the website of the Chief Electoral Officer, Tamil Nadu by using this link:  http://www.elections.tn.gov.in/index.aspx
  2. From the Home page select Electoral Services.
  3. Select ‘Know Your Polling Station’
  4. Enter your Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC) Number and click submit.
  5. If you don’t know EPIC number, click ‘Don’t Know EPIC’ option.
  6. Select your district; enter your name, relative’s name and pin code. Also select your gender and assembly constituency

Where can I get assistance on enrolment and voting?

Dial the EC’s helpline number 1950.

AT THE POLLING BOOTH

What are the rules and regulations to follow?

Entry to the polling booth is regulated by queues.  There will be separate queues for men, women and differently-abled persons. Differently-abled persons and women voters with babies will be given precedence over other voters in the queue.

  1. Take your position in the queue, keep your identity document ready to show to the polling officials and the Voter slip
  1. Once you enter, you’ll be directed to the First Polling Officer who is responsible for identification of voters on the Electoral Roll. Show your ID for verification. You can also provide the unofficial ID slip provided to locate your name in the list. The FPO will then call out your name and serial number so that the polling agents could verify/or even challenge the voter’s identity. You can then sign (or make your thumb impression) in the Register of Voters.
  1. The Second Polling Officer will mark with indelible ink on your left forefinger. SPO will then record the serial number in the electoral ink. You will be given a chit with serial numbers in the Register of Voters and Electoral Roll.
  • Give the chit to the Third Polling Officer and proceed to the polling booth.
  1. Register your vote on the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) pressing the button against the candidate of your choice. You can also choose ‘None of the Above’ (NOTA; last button on EVM) option if you are not happy with the choice of candidates. If your vote is registered, you will hear a beep sound.  

  1. Note that mobile phones, cameras or any other gadgets are not allowed inside the polling booth.

Can you still vote if you don’t have an EPIC?

Fret not, you can still exercise your constitutional right to vote once you prove your identity by producing any of the below listed photo documents:

  1. Passport
  2. Driving license
  3. Service Identity Cards with photographs issued to employees by Central, State Govt, Public Sector Undertakings, Public Limited Companies.
  4. Passbooks with Photograph issued by Bank or Post Office; Kissan passbook
  5. PAN card
  6. Aadhar card
  7. Smart Card issued by Registrar General of India(RGI) under National Population Register
  8. Pension order with photo
  9. MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act Job Card
  10. Health Insurance Smart Card issued under the scheme of Ministry of Labour
  11. Service identity cards issued by State government, Central government, public sector undertakings or public limited companies.
  12. Student identity cards issued by recognized educational institutions
  13. Property documents such as Khatas, registered deeds, etc.
  14. SC, ST, OBC certificates issued by competent authority
  15. Freedom fighter identity card
  16. Arms license

What is the date for counting of votes?

19 May 2016

FOR MORE READING

Find the Election Commission’s general guide to voters here: http://www.elections.tn.gov.in/sbook/img00079.pdf

Voter awareness initiative by EC : Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP)

About Lavanya Donthamshetty 4 Articles
Lavanya Donthamshetty is a freelance writer based in Chennai.

1 Comment

  1. I have changed my address and several times applied through online for changes and till now yet to receive my New EPIC. I have attached my New Aadhaar for proof of address where is still no improvement for the past four months of process.MY EPIC TN/03/019/0477059. What to do?

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