By Siddharth Sehgal
In first article of this section we would like to look at the processes to enroll as a NRI voter. Our intention in this article is to look at the resources that are provided to citizens living overseas to participate in the 2014 elections. First we went to the website of the Election Commission and scrolled down to the tab labeled Enroll as NRI Voters. After clicking the tab we were directed to a screen like shown below.
After clicking the new user registration, the link took to another page which asked for mobile number, email id and caption text to verify us as a real person. One thing that’s important here is that it requires an Indian telephone number and that too only cell phone to allow you to register for vote.
Now if you are an expat and is no longer using an Indian sim/number then you might find it difficult to enroll because it sends a verification code to that number. Meanwhile, I used the phone number of one of my family members to create a login which took me to the next screen with a fill out form for personal and login details.
As soon as we clicked the submit button it gave us an error message telling that we couldn’t complete the registration because of the error. It didn’t gave us any specifics on what the error was and how we can fix it. Further ahead, we went back to the main site and tried to find a resource to resolve our issue.
We went to the complaints tab and it asked us if we were a citizen or an officer. We chose citizen and hit login and were redirected to same login page shown above. After this method failed, we tried to look for other resources to help us enroll so we typed nri voters in the search area and it showed the results relevant to our search. We chose the first option which led us to page dedicated to the overseas electors. In this page there was a link to a form titled Form-6A.
It’s a lengthy nine page form asking all the relevant details. The form needsto be presented to the election officer of the district or constituency in person or through post with self attested photographs and passport xerox. The address of the election commision officers was also provided on the overseas electors page. The contact page gave the list of officers with there name and phone numbers but address was not complete enough for posting the documents.
Our observation in a nutshell is that this process makes it very difficult if not impossible for a nri voter to enroll and cast his or her vote. Its not our intention to blame anyone or to undermine the reputation of election commision, their is other useful information too that’s provided on the website, like searching your name in the votor list but this procedure can be much more simplified for the people to use and participate in the democratic process. Once again, this is simply our observation of what we saw but if you have a different experience please, do write to us so that it may give us more insight on the matter and benefit our readers.