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My vote - My choice - A guide for voters

Elections - how important it is for an Indian citizen

Elections is important for the citizens of India because it is

  1. A chance given to him/ her to decide the governing authorities be it at the centre / state / municipality / panchayat.
  2. A golden opportunity to exercise his / her constitutional right and participate in a democratic exercise

Who can vote in a election?

A person is eligible to vote if s/he is

  1. A citizen of India and
  2. Has completed 18 years of age as on the qualifying date (1 Jan, 1 April, 1 July and 1 Oct of the year of revision of electoral roll) and
  3. Has registered as a voter in the current electoral roll of the constituency where s/he ordinarily resides.

Citizens of unsound mind and declared so by a competent court or those who are temporarily disqualified from voting under any law relating to corrupt practices and other election offence cannot vote.

Why should I vote?

  1. Your most sacred right
  2. Your right is the at the heart of our democracy
  3. Your chance to decide your future & that of your fellow citizens
  4. Gives you the ultimate power to shape the destiny of your country
  5. Every vote counts

FAQs related to voting

How can I register/enroll myself as a voter?

Register online to Vote

  • General Voters need to fill Form 6. This is only for the Registration of new voters.
  • NRI Voter need to fill form 6A
  • For Deletion or Objection in electoral roll fill form 7
  • Please fill Form 8 for shifting of Residence/Correction of Entries in Existing Electoral Roll/Replacement of EPIC / Marking of PwD.

Register online to Vote

  • You can also enroll offline. Fill two copies of Form 6, along with the supporting documents for proof of address, date of birth etc. The application accompanied by copies of the relevant documents can be filed in person before the concerned Electoral Registration Officer / Assistant Electoral Registration Officer or sent by post addressed to him or can be handed over to the Booth Level Officer of your polling area. 

Once this is done, your name will appear on the ‘electoral rolls’ for the constituency, which is mandatory for you to vote in an election.

Search your name in electoral rolls

  • To search your name online on the rolls and find other details relating to your constituency, click here.
  • You can call the Voter Helpline 1950 (please add your STD code before dialing)
  • SMS space to 1950 (EPIC stands for Electors Photo Identity Card also commonly known as Voter ID card). Example - If your EPIC is 12345678 then sms ECI 12345678 to 1950
  • Download Voter Helpline App

Deadlines and Key Dates : Voter list is continuously updated till the last date of filing of nominations by the candidate.

My name has been spelt wrongly in the roll! How can I correct mistakes like this?

For correction of mistakes in electoral rolls, you can submit an application (Form 8 )to the concerned Electoral Registration Officer. To apply for rectification online click here.

Enrollment forms for the Electors

How do I track the application status

To track the application status, click here.

My name is on the rolls, now how do I find out which polling booth I have to go to?

  • You can find out this information from the Electoral Registration Officer of your area. Electoral rolls in all major cities have now been displayed on official websites also. To find this information,  click here.
  • Voters can call the Voter Helpline, the number is 1950 (please add your STD code before dialing)
  • Download Voter Helpline App

Once your name is on the rolls, you also need an identity document to be able to cast your vote - this ID is typically issued by the Election Commission of India (“ECI”) and is known as the Electors’ Photo Identity Card (EPIC, more commonly as the Voter ID card.)

How do I obtain the Voter ID Card? What is its significance in casting my vote?

The ECI issues the Voter ID card to citizens after their names have successfully been included in the electoral rolls of their constituency. The ECI has made voter identification mandatory at the time of poll - you have to show your Voter ID Card issued by the ECI or any other documentary proof allowed by the ECI in order to be able to vote.

However, also keep in mind that just because you have your Voter ID Card does not mean that you will definitely be allowed to vote - because it is mandatory that your name should appear in the electoral roll. Once you have found out that your name is present on the electoral roll and you also possess an identification document prescribed by the ECI (the Voter ID card or any other acceptable document), you are entitled to vote.

I was registered to vote in my home state, but now I have moved for my job. Can I enroll in more than one place? If not, how can I transfer my vote?

You cannot be enrolled as a voter at more than one place. While applying for fresh enrolment, you have to make a statement or declaration stating that your name is not already included in the electoral roll of any other constituency. (If you make a false statement or declaration, you can be punished (The Representation of People Act 1950 Section 31) with jail time of upto one year, or fine, or both)

If you have shifted your home, and your new home is in the same constituency, you need to fill Form 8A and submit the same to the Electoral Registration Officer / Assistant Electoral Registration Officer. To apply online, click here. If your new home is in a different constituency, you need to fill up (Form 6 again (same as in the case of a fresh application).

I went to the polling booth, but someone has already voted in my name! What can I do?

If the Polling Officer tells you after you have reached the polling station that your vote has already been cast, you should immediately bring this to the attention of the Presiding Officer. In such a case, the Presiding Officer may ask you questions to confirm your identity. Once he/she is convinced that your identity is genuine, he or she will give you a tendered ballot paper and you will be allowed to cast a ‘Tendered Vote’ (according to Rule 42 of The Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961). A tendered ballot paper is the same as the ballot paper displayed on the balloting unit, except that it will be endorsed (either stamped or written) with the words ‘Tendered Ballot Paper’ on the back.

After marking your choice of candidate, you should hand over the tendered ballot paper to the Presiding Officer, who will keep it in a separate cover. In such a case, you will not cast your vote on the Electronic Voting Machine. Courts have said that tendered votes should be taken into account only when they are likely to affect the outcome of the election, i.e. when the margin of victory is less than the number of tendered votes.

How do I pursue any complaints or objections?

If you have any grievance in regard to electoral roll, Voter ID or any other election related matter you may approach the following officers:

  1. Chief Electoral Officer – At the State Level
  2. District Election Officer – At the District Level
  3. Returning Officer – At the Constituency Level
  4. Assistant Returning Officer – At Taluka/Tahsil Level
  5. Electoral Registration Officer – At the Constituency Level
  6. Presiding Officer – At Polling Station
  7. Zonal Officer – For a group of Polling stations

During every election, the ECI also appoints ‘Observers’ who are senior civil service officers from outside the state. You can also approach them if you have any grievances or problems. You may find details of these officers of your area here.

To file an online complaint to ECI, click here.

FAQs related to Electoral rolls

What is an electoral roll?

An electoral roll is a Voters list which has the list of all eligible citizens who are entitled to vote in an election. It is prepared for each Assembly Constituency. Each electoral roll is further sub-divided into parts. Normally, one part will correspond with one polling booth. Polling booths are set up so that no voter should ordinarily travel more than 2 kms to reach the booth.

Why is the electoral roll important to me?

Having your name in the electoral roll is the first and foremost requirement for you to vote. It is your duty to find whether your name has been registered in the roll or not.

How do I check my name in the electoral roll?

You first need to find out the name of the assembly constituency where you reside. You have the following options to check your name in the list:

  • To search your name online on the rolls and find other details relating to your constituency, click here.
  • You can call the Voter Helpline 1950 (please add your STD code before dialing)
  • SMS space to 1950 (EPIC stands for Electors Photo Identity Card also commonly known as Voter ID card). Example - If your EPIC is 12345678 then sms ECI 12345678 to 1950
  • Download Voter Helpline App

FAQs related to Voter ID card

Why should I have a voter ID card?

  • Voter identification is mandatory at the time of poll
  • To cast your vote, you have to identify yourself with your Voter ID issued by the Election Commission or by the Photo Voter Slip issued by the Election Office or by alternate documents prescribed by the Election Commission
  • Voter ID is also known as Electors’ Photo Identity Card (EPIC)

I have a Voter ID; is it enough to vote?

No, having Voter ID is not in itself a sufficient condition to cast vote. You can vote only if your name appears in the current electoral roll of your constituency. Hence, you can vote if your name is there in the roll and you have an ID prescribed by the Election Commission.

I have lost/misplaced my Voter ID; does this mean that I cannot cast my vote in this Election?

No, you can still vote by producing the Photo Voter slip issued by the Election Office or alternative documents prescribed by the Election Commission.

What is a Voter information slip (earlier Photo Voter Slip)?

  • A Voter information slip is a voter slip with details such as that of the Voter, polling station, etc. and is issued by the election office.
  • It facilitates you to know where you are enrolled as a voter at a particular polling station & serial number in the voters list
  • It will be in the language in which the voters list is published for your constituency
  • Accessible voter information slips are also issued to the specially abled voters.

How can I get my Voter information Slip?

It will be given to you at your residence by the Booth Level Officer for your area. In case you misplace it or do not get it by the day of voting, you can collect it on the poll day from the Booth Level Officer positioned outside the polling station at the Voter Assistance Booth.

My photograph in the Voter ID does not match with the photo in the voters list; can I still cast my vote?

Yes, you can still cast your vote (provided your name is in the current electoral roll), by producing any of your following alternative photo documents:

  1. Indian Passport
  2. Driving License
  3. Service identity cards with photograph issued to employees by Central / State Govt. PSUs / Public limited companies
  4. Passbooks with photograph issued by Bank / Post Office
  5. PAN card
  6. AADHAAR card
  7. Smart card issued by RGI under NPR
  8. MNREGA Job Card
  9. Health insurance smart card issued under the scheme of M/o Labour
  10. Pension document with photograph
  11. Service Identity cards with photos issued to employees by Central/State/Public Ltd Companies/PSUs.
  12. Unique Disability ID

FAQs related to Voting process

What is the time allotted for voting?

  • From 07:00 AM to 06:00 PM in general in all constituencies
  • From 07:00 AM to 05:00 PM in the North Eastern Region
  • From 07:00 AM to 04:00 PM in Manipur & Nagaland
  • From 07:00 AM to 04:00 PM in some other constituencies
  • You can find out the poll hours for your constituency from the website of the Election Commission www.eci.nic.in
  • The Commission has also instructed the CEOs/DEOs to give wide publicity regarding the same in their states/districts.

Where do I go to cast my vote?

  • You can find out the name and address of your polling station from the Voter information slip issued to you by the Election Office
  • You can also find this out from the website of the Election Commission of India ( https://electoralsearch.eci.gov.in/pollingstation ):

What is the step-by step process to vote

The process is as follows

Stage 0: Reaching the Polling Station

  • You must carry your Voter ID or other alternative photo document as required for identifying yourself at the polling station
  • It is advisable to leave your mobile phone at home
  • If you take a private vehicle to reach the polling station, you should park the vehicle at a reasonable distance - usually more than 200 metres - away from the polling station
  • When you reach the polling station, entry will be regulated by queues
  • There will be separate queues for men and women voters and for physically handicapped persons
  • At a time, 3 – 4 voters will be allowed into the polling station
  • Physically handicapped voters and women voters with babies in arm will be given precedence over other voters in the queue

Stage 1: Establishment of your Identity

  • You should first go to the First Polling Officer who is in charge of the marked copy of the electoral roll and responsible for identification of voters.
  • You should keep your identity document ready to show to the First Polling Officer.
  • You can also show to him/her the voter information slip giving your particulars. However, you should remember that the votr information slip only helps in locating your name in the electoral roll; it is not a proof of your identification.
  • Your name and serial number will then be called out by the First Polling Officer so that the polling agents become aware of your presence and your identity is not challenged.

Stage 2: Marking of indelible ink, obtaining of your signature or thumb impression & Issue of signed Voter’s slip(s)

  • If your identity is not challenged, you should proceed to the Second Polling Officer
  • He/she will mark your left forefinger with the indelible ink.
  • He/she will then proceed to record your serial number in the electoral roll in the Register of Voters.
  • Once this is recorded, you should sign in the appropriate column in the Register of Voters.
  • If you cannot sign, your thumb impression will be obtained.
  • Now, in case of election to only Lok Sabha: The Second Polling Officer will give you a signed voter’s slip.
  • In case of simultaneous elections to both Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assembly: The Third Polling Officer, who will be sharing the table with the Second Polling Officer, will give you two identical voter’s slips – one on white paper and the other on pink paper. He will then direct you to the Fourth Polling Officer.
  • The voter’s slip(s) will record your serial number in the register of voters and your serial number in the electoral roll.

Stage 3: Activation of Ballot Unit for the Lok Sabha Election

  • You should then proceed to the Third Polling Officer (in case of a single election) or Fourth Polling Officer (in case of simultaneous elections).
  • He will take the voter’s slip for Lok Sabha election issued to you by the Second Polling Officer (in case of election to only State Legislative Assembly /Lok Sabha) or Third Polling Officer (in case of simultaneous elections).
  • He will then press the "Ballot" button on the Control Unit of voting machine for the current Election, thus activating the Ballot Unit in the voting compartment for the current election.
  • He/she will then direct you to the voting compartment for the election.

Stage 4: Casting your vote on the Ballot Unit for the Lok Sabha Election

  • You should then record your vote on the ballot unit of the voting machine for the current election.
  • You should remember that each voter will proceed to the voting compartment in exactly the same sequence in which his/her serial number is recorded in the voters’ register.
  • In case of election to only Lok Sabha: The voting procedure ends here. You should then leave the polling station and clear way for other voters.
  • In case of simultaneous elections, proceed to Stage 5.

Stage 5: Activation of Ballot Unit for the Assembly Election

  • After casting your vote for the Lok Sabha election, you should proceed to the Fifth Polling Officer.
  • He will take the voter’s slip for Assembly Election issued to you by the Third Polling Officer.
  • He will then press the "Ballot" button on the Control Unit of voting machine for the Assembly Election, thus activating the Ballot Unit in the voting compartment for the Assembly election.
  • He/she will then direct you to the voting compartment for the Assembly election.

Stage 6: Casting your vote on the Ballot Unit for the Assembly Election

  • You should then record your vote on the ballot unit of the voting machine for the Assembly election
  • The voting procedure ends here. You should then leave the polling station and clear way for other voters.

Things to Remember while Inside the Voting Compartment

  • You should press the blue candidate button on the Balloting Unit against the name and symbol of the candidate of your choice.
  • You may also press the new None of the Above (NOTA) button at the end of the unit if you don’t want to vote for any candidate
  • You should press the button only once.
  • When you press the blue button, you should watch out for:
    • The red lamp glowing against the name and symbol of your candidate
    • The beep sound to indicate that your vote has been recorded
    • Simultaneously, the busy lamp in the Control Unit will go off.
    • With this, your vote is cast.

What if someone else has cast the vote in my name?

  • The First Polling Officer may tell you on arrival inside the polling station that your vote has already been cast
  • If this happens, you should inform this to the Presiding Officer immediately
  • The law allows you to cast a Tendered Vote
  • A Tendered Ballot Paper, as per Rule 49P of the Conduct of Elections Rules, will be given to you
  • If you choose to vote, you will be required to:
    • sign your name on the list of tendered votes
    • mark your choice of candidate with the help of Arrow Cross Mark rubber stamp on the ballot paper given to you
    • hand over the tendered ballot paper to the Presiding Officer
  • In this case, you will not cast your vote on the EVM
  • A Tendered Ballot Paper is the same as the ballot paper displayed on the balloting unit, except that it shall be endorsed on the back, with the words, “Tendered Ballot Paper” either stamped by the Returning or written by the Presiding Officer in hand at the time of issuing it.

NOTA - None of the Above is also a candidate now in election

On 27 September 2013, the Supreme Court of India ruled that the right to register a "none of the above" vote in elections should apply, and ordered the Election Commission to provide such a button in the electronic voting machines, noting that it would increase participation.NOTA image

The Election Commission of India has introduced a specific symbol, like other election symbols, for ‘None of the Above (NOTA)’ option, to facilitate the voters in exercising their NOTA option. This symbol will appear in the last panel on all Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and the others ballot papers against the ‘None of the Above (NOTA)’ option at all elections to be held.

The main objective of the ‘NOTA’ option is to enable electors who do not wish to vote for any of the candidates to exercise their right not to vote for any candidate without violation of the secrecy of their decision. In earlier times, eligible voters who want to reject all contesting candidates for a constituency had the option of filling Form 49-O at a voting booth but this compromised the secrecy of the ballot.

Source : Election Commission of India

Last Modified : 11/14/2023



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