Thursday, April 16, 2009

Election Basics: Voting myths

1 I can vote only from my place of birth/permanent residence

Not true! You can register to vote from any place in India so long as you're an eligible voter i.e. You're an Indian citizen. You're 18 years of age or older. You've been an ordinary resident, which means that you've been staying at your current address for at least 6 months (not 5 years, another myth!). You're not registered elsewhere.

2 I do not have sufficient proof of residence to register as a voter

Are you sure? Most voters, who think they lack necessary documents, actually do have them. Did you know that the house lease agreement, mobile or landline bills or your driver's license are all accepted types of address proof documents? Moreover, this document is required only for the BLO (Booth Level Officer) to come and verify your residence status. It is therefore not essential for the address proof document to directly have your name, but needs to only have the address of the place where you are staying. You can use address proof document on the name of your parents, relatives, friends etc. with whom you are staying.
Students, who are eligible voters, can register even from their hostels by submitting the Student Declaration Form signed by their college dean/principal/registrar along with the voter registration form.

3 Voter id card is essential for voting

This is one of the most common voting myths! Though voter identification is required by most states during voting, Voter ID card is not the only form of identification that is accepted. The Election Commission of India accepts most of the common documents as identity proof such as PAN card, driving license, ration card, student's ID card, passport etc. In any case, it's a good idea to get your Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC) since the Election Commission may make it mandatory in the future.
What is essential for voting however is that your name should be mentioned in the latest voters list of your constituency. How do you get to know that now? Simple, use our online voter search engine.

4 Registering to vote is a very cumbersome process

We would have agreed with you, but not anymore! Now you can easily register to vote on this website with the following steps: Fill out the online voter registration form on the Jaago Re! website ( It's easy and takes only 3 minutes! Take a printout of PDF form (4 pages) generated after you complete your online registration. Take the printout of the main voter registration form (2 pages) in back-to-back format and fill in other details (eg. name of family members already registered), if applicable Sign and submit this Form along with necessary address proof and identity proof document, at the office of your local Electoral Registration Officer (ERO). You will find this address and its location on your city map which you can see on the first page of the PDF form generated online. DO NOT forget to ask the receipt for your application. Confirm your form submission with Jaago Re! by messaging *"vote confirm" to 56767 from your mobile number, as registered under your profile. Once your address verification is completed by a government official (BLO), your name will be included in the next revision of voter lists for your city. We will track and confirm your status of voter registration by email and SMS, as soon as your city voter lists get revised!

5 The only 2 kinds of elections are parliamentry and assembly elections

As a registered voter you can vote in more than 2 elections! Besides Parliamentary and Assembly elections, you can also vote in your Local Body Elections or Municipal Elections (as called in cities).
India has a 3 tier federal structure with governments at the union, state and local levels. In cities, the Municipal Corporation is your Local Body or Local Government, and you can vote in Municipal Elections once every 5 years to elect your Corporator or Councilor. They in turn elect the municipal council and the mayor, who take all major decisions affecting your city.
To learn more about how your city's governance works, please visit your respective CITY page on this website. In villages, the Gram Panchayat functions as the Local Government with elections once every 5 years.
Additionally, if you are residing at Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra or Uttar Pradesh and belong either to Teacher's Constituency or Graduate Constituency, you are also eligible to vote for Legislative Council elections, to elect your MLC. top

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