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Introduction

India is the world’s largest democracy and has millions of people as its citizens. The democratic nature of the nation has resulted in numerous political parties being formed across the country. Elections tend to be an elaborate affair in India and also a very integral part of democracy. Elections in India are held once every 5 years. Since elections involve a very large part of the population, they are never an easy affair. To ensure smooth and fair elections, the Election Commission of India has introduced the system of Voter ID cards.

Voter ID is a photo identity card that is issued by the Election Commission of India to all individuals who are eligible to vote. The main purpose of this card is to improve the accuracy of the electoral roll and to help prevent cases of electoral fraud. For individuals, it also serves as an identification proof when they need to cast their vote. This card is also commonly known by other names such as an election card, voter’s card, Voter ID, etc.

Voter ID card is a document which ascertains your identity as an adult citizen of the country and is primarily used in casting one’s vote in municipal, state, and general elections. It is issued by the Election Commission and can be used for general identity, address, and age proof for other purposes such as buying a mobile phone SIM card or applying for a passport.

Voter ID Card Details

A voter ID card is a widely accepted document for personal identification in India. It facilitates the holder of the card to cast his or her vote during an election and also acts as an identity proof and address proof for a variety of purposes. This card is issued by the Election Commission of India to all eligible Voters and comprises the following fields:

  • A hologram sticker.
  • Serial number.
  • Photograph of the cardholder.
  • Name of elector/card holder.
  • Card holder’s parent’s Name.
  • Card holder’s gender.
  • Elector’s / card holder’s age as on the date of issue of the card.
  • Elector/card holder’s complete residential address is mentioned on the rear side of the card, along with the signature of the issuing authority.

How to Apply for a Voter ID Card?

Individuals can apply for their voter ID either online, offline or through semi-online methods.

Steps for Online, Partially Online and Offline Application:

OnlinePartially OnlineOffline
Applicant must visit the national voter’s service portal (NSVP) websiteApplicant must visit the national voter’s service portal (NSVP) websiteApplicants must visit the nearest State Election office and request for Form 6.
Click relevant option to register new voter idDownload ‘form 6’ and fill the form with relevant details.Fill ‘form 6’ with necessary details and provide all supporting documents such as Identity proof, address proof etc. The applicant may submit the completed form to the respective election office.
The online ‘form 6’ will open and applicants fill in all the details form 6 and submit the form Additionally, the applicant must upload a photo and supporting documents concerning Voter ID Status.Submit the completed form 6 along with a photo and supporting documents at an Election Office near you by either post or in person.Post verification of form, Voter ID will be issued.

Documents Required for Voter ID

Voter ID is only issued after necessary verification of all documents and details provided by the applicant. Applying for a Voters ID requires you to submit the following documents:

  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of address
  • Photograph

Eligibility Criteria for Voter ID

To be eligible for a Voter ID card, individuals must meet the following criteria:

  • Applicant must be an Indian citizen
  • Applicant must be above 18 years of age
  • Applicant must have a permanent address within the country
  • However, applicants who belong to any specified special category and who are financially bankrupt, (even if they are above 18 years of age) are not eligible to apply for a Voter Id card.

Process to Register for Voter ID

Applicants can register for a Voter ID by following the steps mentioned in the application process, online or office. Applicants can register themselves as voters by procuring Form 6 and filling up the form. This form will have to be submitted either online or at one of the Electoral Offices along with the necessary documents. Once everything has been verified, customers will receive their Voter ID by post. Customers are advised to check their Voter ID for mistakes once they receive this document to prevent issues later on.

Online Registration - The online registration process for a Voter ID is much simpler and easier compared to filling up complex forms and waiting in the queue for hours. An individual can visit the website of Election Commission of India (ECI) and follow a few steps to apply for a Voter ID Card. Many Indian citizens are still not aware of this facility. When you choose the traditional method of the application process, chances are you will discover spelling or numerical mistakes in your Voter ID at a later stage. The online application is far superior, faster, and a simpler method of application that lets you track the status as well. The Voter ID is a necessity for the upcoming assembly elections. If you do not have a Voter ID card, you can follow these instructions for the application procedure:

  • Visit the National Voters' Services Portal's website http://www.nvsp.in/
  • Choose Form 6 from the ‘Forms for registration in E-Roll’ option on the left side of the screen
  • Under ‘National Services’ Click on ‘Apply online for registration of new voter’
  • Choose the name of the State and Assembly Constituency based on your locality
  • Enter your Personal Details:
    • Name
    • Gender
    • Date of Birth
    • Place of Birth
    • Father’s/Mother’s/ Husband’s Name
    • Address
    • Family member’s details (if they already have a Voter ID Card)
  • Provide a scanned copy of the following documents:
    • Your photograph
    • Identity proof
    • Address proof
  • Enter the Declaration Details:
  • Click ‘Save’ to continue with the edits later or ‘Submit’

Once you complete your application, you will be given an application reference ID. You will need to make a note of the ID to track the status of your application. You will also receive a text message with the ID for your reference. Post successful application, verification will be carried out by the ECI's representative to approve your application.

Check Application Status for Voter ID

Applicants can track the status of their application on the website of the State Election Commission. All Indians states have a State Election Commission, which means that every state has an official CEO website. On this website, applicants can track the status of their Voter’s ID application. To track the status, they can follow the below steps:

  • Visit the electoral CEO official website.
  • Click on ‘Know the Status of Your Application for Enrolment'. A separate window will open asking for some basic details of the form such as the Form number.
  • You can also apply on the National Voters’ Services Portal and click on ‘Search your Name in an electoral roll’. When the link opens, you will get 2 options to track your application:
    • First Option – Write and submit the application number or EPIC number and state number. This will help you get your EPIC card number.
    • Second Option – Submit some details to get your Voter ID card status. You have to enter the following details:
      • Name
      • Date of birth
      • Gender
      • State
      • Father’s name
      • District constituency

Applicants can also use their reference id to track their application status on the National Voters’ Services Portal. If you haven’t received the Voter ID Card or any notification, please follow the steps to check the status:

  • Visit - NVSP Online Application Status Portal
  • Enter your reference number for online application (received while submitting form 6)
  • Click ‘Track Status’
  • You will see the status of your application

If the voter id verification process is taking the time and you haven’t received the card after the application, you are recommended to visit the DEO with your reference number.

Verification of Voter ID by Applicant

Fake or defunct Voter Id cards are quite prevalent in India. These cards have little or no reliability and cannot be used by an individual to cast a vote. However, these cards are often misused for other purposes where personal identification is required, for instance, to purchase a SIM card.

In case an applicant suspects his voter ID to be fake or defunct, he or she can verify the same both online or offline by using their Voter ID number. They will have to visit the official website of the Chief Electoral Officer of their state, and click on the relevant link, provide their Voter ID details. By doing so, they can check if their name is present in the electoral roll. This can also be done offline wherein customers can repeat the above procedure at the Election Commission’s Office. Customers are also advised to ensure that they have their Application number that they would have received at the time of applying for their Voter ID, in case they wish to verify certain details at a later date.

Amendments in Voter ID

A Voter ID card has details such as the name of the holder, address, etc. The number of voters in a particular constituency is reflected in the electoral roll, and any mistakes which are in your card are likely to show up in the list as well. Individuals who wish to change/correct their name in their voter ID can do so by making use of certain forms which the ECI has created.

If your name is incorrect in the Voter ID, all you need to do is fill out Form 8, highlighting the corrections to be made in your voter ID. This form needs to be submitted along with relevant supporting documents to the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) of your assembly constituency. Once submitted, the ERO will take relevant steps to ensure corrections are incorporated into your voter ID. The form can be downloaded from the official website of the Election Commission of India, or one could request changes by submitting it online as well.

Voting Without Voter ID

To be eligible to vote in India, a person has to register himself or herself as a registered voter. The person can either register for the same offline or can visit the election commission website and get registered there. If the person is already a registered voter, then he or she can vote without the voter ID card. The following list of documents are accepted in case the person does not have his or her voter ID:

  • Passport
  • Driving license
  • Service Identity Cards with photographs issued to employees by Central, State Govt, Public Sector Undertakings, Public Limited Companies.
  • Passbooks with Photograph issued by Bank or Post Office
  • PAN card
  • Aadhar card
  • Smart Card issued by Registrar General of India (RGI) under the National Population Register
  • Pension order with a photo
  • MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act Job Card
  • Health Insurance Smart Card issued under the scheme of the Ministry of Labour

NRI Voter ID

Non-resident Indians can also exercise their right to vote. NRIs can apply online, or offline if they are in India and get their Voter IDs issued. NRIs have to be present in the country and their constituency to cast their vote and cannot do it remotely as of now.

Importance of Voter ID

The Voter ID card is important for every Indian citizen for a variety of reasons:

  • Proof of Identity – Indian citizens can use the Voter ID as a valid form of identification proof. The Voter ID card is accepted at various offices and institutions that require the individual to furnish a valid form of identification, like insurance companies, online travel companies, gas companies, banks, etc. Also, almost all government-run agencies, insurance providers, claim firms, mortgage providers like banks ask applicants to provide a Voter ID number to process their request.
  • Casting Votes – The Voter ID card is crucial to cast your vote during any election. If you hold a valid Voter ID card and your name is present in the electoral roll of your local area, you can cast your vote.
  • Registration in Electoral Roll Of A Non-Domicile State – The Voter ID allows individuals to register their name in the electoral roll of a state other than their state of domicile. This is especially helpful if a person has migrated from another state and wishes to enrol in the electoral list of his local area/constituency.
  • The card acts as a commonly accepted form of a personal identity document.
  • The Voter ID Card acts as an acknowledgement that the cardholder is a registered voter.
  • The card includes several identification features like the applicant’s signature, photograph, fingerprints, etc., which provide added assurance for the cardholder.
  • In case of an election, the card carries provisions (by way of marking) to prevent the holder from voting multiple times.
  • The Voter ID card can be designed to suit the electoral requirements of a population with a low literacy population.
  • It is especially helpful as a form of identification for voters with no fixed address.

Important Points to Remember While Applying for Voter ID

Voter ID is needed by Indian citizens to enable them to carry out their voting duty. Voting is the foundation of a democratic country and every individual must do so. Here are some of the important aspects to keep in mind before applying for a voter ID.

  • Applicants will have to be above the age of 18 as it is legally impossible for them to vote otherwise.
  • They should be of sound mind and should not be bankrupt.
  • They should fill out the relevant forms such as Form 6 for application and ensure that they provide relevant original documents.
  • Individuals should apply for a Voter ID only through government websites or centres or those that have been approved by the government, else they might just receive a fake document.
  • Individuals should ensure that all details in their application forms are correct, such as the spelling of their name, birth date and so on. If this is not corrected in the beginning, their Voter ID will have the wrong information printed on it.
  • Applicants should also ensure that the information that is being provided is legally correct and is not fake.
  • Once applicants receive their Voter ID, they will have to check the document to see if all the information is correct.

Importance of Voting

Every Indian citizen has the right to vote during elections and as citizens living in a democratic society, voting is important in maintaining the tenets of this type of rule. Voting ensures that the leader at the centre or state is someone who is trusted by citizens and is believed to be capable by all citizens. The voting process is carried out in different stages, right from panchayat elections to the elections conducted to choose a Prime Minister for the country.

To vote, citizens must be eligible. In India, citizens above the age of 18 can vote, regardless of caste and gender. In addition to this, they must also possess a Voter ID without which they cannot vote. This is a document that serves as an Identity proof as well as Address proof. However, these cards are not issued to those who are bankrupt or mentally challenged.

FAQs

1. Can I apply for Voter ID online?

The steps to apply for a voter ID online are as follows:

  • Log on to the official website of Election Commission of India (ECI).
  • Next, click on the option “Apply online for registration of new voters”.
  • Provide the details asked and attach the required documents.
  • Click on the ‘submit’ option

2. How long does it take to get a voter ID?

It takes about 5 to 7 weeks for the applicant to receive the voter ID after applying for one.

3. Can I change my constituency in voter ID?

To change the constituency, fill Form 8A. You can either submit the form online or offline to the electoral office near you.

4. Can I change my voter registration address online?

Yes, the voter registration address can be changed online.

5. Can I download a soft copy of my voter ID?

No, a soft copy of the voter ID cannot be downloaded.

6. Can a non-Citizen of India become a voter?

A person who is a Non-Resident Indian is eligible to vote in the elections.

7. How long does it take to change the address in voter ID?

It usually takes 2 to 3 weeks for the changes to be made in the voter ID after the applicant has applied for the changes.

8. How can I cancel my voter ID?

To cancel your voter ID, you must go to the NVSP website and fill Form 7.

End Note

The ECI has made voter identification mandatory at the time of polls. Therefore, you have to show your Voter ID Card issued by the ECI or any other documentary proof allowed by the ECI to be able to vote. Also, having your Voter ID Card does not mean that you will be allowed to vote, your name must appear in the electoral rolls.

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