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Voting System in India

Voting System in India

The constitution of India has conferred every citizen above 18 years of age the right to vote. Adult citizens directly elect the members of the Lok Sabha (MPs), Members of state legislative assembly (MLAs). Voters also vote for local bodies such as municipalities, municipal corporations, and Panchayati Raj justifications. Since the party winning a majority in the Lok Sabha elections forms the government, the voters of India actually choose the Prime Minister of the Country. The age to be an eligible voter was 21 before 1988. However, the Age has been lowered to 18 by an amendment to the constitution.

Process of Voting Registration

In order to participate in the voting process, a citizen has to register as a voter with the Election Commission of India. Below are the requirements for registering to vote:
● Should be an Indian citizen.
● Should have attained the age of 18 years on the qualifying date i.e. 1st of January of the year of revision of electoral roll.
● Is ordinarily resident of the part/polling area of the constituency where you want to be enrolled.
● Is not disqualified to be enrolled as an elector.

A person can register for Voter ID by offline and online methods.
Offline Mode of Voter Registration:
1) General voters need to fill out the form 6. First-time voters and the voters who have changed the constituency should fill this form. It can be obtained from the office of the Electoral Registration Officer free of cost.
2) Submit the duly filled form along with the photocopies of ID and Address proof, a passport-sized photograph, to the officer.
Online Mode of Voter Registration:
1) Fill out the form 6 available on
2) The documents and Photograph will either be collected from your house or you will have to submit to the nearest election office depending on the locality.
It should be noted that the process of Voter Registration Speeds Up during the election season. Therefore it is advisable to apply for a voter ID before any general/state election.

Voting rights of Criminals

India is one of the few countries that does not allow prisoners to Vote. Under Section 62(5) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, individuals in the lawful custody of the police and those serving a sentence of imprisonment after a conviction cannot vote. Petitions have been filed against this and some activists are trying for the prisoners to vote in India.

Non-Resident Indians (NRI)

In order to qualify as a voter, the person must reside in a particular constituency. Thus, NRIs are prohibited from participating in the voting process, except in one case. If the NRI happens to be an Indian citizen employed under the Government of India and is currently posted overseas, he or she may get registered as a voter. However, NRIs can register as a voter from being outside of India. The person has to fill out form 6A and send it via post or can apply online as mentioned above.

Use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs)

EVMs were introduced by the Election Commission in 1981 in a small district of Kerala. The machines require only a single press of a button to cast the vote, reducing manifold both the time taken to conduct the poll and the time required to process and declare results. Their use has brought about a sea change in the way elections are conducted in India. However, as various Public Interest Litigations (PILs) have argued, the machines are not tamper-proof and may be easily manipulated.

To overcome these limitations, the Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system has been adopted, which shows a printout of the vote just cast by the voter, confirming that the vote was counted in favor of the party intended. This paper trail can later be used to verify the data obtained through the machines, should a case of suspicion arise.

Who can Vote in Presidents Election

The election of the President of India is quite complicated. The Members of the Parliament (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) and the Member of the State Legislative Assemblies (MLAs) participate in the voting. The members nominated by the president in the parliament or the members nominated in the state legislative assemblies by the governors do not participate in the voting.

Unlike the Lok Sabha elections where one person has one vote, the electors participating in the presidential elections have a voting value of hundreds. For eg. in UP, one MLAs votes will be valued as 208. This number is decided by a formula and is based on the population of the state. This is to ensure that states get equal participation in the presidential elections. The formula is as follows:

For, No of Votes per MLA = (Total Population of state/ No. of MLAs)/(1000)

For, No of Votes per MP = (Total No of Votes assigned to MLAs)/(Total No of MPs)

The MLAs and MPs are given a ballot paper that has the names of participating candidates. The electors are required to mention their preference for the candidate on the paper. The candidate who gets 1st preference from the elector gets votes from him.

The candidate who gets more votes than a certain quota wins the presidential election. The quota is decided by adding up the votes polled for each candidate, dividing the sum by 2, and adding '1' to the quotient.

Who can Vote in Rajya Sabha Elections

The common people of India do not participate in the Rajya Sabha elections. The representatives of the States and of the Union Territories in the Rajya Sabha are elected by the method of indirect election. The representatives of each State and two Union territories are elected by the elected members of the Legislative Assembly of that State and by the members of the Electoral College for that Union Territory, as the case may be, in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote. To win a Rajya Sabha seat, a candidate should get a required number of votes. That number (quotient) is found out using the below formula. Quotient= (Total votes of the assembly/No of Rajya Sabha seats)+1

For example: If there are 4 Rajya Sabha seats for a state and the number of elected MLAs is 140. Then the quotient i.e. the number of votes required for a person to win the election would be:
Quotient= (140/4)+1= 36 Votes.

Members don’t vote for each seat. If that had been the case then only the ruling party representatives would make it through. Rather, the members give preferences for each candidate (as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6). If 36 or more members choose a candidate as their first choice, he gets elected. So the Party B (opposition party in State assembly) with 40 seats can get one member elected if the members give preference for a candidate as first preference. The ruling party (Party A) on the other hand can get 2 members elected (72 votes from their 100 members).

Who can Vote in Lok Sabha Elections

India has adopted to adult franchise model of voting. It means that a person who is over 18 years of age can participate in the voting. The adults of India vote for the Lok Sabha elections. A candidate is elected from each parliamentary constituency. The party having more than half the strength of MPs in the Lok Sabha wins the elections, and these MPs choose their leader. This leader then becomes the Prime Minister of India.

Last Updated on April 25, 2020