Apoorva Joshi

PhD student - Information and Media; Environmental Science and Policy @Michigan State University

Independent journalist -

Environment, Science, International

Vote by Special Ballot for Indian Citizens living abroad

Disclaimer: As an Indian citizen and an educated individual I understand the importance of voting in a democratic country that is currently under siege - being held hostage by corrupt officials on every level, in every department. I believe a Special Ballot vote will empower those of us who have the inclination but not the means to vote to contribute to India's holistic progress. It may not necessarily make a huge difference overnight, but give it time. The number of Indians living abroad is increasing every year and if the trend continues, the Special Ballot might someday prove to be a game changer. Personally, I believe it's more important to recognize our own individual responsibility in signing this petition rather than second guessing the system and going by "statistics". New Delhi stunned us this year by electing Arvind Kejriwal and although I may not necessarily agree with his methods, I believe he is proof that India WANTS change. We want to improve but we want to see someone else pick up the jhaadoo before us.

Why not cast aside that skepticism this one time and just believe? If not in the system, in yourself?

If you are an Indian Citizen living abroad and endorse a Special Ballot for those like yourself, so you can have a say in what happens, however small or big, this petition might be worth your attention.

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/vote-by-special-ballot-for-the-indian-citizens-living-a.html


Vote by Special Ballot for Indian Citizens living abroad Petition

___________________________________________________________________

Petition Background (Preamble):

Shri V.S. Sampath,
Chief Election Commissioner of India
Nirvachan Sadan, New Delhi

Dear Sir,

We the concerned citizens of India currently living abroad for work/study, with this letter we would like convey our modest concerns regarding the possibility of voting for Indian citizens living abroad.

Thanks to the the “Representation of the people (Amendment) Act – 2010” - which allows the eligible Non-Resident Indian (NRI) citizens to vote in India, However they have to be physically present in their respective constituency on Elections day to cast their vote.

As you are aware that there are millions of Indian citizens living abroad [out of which even if we assume about 20% would like to travel to India in day/week of general elections, The current flights/transport system would not be sufficient transport millions of passengers to India for General Elections. Also, it is a costly affair considering the travel charges and hence most of the citizens living abroad feel discouraged to utilize their vote.

Media statement in February 2011 by Honorable Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs, mentioned as follows “that online voting and postal balloting would not be available now. It is up to the Election Commission to decide on these” [ref: http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/article1155815.ece]

Hence, we request Election Commission to decide on the “Special Ballot Postal/Online Voting” options for the eligible Indian citizens residing in abroad at the earliest, which encourages the millions of Indian citizens to participate in the elections and also adds more value to our democratic setup.

Sir, also it is worth noting down here that the countries such as Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Philippines and the United Kingdom etc have already has “postal ballot” for their citizens abroad. Below are links for reference [which are available on public domain]

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Governmentcitizensandrights/UKgovernment/Politicalpartiesandelections/DG_073241
http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=vot&dir=faq&document=faqvoting&lang=e#a2

http://travel.state.gov/travel/living/overseas_voting/overseas_voting_4754.html#Registration

We are proud that ours is the largest democratic nation in the world; please extend the feasible voting option for the citizens of our great nation.

Sincerely,
Pravasi Bharat

Copy to:
The President of India
The Prime Minister of India
The Leader of Opposition, Loksabha
The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs

Petition:

We, the undersigned, Request the Election Commission of India to introduce special ballot for the Indian Citizens living abroad.

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