Is Online Voting allowed in Indian General Elections 2019?

The polling for the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections 2019 is underway for 51 constituencies, spread over 7 States. As per Article 326 of the Indian Constitution, individuals, who are 18 years or above, are eligible to cast their votes and choose their leader.

To vote in the elections, citizens need to visit the designated polling booths. India does not allow online voting for any eligible voters, be it a general voter or an overseas one.

Use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs)

India has been using Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) since 1999 to conduct the polling. The EVM is an electronic device used for casting votes. It is more secure and transparent means of conducting the elections. Neither it can be corrupted nor modified in any possible way.

Why is there no online voting system in India?

Despite the fact that smartphones and internet usage in India has grown massively in recent years, there is still no option for voters to cast votes online. This could be supported by following reasons:

• Low Internet access in India
• Threats by hackers: Hackers can get into any system given the right quantity of time and money
• Impossible to recount the votes if found any glitches
• High traffic can affect the server and may slowdown the process

Clarification from Election Commission regarding fake news on online voting

The Election Commission of India (ECI) in February 2019 filed a complaint with the Delhi Police, asking it to track down those spreading fake news that NRIs can cast their vote online in the Lok Sabha Elections 2019.

The Commission issued a warning to voters after misleading social media posts claimed voters can take part in the election online.

The fake post was uploaded on the social media giants Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp and claimed that voters holding Indian passport can vote online for 2019 elections. The Election Commission’s logo was used on the post to mislead people.

The commission reiterated that there is no online voting facility for any category of voter. To cast the vote, overseas electors or voters need to visit designated Polling station with their Passports.

Who is an overseas elector or voter?

There are three types of voters in India - General Electors, Overseas Electors and Service Electors.

A General Elector is any Indian citizen who is 18 years of age and above. Overseas Electors are the Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) living abroad for work or education.

Service Electors are individuals that have service qualification. They are:

  • Member of the Armed Forces
  • Member of Assam Rifles, CRPF, BSF, ITBF; GREF in Border Road Organisation
  • Member of an Armed Police Force of a State, and serving outside that state; or
  • A person employed under the Government of India, serving outside India

The Service voters can use postal ballot services or cast a proxy vote.

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