NRI voting rights – Election Commission initiates process

NRIssuesThe Election Commission has begun the process for amending the Representation of the People Act of 1951, in order to grant proxy voting rights to NRIs and possibly e-balloting for armed forces personnel. The Commission has set up a committee to suggest amendments to the Act and submit a report by Feb 23. The EC and law ministry are clear that the Act will have to be amended to extend the facility of an alternative voting option for some 1 million NRI voters. Last year officials from the Commission, law ministry and ministry of external affairs recommended proxy voting for NRI voters. It also recommended that NRI voters be sent blank ballot papers electronically so they can return it to poll authorities physically.