Decision 2011 – On voting, 49-O and tender ballot

“Decisions are made by who show up”- The West Wing, Season 1 , Episode 22

April 13, 2011 is one such decision day. One of the crucial elections in TN in recent times.  So do go, vote and make yourself heard.

EVERY VOTE COUNTS. EVERY VOTE COUNTS. EVERY VOTE COUNTS.

Here are some useful FAQs from the Election Commission website for the election:

Source: http://elections.tn.nic.in/faq.htm

1) How to check your name in the electoral rolls and to find the polling station where you have to go to vote?

As an elector you should immediately check whether your name has been included in the electoral roll of the constituency where you reside or not. You can find out this information from the Electoral Registration Officer of your area. Electoral Rolls in all major cities have now been displayed on official websites also.

For TN elections you can check the electoral rolls at this site: http://elections.tn.nic.in/

2) What is the process of voting? How do you go about it?

1. The poll date and hours are fixed by the Election Commission of India and they are well publicized before all elections.

2. When you reach the polling station, entry will be regulated by queues. There will be separate queues for men and women voters and the physically handicapped persons. The persons who enforce the queues will allow 3-4 voters into the polling station at a time. Physically handicapped voters and women voters with babies in arm will be given precedence over the other voters in the queue.

3. Stage 1: When you enter the polling station, you will go to the First Polling Officer who is in-charge of the marked copy of the electoral roll and responsible for identification of electors. You should keep your identity document ready to show to the First Polling Officer. You can also show to him the unofficial identity slip giving your particulars. However, you should note that unofficial identity slip only helps in locating your name in the electoral roll but is not a guarantee of your identification. The First Polling Officer will then call out your name and serial number so that the polling agents become aware of your presence and your identity is not challenged.

4. Stage 2: Thereafter, if your identity is not challenged, you will proceed to the Second Polling Officer who will mark your left forefinger with the indelible ink. Thereafter, he will proceed to record your serial number in the electoral roll in the Register of Voters. Once this is recorded, you are to sign in the appropriate column in the Register of Voters. If a voter cannot sign, his/her thumb impression will be obtained. The Second Polling Officer will then give you a signed voter’s slip which will record your serial number in the register of voters and your serial number in the electoral roll.

5. Stage 3: You will then proceed to the Third Polling Officer who will take the voter’s slip issued to you by the Second Polling Officer. The Third Polling Officer will press the “Ballot” button on the Control Unit of voting machine and direct you to the voting compartment where you will record your vote on the balloting unit of the voting machine. Please note that each voter will proceed to the voting compartment in exactly the same sequence in which his/her serial number is recorded in the voters’ register.

6. Stage 4: Voting Procedure.

  • Inside the voting compartment, you are to press the blue candidate button on the Balloting Unit against the name and symbol of the candidate of your choice.
  • Press the button only once.
  • On the candidate button being pressed, the red lamp will glow against the name and symbol of that candidate.
  • There will also be a beep sound heard to indicate that your vote has been recorded and the Busy lamp goes off in the Control Unit.
  • This process is repeated for other voters till end of the poll.

7. You must remember that secrecy of voting is important. Every elector is expected to maintain the secrecy of voting and in case of failure to maintain secrecy the elector may not be permitted to vote. Any person who violates the secrecy, will be booked for an offence under Section 128 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. You should, therefore, not disclose to any person who you have voted for. Similarly, if any election official attempts to obtain information on who you have voted for, it will amount to an offence committed by that official. Photography of a voter casting vote is prohibited. It may also be noted that no polling official or agent can come inside the voting compartment under the pretext of helping you to vote. You can, however, be permitted to take a companion of not less than 18 years with you for recording your vote, if for any physical infirmity you require such assistance.

3) (49-O) Can you decline to cast your vote at the last stage?

The law enables a voter to decline casting his vote at the last stage. If you decide not to cast your vote after having signed on the Register of Voters and after having received the voters’ slip from the Second Polling Officer, you must inform the Presiding Officer immediately. He will then take back the voters’ slip from you and proceed to record in the remarks column of the Register of Voters that you have declined to exercise your franchise and you will be required to put your signature under such entry. After this is done, you can leave the polling station without proceeding to the Voting Compartment.

4) What happens when your vote is challenged?

In case your identity as a voter is challenged by a polling agent of any candidate, on the ground that you are not the person whose name is listed on the rolls, the Presiding Officer will ask the challenger to give evidence in proof, of his challenge. Similarly, he will ask you for proof of your identity. You can use your EPIC or any other supporting document like Passport, Ration Card etc. for this purpose. If the challenge is not established, you will be allowed to vote. However, if challenge is established, you will be debarred from voting and handed over to the police with a written complaint by the Presiding Officer.

5) What happens if someone else has cast the vote in your name?

1. If the First Polling Officer tells you on arrival inside the polling station that your vote has already been cast, bring this to the attention of the Presiding Officer immediately. The law allows you to cast a Tendered Vote. A Tendered Ballot Paper, as per Rule 49P of the Conduct of Elections Rules, will be given to you and you will be required to sign your name on the list of tendered votes. A tendered ballot paper is the same as the ballot paper displayed on the balloting unit, except that it shall be endorsed on the back, with the words, “Tendered Ballot Paper” either stamped by the Returning Officer or written by the Presiding Officer at the time of issuing it.

2. After marking your choice of candidate with the help of Arrow Cross Mark rubber stamp you should hand over the tendered ballot paper to the Presiding Officer, who will keep it in a separate cover. Please note that in such case, you will not cast your vote on the EVM.

(Picture Source: http://www.erepublik.com/en/article/-presidential-election-a-new-journey-ahead-1233685/1/20)

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