Elections' Myth vs. Reality

13 Apr 2024  Read 2911 Views

You might have heard the news that Linking Voter ID to Aadhaar is now "compulsory," and failing to do so will result in the voter's name being removed from the voter list.

Well, that's not true. The rules for Registration of Electors have made the submission of Aadhar Card details "voluntary" for registration of E-Roll, which requires details of the Aadhaar number to authenticate new voters. No entry in the voter list shall be deleted on the grounds of non-submission of the Aadhar Card.  

Such myths and disinformation about elections often create confusion and make it hard for us to understand the truth. Let's debunk these myths and uncover the truth behind India's electoral process through this blog.

Myth: A Voter ID is a must to Vote.

Reality: The Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC), often called the Voter ID card, is issued by the Election Commission of India (ECI) and acts as a form of identity proof for Indian citizens during elections. Nevertheless, if voters don't have their Voter ID, they can still vote by providing alternative identification documents at the polling station, such as an Aadhar card, PAN, Driving License, Passbook with photograph issued by the Bank/Post Office, etc.

It's important to note that having a Voter ID or any other identity document is not sufficient if the person's name is not on the electoral rolls. Being listed in the voter list (electoral roll) is a must to cast a vote.

Myth: If somebody else cast my vote wrongfully, then I can't vote.

Reality: Under the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, the provision of "tendered vote" is provided. According to this, if a person learns that somebody else has cast his vote at the polling station, the Presiding Officer, after verifying the person's identity and receiving satisfactory answers to questions, will provide them with a tendered ballot paper to allow them to cast their vote. 

Myth: Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) can be Hacked.

Reality: 'Hacking' is unauthorised access to or control over computer network security systems for some illicit purpose.

In the case of EVMs, 'Hacking' is not possible for the following reasons:

  • The EVM is a stand-alone machine and is not connected to any network through wire or wirelessly.
  • The software is one-time programable, and the microcontroller can neither be read nor modified.

Common Election Myths

Also read- Judgement on Electoral Bonds Scheme 2024

Myth: EVM memory can be manipulated.

Reality: There's also a claim that voting data can be changed by attaching a Memory Manipulator IC to the memory chip where Vote data is stored. However:

  • Access to Control Units after polling is restricted, making this not possible since EVMs are kept under administrative safeguard.
  • Strong rooms have double security layers, CCTV coverage, and candidate representatives' monitoring, preventing tampering.
  • The memory chip is within the microcontroller inside the UADM. Any attempt to open the UADM will send the EVM into Factory Mode.

Myth: A person under Preventive Detention can't vote.

Reality: A person in preventive detention can vote, as per Section 62(5) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which allows them to vote by post under Rule 18 of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961. 

However, individuals in prison or under police custody cannot vote in elections.

Myth: An NRI settled in a foreign country can't become a voter in India.

Reality: Non-resident Indians (NRIs) who are not citizens of another country, are away from their usual residence in India for work, education, or other reasons, and are not listed in the electoral roll can register in the electoral roll of their Indian residence as per their passport.

According to Section 20A of the Representation of People Act, 1950, an NRI settled in a foreign land can become an elector in the electoral roll in India.

Check out the Supreme Court's 2023 Important Judgements.

Myth: Polling stations are not accessible or are located on the first/ upper floor, which makes them difficult for PwDs to access.

Reality: The Election Commission has instructed Chief Electoral Officers of State/UT to ensure that all Polling Stations are situated on the ground floor, accessible via a well-maintained access road, with proper pathways and signage leading to them, and equipped with ramps of suitable gradient for Persons with Disabilities (PwD) voters.

Myth: Homeless people can not vote.

Reality: A person without a permanent home, without any proof of residence, can still register as a voter. The Booth Level Officer visits the address given in Form 6 at night to confirm the person's residence. If the Officer confirms that the person sleeps at that location, no additional proof is needed. The Officer checks the address multiple nights for accuracy.

You should also read How to Vote for Election 2024.

Conclusion

By knowing the truth behind the myths, we can gain a better understanding of our electoral processes. Every vote counts, and every eligible citizen has the right to participate in shaping our democracy. Let's stay informed and debunk misinformation!

About the Author: Anirudh Nikhare | 42 Post(s)

Anirudh did his Bachelor's in Law and has practical experience in IPR, Contracts, and Corporate. He is your go-to legal content writer turning head-scratching legal topics into easy-to-understand gems of wisdom. Through his blog, he aims to empower readers with knowledge, making legal concepts digestible and applicable to everyday life.

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