NRIs in South Africa told to sign up as overseas electors: EC

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Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra urged Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) to register as overseas electors and told them about a proposal on postal ballots for NRIs being contemplated during a recent visit to South Africa and Mauritius, the Election Commission (EC) said on Friday.

An EC delegation led by Mr. Chandra visited South Africa and Mauritius from April 9 to 19 and interacted with groups of NRIs, apart from holding meetings with election management bodies of the countries, the statement said.

“During the interaction with members of the Indian community, the CEC urged them to register as overseas voters as the present numbers are abysmally low. He also shared with the members that extension of Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) facility to overseas voters is being contemplated,” the EC said.

In meetings with NRI groups, Mr. Chandra spoke of the experience of conducting elections in India, which has 950 million voters in over 1 million polling stations.

Mr. Chandra’s visit and interactions with NRIs came after Law Minister Kiren Rijiju informed the Lok Sabha in March that the government was exploring the possibility of allowing online voting for NRIs.

The EC had written to the Law Ministry in 2020 proposing NRIs be allowed to vote through postal ballots, following which the matter has been under consideration by the government.

While the EC at present allows NRIs to register as overseas electors as long as they have not acquired the citizenship of another country, they have to reach their respective polling booths to cast their votes in person on voting day.



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