The Election Commission of India issued the guidelines for registration and voting by citizens of India who are living abroad (also known as non-resident Indian (NRIs)) through letter No. 3/1/2010/SDR to the Chief Electoral Officers of all States/Union Territories and to the Foreign Secretary on February 14, 2011.
Any citizen of India who does not reside in the country because of employment, education, etc., has not acquired citizenship of any other country and is otherwise eligible to register as a voter in the address mentioned in his passport may enroll as an NRI or overseas elector.
A large number of India’s residents reside in abroad either temporarily or permanently, which would not enable them to be able to participate in the election process such as registration and voting, with the then prevailing law, requiring only citizens ordinarily residents within the territorial limits of a constituency in the country to be eligible as voters. With demands coming from different sectors of the NRIs, the Representation of the People Act, 1950 was amended, resulting to special provisions for citizens of India residing outside the country to be registered as electors in the electoral roll. The provisions of the Registration of Electors Rules, 1960 was, likewise, amended. The Form 6A was included for the application of the NRIs.
In order for the NRI to vote, he is allowed to vote in person at the polling station upon production of his original passport since an overseas elector is not issued an Electors’ Photo Identity Cards (EPIC). Alternatives options for voting are currently being studied for overseas electors.
Election Commission of India. (2014). Committe for Exploring Feasibility of Alternative Options for Voting by Overseas Electors.
NRI/Overseas Voters. (n.d.). Retrieved from Election Commission of India: http://ecisveep.nic.in/nri-voters.aspx
PDF : Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 2010
PDF : Registration of Electoral (Amendment) Rules, 2011
PDF : Form 6-A Application for inclusion of name in electoral roll by an overseas elector
PDF : Frequently Asked Questions: Overseas voter (ECI)
PDF : Nurturing Youth Active Citizenship in India: Report on a Stakeholder Consultation (Pravah and ICP: 2009)