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Source: The post is based on the article “EC’s proposal on allowing e-postal ballot for overseas Indian voters under discussion: Law Minister tells Rajya Sabha” published in The Hindu on 17th March 2023
What is the News?
The Minister of Law and Justice has informed that the Election Commission’s proposal to facilitate Electronically-Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) for overseas Indian voters is under discussions with the Ministry of External Affairs.
What is an Electronically-Transmitted Postal Ballot System(ETPBS)?
What are the measures taken to facilitate ETPBS for Overseas Indian Voters?
On the recommendation of the Election Commission, the Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, 2018 was passed by the Lok Sabha in August 2018. The Bill sought to enable overseas electors to cast their vote either in person or by proxy.
However, the bill lapsed when the 16th Lok Sabha was dissolved as it was pending in the Rajya Sabha.
Is the Postal Ballot system a viable means of voting?
The ETPBS method allowed for greater turnout among service voters in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
With the increasing mobility of citizens across countries for reasons related to work, the postal ballot method has been recognised as a means to allow overseas voters to exercise their right, subject to certain conditions normally related to the time spent abroad or the work carried out abroad.
Hence, a postal ballot mechanism that allows for proper authentication of the ballot at designated consular/embassy offices and an effective postal system should ease this process for NRIs.