Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPB)
- Election commission of India (EC) ready to allow postal ballots for non-resident Indians (NRIs)
- EC told Ministry of Law and Justice that it is technically and administratively ready to extend the Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) to NRI voters for elections next year in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala etc
- Currently, NRIs who holds an Indian passport can vote in his/her hometown after registering as an Overseas Voter.
- There are about 3.1 crore NRIs living in different countries.
- Under ETPBS, the postal ballot is dispatched electronically and returned via ordinary mail and it is currently only available to service voters like a member of the armed Forces, a person employed by the government outside India etc.
- To extend ETPBS to overseas voters, the government only needs to amend the Conduct of Election Rules 1961. It doesn’t require Parliament’s nod.
- Earlier, Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, 2017 that proposed to extend proxy voting to overseas Indians lapsed on the dissolution of 16th Lok Sabha.
There are 3 categories of electors in India:
- General electors: Regular residents who have attained the age of 18 years on the qualifying date.
- Oversees electors: NRIs with an Indian passport.
- Service Electors: like a member of the Armed Forces, the person employed by government