The objective of the survey is to study and determine the registration and participation rates among overseas electors. The unique survey, launched by ECI in collaboration with Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) will help in gathering opinions and voting preferences of Overseas Indians. The survey shall help in not only identifying information gaps but also in finding the preferred methods of voting which can subsequently be shared with the Government and Legislators. The link may be seen at www.everyvotecounts.in.
Apart from the survey, ECI has also launched an online competition, as a part of the initiative, to engage with the target population and seek their contribution to the cause – ‘Every Indian Vote counts’. Under the competition, participants can upload their original entries in categories like Slogans, Songs, Posters, Photographs, Essays and Short Film and Audio Visual formats. The winning entries will get round trip to India and a lifetime chance to be honoured by the Election Commission of India on National Voters’ Day, 25th January 2017 in New Delhi.
The survey shall run through the month of November-December 2016 while the online Competition will run through the month of November. Dr Nasim Zaidi, Chief Election Commissioner in his message to overseas Indians said “I invite you to join this historic initiative of the Election Commission of India (ECI) for expanding the frontiers of electoral participation. In our constitutional scheme of government by the people, ‘every voice matters’, ‘every Indian vote counts’. We systematically want to address additional challenges that our overseas citizens might face for which we, in partnership with Tata Institute of Social Sciences, are conducting an online survey to first understand these challenges so as to design our interventions accordingly. We invite you to enrich the process of our communication with the overseas citizens of this country. We would be delighted to feature your ideas in our Overseas Voters Campaign. We believe that the citizens must create a dialogue of their own to foster a vibrant democracy. Thus, join us in ensuring that “No Voter is left behind’. Let your voice be heard; express your creativity, share your dreams with fellow citizens and learn more.”
The provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1950 was amended w.e.f. 10.02.2011 to make special provisions for citizens of India residing outside the country to get enrolled as an elector in the constituency in which his/her place of residence in India as mentioned in his passport is located.
Despite there being 11.4 million non-resident Indians across the world, at present only around 16000 of them are registered on the electoral roll as Overseas Indian electors. Election Commission of India is now taking up steps to reach out to the overseas Indians so that they get enrolled and also vote in elections in their respective constituencies.