State Election Commission, Jharkhand
Why should you vote & Who can vote ?
India is the largest democracy in the world. The right to vote and more importantly the exercise of franchise by the eligible citizens is at the heart of every democracy. We, the people, through this exercise of our right to vote have the ultimate power to shape the destiny of country by electing our representatives who run the local self Government and take decisions for the growth, development and benefit of all the citizens.
All citizens of India who are 18 years of age as on 1st January of the year for which the electoral roll is prepared are entitled to be registered as a voter in the constituency where he or she ordinarily resides. Only persons who are of unsound mind and have been declared so by a competent court or disqualified due to ‘Corrupt Practices’ or offences relating to elections are not entitled to be registered in the electoral rolls.
Do you have an Electors’ Photo Identity Card (EPIC) . Will possession of an EPIC alone entitle you to vote?
The Commission has made voter identification mandatory at the time of poll. The electors have to identify themselves with either Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC) issued by the Election Commission of India or any other documentary proof as prescribed by the Commission for the identification of electors.
You should note that mere possession of an EPIC issued to you does not guarantee you your vote, because it is mandatory that your name should appear in the electoral roll. Once you have found out that your name is there in the electoral roll and you also possess an identification document prescribed by the Election Commission (EPIC or others), you are entitled to vote.
What are the basic do’s and don’t’s as polling day approaches?
As a voter you should also know the aspects that are considered as corrupt practices or electoral offences:
(i) Offering or accepting money or any other gratification either to vote for or not to vote for a particular candidate.
(ii) Inducement by way of liquor, feast, gifts, etc. to vote for or not to vote for a particular candidate.
(iii) Inducement to vote or not to vote for a particular candidate on the grounds of religion, caste, community, sectarian beliefs or place of birth.
(iv) Threat to an elector of ex-communication if he votes for or against a particular candidate.
(v) Offer of free conveyance to any elector to go to or from any polling station.
What is the process of voting ? How do you go about it?
The poll date and hours are fixed by the State Election Commission and they are well publicized before all elections.
When you reach the polling station, entry will be regulated by queues. There will be separate queues for men and women voters and the physically handicapped persons. The persons who enforce the queues will allow 3-4 voters into the polling station at a time. Physically handicapped voters and women voters with babies in arm will be given precedence over the other voters in the queue.
Stage 1: When you enter the polling station, you will go to the First Polling Officer who is in-charge of the marked copy of the electoral roll and responsible for identification of electors. You should keep your identity document ready to show to the First Polling Officer. You can also show to him the unofficial identity slip giving your particulars. However, you should note that unofficial identity slip only helps in locating your name in the electoral roll but is not a guarantee of your identification. The First Polling Officer will then call out your name and serial number so that the polling agents become aware of your presence and your identity is not challenged. Thereafter, if your identity is not challenged, the First Polling Officer will mark your left forefinger with the indelible ink.
Stage 2: Thereafter, you will proceed to the Second Polling Officer. He will be the incharge of Ballot Paper for member of Gram Panchayat and Mukhiya. After verifying the indelible ink mark, the Second Polling Officer will provide you the ballot paper and get signature or thumb impression on the counterfoil.
Stage 3: You will then proceed to the Third Polling Officer who will be the incharge of Ballot Paper for member of Panchayat Samiti and Zila Parishad. After verifying the indelible ink mark, the Third Polling Officer will provide you the ballot paper and get signature or thumb impression on the counterfoil.
Stage 4: If Fourth Polling Officer is appointed on that polling station, he will be responsible for the look-after of the ballot boxes. He will check that folded ballots should be properly inserted in the ballot box.He will use wooden pusher to draw the ballots inside the box. If the Fourth Polling Officer is not appointed then the Presiding Officer will take the responsibility for the above work.
Stage 5: Voting Procedure. After getting all four ballot papers, you will have to enter the voting compartment and make your mandate by fixing rubber stamp before the name or the symbol of any candidate. The ballot paper will then be folded over and dropped inside the ballot box properly. This whole process is repeated for other voters till end of the poll.
You must remember that secrecy of voting is important. Every elector is expected to maintain the secrecy of voting and in case of failure to maintain secrecy the elector may not be permitted to vote. Any person who violates the secrecy, will be booked for an offence under Section 128 of Representation of People Act, 1951. You should, therefore, not disclose to any person who you have voted for. Similarly, if any election official attempts to obtain information on who you have voted for, it will amount to an offence committed by that official. Photography of a voter casting vote is prohibited. It may also be noted that no polling official or agent can come inside the voting compartment under the pretext of helping you to vote. You can, however, be permitted to take a companion of not less than 18 years with you for recording your vote, if for any physical infirmity you require such assistance.
What are the grievance redressal mechanisms available to you ?
If you have any grievance in regard to election related matter you may approach following
State Election Commissioner---------------- At the State Level
District Election Officer---------------At the District Level
Returning Officer-----------------------As per Notification
Presiding Officer-----------------------At Polling Station
(Detailed addresses etc. to be provided by the EC)
During every election, the Commission appoints Observers who are senior civil service officers from the state. If you have any grievances or problems, you should approach them.