Taking stock of over 70,000 registered overseas electors for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, over 90 per cent are from the Indian state of Kerala.
The southern state has witnessed an increase in the number of overseas electors from 12,653 in 2014 to 66,584 as of January 30, 2019. That the majority of the 71,735 Indian overseas electors hail from Kerala highlights the enthusiasm among non-resident Keralites to participate in the polls.
The data further reveals that of the total 66,584 overseas electors from the state, 3,729 are women and eight third gender persons have registered.
According to the provisions of Section 20A of the Representation of People Act, 1950, a non-resident Indian (NRI) settled in a foreign land can become an elector in the electoral roll in India and vote in their hometown. Last year, the Indian Cabinet and Election Commission had both given the go-ahead to introduce a system of proxy voting for people in this category but the logistics issues were unable to be resolved. As of now, there is no provision for online voting as well despite the fact that many are keen to do so.
This election cycle has seen political parties and leaders reaching out to the global NRI community on a massive scale, and this is reflected in poll preparations in the run-up to the voting.
The office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) in Punjab is chalking out a detailed programme to engage the services of more than 40,000 youth for guiding and facilitating NRIs, first-time voters and other people who might need assistance in casting their ballot during the Lok Sabha elections on May 19 in the state, The Tribune reported.
A special election programme for the wings of the Bharat Scouts and Guides, the National Cadet Corps (NCC), the National Service Scheme (NSS) and other volunteers is being finalised. Their services will be utilised especially for reaching out to first-time voters, NRIs, physically challenged and senior citizens, an official statement read.
Onkar Singh, the state organising commissioner (Scouts), said, “Participation in poll activities is part of the routine training of the scouts. We will have update sessions on new changes in the election process. Volunteers participating in the election activity are awarded special certificates.”
Assistant CEO Kavita Singh said, “At least two youths each will be assisting voters at the 23,213 polling booths in the state.”