Early hunter gatherers practiced the system of democracy or voting that may be in a barbaric way but they elected their leaders by different methods and ruled by them, slowly a system developed around the globe and people ruled by the elected ones, for the people by the people of the people. Democracy flowered on the atrocities around the world and that ended up several autocrats and guarantee fundamental individual rights, and by this system it empowered human development and personal freedom. The beauty of democracy is that it allows citizen to participate in law making because it is important that a law is made for them and applied on them.
In a democratic government every person should get their rights even if they are minority or majority, the rule applied on both of them are the same. India, the largest democratic country there every people have the access to certain rights and there is no discrimination to access this kind of rights that is fundamental in nature.
Reasons to vote :
It’s our right: Voting is our responsibility and by exercising the right to vote they demonstrate their respect for the history of the country. Adult suffrage is mentioned under Article 326 of the constitution of India and according to that no person can be denied right to vote but at the same time it is not mentioned in the part III of the constitution, so the right to vote is not a fundamental right. The underlying reasons to not to include this in fundamental rights may be because of the practical problems arises, like the people may be stand up for their right even if he or she is in a task by their respective private companies they work; many times people can’t leave their workplace. On the other hand right to vote is a political right and that may not fit well in the fundamental right. Also altering the fundamental right is a tedious process, by these reasons right to vote stand as a legal right in India.
Origin of Change:
Whatever your political views and beliefs, please do one thing for you, me and humanity. Please press pause on all media, including your social streams, and take a step back…outside of the online comfort zone you, me and everyone have plugged into. Take a breath. It’s urgent for us, as individuals, as human beings, as Indian citizens, to deeply consider the the long tail of the election before we vote.
Non-choosers get NOTA:
NOTA, or “None of the Above”, is the option which enables the voter to officially register a vote of rejection for all candidates who are contesting. If a voter chooses to press NOTA it indicates that the voter has not chosen to vote for any of the party.
On 27 September 2013, the Supreme court of India ruled that the right to register a “none of the above” vote in elections should apply, while ordering the Election Commission to provide a button for the same in the electronic voting machines. The main objective of the ‘NOTA’ option is to enable electors who do not wish to vote for any of the candidates to exercise their right to reject without violation of the secrecy of their decision. The voter must be eligible to register a vote of rejection if they feel that the contesting candidates do not deserve to be voted for. The Right to vote granted to all citizens must allow the vote of disapproval.
A Sense of Pride:
We must honor the right of voting given by the constitution of India. The youngsters are well excited to exercise their right to vote as soon as they turn 18. The feeling after having cast a vote infuses a sense of pride for being a responsible citizen. As can be witnessed from the sharing of the inked finger on social media. The trend is continuing to gain popularity amongst the youngers and the elders as well.
Who can vote:
All citizens, regardless of their race, color, or previous condition of subjugation have the right to vote under the Citizenship Act which grants them protection under the 15th Amendment.
As per the Election Commission of India, citizens are eligible to become voters under the following conditions:
1. Every citizen who is 18 years old on the qualifying date (January 1 of the year in case) unless disqualified, is eligible to be enrolled.
2. Enrollment only at ordinary place of residence.
3. Enrollment only at one place.
4. Overseas Indian deemed to be ordinarily resident at the address given in passport.
5. Service voters deemed to be ordinarily resident at their home address.
Who is not eligible to vote?
Those citizens who have been declared by the law that they are unstable to vote or barred due to corrupt practices or any illegal act relating to elections are not entitled to be a voter. A person who is not a citizen of India cannot be registered in the electoral rolls.
How can you vote :
The two methods how to cast your vote, are mentioned below:
Visiting the polling booth
Process of voting at the polling booth:
1. The polling official will check your name on the voter list and check your ID proof.
2.The official will ink your finger, give you a slip and take your signature on a register (Form 17A).
3. You will have to deposit the slip at the third polling official and show your inked finger and then proceed to the polling booth.
4. Record your vote by pressing the ballot button opposite the symbol of the candidate of your choice on the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM); You will hear a beep sound.
5. Check the slip that appears in the transparent window of the VVPAT machine. The slip with the Candidate serial No., Name and Symbol shall be visible for 7 seconds before it drops in the sealed VVPAT box.
6. You can press NOTA, None of the Above, if you don’t like any candidate; it’s the last button on the EVM.
Importance of reading manifesto :
The Commission on 12th August 2013 held a meeting with representatives of National and State recognized Parties at Nirvachan Sadan, in New Delhi on formulation of guidelines for election manifestos. All the six National parties attended the meeting while, 24 State Parties participated out of 45 who were invited. The meeting was organized to seek their suggestions/views in the wake of the recent judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court which directed the Commission to frame guidelines on Election manifesto in consultation with the recognized political parties, to be included as part of the Model Code of Conduct.
The views of the political parties were mainly invited on broad frame work of guidelines on election manifesto and freebies, timing of release of election manifesto by political parties , mechanism for ensuring compliance of guidelines , practicability of implementation of promises of freebies. So, it is advisable for every citizen to thoroughly go through the manifesto and judge them all before casting their valuable vote to a certain political party
Using the postal ballot :
This vote is by via Post. This facility is offered particularly to those people who cannot go to the polling booth themselves due to some unavoidable circumstance; for example, the armed forces personnel, electoral officers on duty, policemen who are on duty, people on preventive detention, etc.
The Supreme Court of India pronounced a landmark judgement on Friday, the 27th September, 2013 through a bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai and Justice Ranjan Gogoi while hearing a Petition filed in the Peoples Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India and gave citizens of India the right to reject all candidates in elections. The Apex Court further instructed the Election Commission to ensure that the Electronic Voting Machines and ballot papers should have a button that will allow the voters to choose none of the above option and the right to say none of the above should be kept secret.
It further said :
“Negative voting would foster purity and vibrancy in elections and negative voting would bring a systemic change in the election process as the political parties will be forced to project clean candidates in polls.”
As India being a developing country, compulsory voting will bring good changes to our democratic system. It is time for that RIGHT to be converted to a DUTY. The right to vote is a fundamental right that helps our governmental system to work. Therefore, it cannot simply be waived or neglected. It is simply not justified as a right not to vote. One must see their right to vote as their duty. The right to vote gives the individuals to make a better tomorrow by choosing its representatives of the government who can make proper changes according to the needs of the people and strive for proper functioning of the government.
Also, compulsory voting may seem a bit restricting of one’s liberty/freedom to vote. But, at the same time it will enhance our autonomy which is much needed for a developing country like India. There are arguments on both sides as to whether in India compulsory voting be made or not. Time will only tell us as to which one should prevail.