False Claim: Voters Can Ask for ‘Challenge Vote’ If Name is Missing from Electoral Roll
According to the message, voters just need to show their Aadhaar card in case their names are missing from the electoral rolls.
When you reach poling booth and find that your name is not in voter list, just show your Aadhar card or voter ID and ask for ” challenge vote” under section 49A and cast your vote.
If you find that someone has already cast your vote, then ask for “tender vote” and cast your vote.
If any polling booth records more than 14% tender votes, repolling will be conducted in such poling booth.
Please share this very important message with maximum groups and friends as everyone should aware of their right to vote
As India gears up for general elections, the above message has been shared widely on social media and messaging platforms.
The same message has been posted by several Facebook users.
According to the message,
1. Voters just need to show their Aadhaar card in case their names are missing from the electoral rolls. Supposedly, under ‘section 49A’, voters can ask for a ‘challenge vote’ in such a case.
2. A ‘tender vote’ can apparently be cast if a voter finds out that someone else has already voted in her/his name.
3. Repolling will be conducted at every polling booth where more than 14% tender votes are recorded.
Claim 1: False
Voters just need to show their Aadhaar card in case their names are missing from the electoral rolls. Supposedly, under ‘section 49A’, voters can ask for a ‘challenge vote’ in such a case.
According to the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, section 49A is titled Design of Electronic Voting Machines. It does not refer to ‘challenge vote’ as claimed in the viral message. The section reads: “Every electronic voting machine (hereinafter referred to as the voting machine) shall have a control unit and a ballotting unit and shall be of such designs as may be approved by the Election Commission.”
A ‘challenged vote’ refers to a vote by a person whose identity has been challenged by the polling agent. Section 49J of the Rules lays out the procedure for ‘challenged votes’. If the identity of the voter is held to be in doubt by the polling agent, his vote may be ‘challenged’ and the matter taken up with the presiding officer, who will then conduct an inquiry. The ‘challenged’ voter’s name and address is then put in the list of challenged votes in Form 14. There is no reference to ‘challenge vote’ in section 49A, as claimed.
Claim 2: True
A ‘tender vote’ can apparently be cast if a voter finds out that someone else has already voted in her/his name.
Section 49P of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 states that “If a person representing himself to be a particular elector seeks to vote after another person has already voted as such elector”, he/she will be given a tendered ballot paper for voting provided he/she has satisfactorily answered questions relating to his/her identity “as the presiding officer may ask”.
Simply put, if a voter finds out that someone has already cast the vote in his/her name, the aggrieved voter can still cast his/her vote. Such a vote is called a ‘tendered vote’. Tendered votes are considered only in cases where the victory margin is narrow, and are not usually counted in case of victory by huge margins.
Claim 3: Partially False/True
Repolling will be conducted at every polling booth where more than 14% tender votes are recorded.
Alt News could not find a single reference, in either the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 or the Handbook For Polling Agent, to the claim that repolling is mandatory at every polling booth where the percentage of tender votes recorded is over 14%.
The figure of 14% is a figment of imagination. While it is true that repolling may be conducted at polling booths where a certain proportion of bogus votes have been cast, this decision is at the discretion of the Election Commission. The same was clarified via a tweet by former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Dr. S Y Quraishi.
It may be reiterated that the claim that repolling is to be conducted at every polling booth where more than 14% tender votes are cast, is false. However, it is true that repolling may be conducted if the ECI decides so.
If your name is NOT in the voter list (for whatever reason), you cannot do anything. That’s why you have to check your voter list in advance. If your name is in the list but your vote has been cast, then tendered vote. EC can order repol if it notices any serious breaches. https://t.co/gnSWasfDds
— Dr. S.Y. Quraishi (@DrSYQuraishi) April 6, 2019
Voters may note that registration is mandatory, and that it is not possible to vote unless the respective voter’s name is present in the electoral roll. Voters may follow this link to check if their names are present in the electoral roll. If the name of the voter is present in the roll but he/she does not have a voter ID card, any of the official identity documents such as Aadhaar, Passport, Driving License, PAN card etc. may need to be produced at the time of voting. The FAQ section of the ECI website can be accessed here for further details.
This article was first published at Alt News.