Voter enrolment: 17-year-olds can register in advance, says Election Commission
Youngsters above the age of 17 can now apply in advance to be enrolled into voters' list, a statement by the Election Commission of India (EC) said. The new rule essentially means that youngsters don't have to wait to turn 18 to apply for enrolment. Electoral roll will be updated every quarter and eligible candidates can be registered in quarter of the next year.
An EC statement on Thursday stated that youngsters will not have to wait to apply until they turn 18 on January 1st of a year. The body has directed operating heads of all states to work out tech-enabled solutions for advanced applications. The EC now grants four dates for the qualification of applications: April 1, July 1, October 1, and January 1.
The Electoral Roll will be updated every quarter and eligible youngsters can be registered in the next quarter of the year in which they attain the qualifying age of 18. They will then be issued an Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC). For 2023, any youngster turning 18 by April 1, July 1, and October 1 of 2023 can submit an advance application.
About the existing revision of electoral rolls, the EC said, "Many young persons who completed 18 years after 1st January had to wait for Special Revision of the next year for enrolment and were not able to participate in elections held in the intervening period."
On the recommendations of the EC, the Ministry of Law & Justice recently amended the RP Act of 1950 to provide for four qualifying dates (mentioned earlier) for young people to register for the voters' list. The new changes have been brought in after these amendments. EC has also made registration forms more user-friendly and they will come into force from August 1st, 2022.
The EC has also made provisions for linking Aadhaar card with Voter ID. A new form has been introduced to collect data of existing electors. However, the EC, clarified that no one will be denied entry into the voter list if they are unable to furnish Aadhaar number. Linking Aadhaar with Voter ID has been a controversial issue, currently being challenged in Supreme Court.