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Center approves expat vote; Commission says it can be implemented in Kerala

New Delhi: The Central Government has agreed to the long-needed expatriate vote of lakhs of Indians living abroad. According to national media reports, the Ministry of External Affairs has issued a letter in support of the Election Commission’s recommendation that Indian expatriates register to vote through e-postal ballots. About 1.17 lakh expatriates are on the voters’ list.  NRIs (Non-Resident Indians) will be able to vote from their country of residence through the Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS). Although the recommendation was approved, the Ministry of External Affairs directed the Election Commission to consult with all concerned before the facility comes into effect.

In a letter to the Legal Secretary on November 27, the report said that the commission had directed the NRIs to make necessary amendments to the election rules, 1961,  to allow them to vote by postal ballot. According to the letter, the facility will be used in the Assembly elections in Assam, Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Puducherry in April-May. The Commission has directed that a postal ballot be issued electronically to an NRI after informing the Returning Officer of their desire to vote through Form 12.

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