At present only members of armed forces, senior government ministers and Indian diplomats outside the country can vote through a post or by proxy. All others must caste their ballot in person at assigned polling stations in their respective constituency. Therefore voting is difficult for those, who migrate from one state to another. And as a result most domestic migrant workers do not exercise their right to vote.
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Supreme Court, asking the Election Commission (EC) to make arrangement for migrant workers population, to cast absentee vote for their constituency from their place of work. The PIL wants migrant workers of the country to have provision for postal ballots similar to what has been proposed for Non Resident Indian (NRI) and service voters belonging to Armed forces.
An inter-ministerial committee has been asked to examine the possibility of allowing a choice of postal ballot or any other option of absentee vote to domestic migrant workers, in consultation with the Election Commission.
A report prepared by the committee for Election Commission has said that extending migrant workers alternate voting rights such as e-ballots is not feasible at present. This is because the Election Commission is not in favour of such a proposal due to the logistical nightmare. The committee feels it is difficult to track the movement of domestic migrant workers, The magnitude and complexity of work is enormous and the Election Commission is concerned about duplication of vote, misuse etc.
The Election commission has taken a strong stance in the Supreme Court. They have mentioned that people migrating from their native places cease to be residents of that place and they cannot caste vote in elections in that constituency. They further clarified in their affidavit, “A person shall not be deemed to be ordinarily resident in a constituency on the ground only that he owns or is in possession of a dwelling therein.” They are of the view that ‘Such a person has to get himself enrolled in the electoral roll of the new place where he is ordinarily resident and he can then vote in such a new place.’
Election Commission goes further to say that the mere question of any person migrating to a new place from his native place and then still enrolling himself in the electoral role of his native place itself does not arise.
Keeping in view of the above facts it is important that the migrant workers should register as a voter from their place of work.