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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Monday, 27 May 2024 11.57 PM IST

Expatriates returning to Kerala in droves; What happened suddenly?

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KOCHI: Expatriates in Gulf countries were yet again served a huge blow after the election commission could not bring the proxy vote system to reality. This will mean that the expatriates, who intend to participate in the upcoming LS elections, would have to fly back home at a huge cost, just to cast their votes.

Proposals for proxy vote and e-ballot to allow NRIs to vote in the country of employment were stomped down by some ‘practical issues’. The Election Commission and the Central Government have been silent for two years after announcing that they will study in detail in the Supreme Court recommendation.

Expatriate voting rights were not previously included in the Representation of the People Act. After a long demand, in 2010, an amendment was introduced to allow non-residents to vote in person. The only existing condition was that the voter should have his name on the voters' panel and must not be a citizen of any foreign country. Expatriates have been in a legal battle for years to be allowed to vote in their country of employment.

A proxy vote allows a trusted individual to vote on behalf of another voter. Electronic Ballot is the process of voting online on a special portal.

There are about 25 lakh Malayali voters in many countries. Other obstacles such as the possibility of online vote fraud, the difficulty of verifying the identity of foreigners, and the possibility of disputes over proxy voting hindered the process.

Expatriates from the Gulf countries have started arriving in their homelands for the festive holidays. Earlier they used to arrive in groups or on chartered flights. It is a saving grace that this time the ticket price is moderate. Many people are hoping that the leave will be extended till polling day.

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TAGS: GULD, KERALA, NRI, ELECTIN, INDIA, PROXY VOTES, SUPREME COURT, KOCHI
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