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What You Need To Know Before Making The Most Important Decision For India’s Future

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Facebook logoEditor’s Note: With #JetSetVote, Youth Ki Awaaz and Facebook India have come together to create a community of millennials who are aware and informed about their voter rights and responsibilities, through a series of workshops organised in collaboration with PRIA across 50 campuses. If you're a student, teacher or admin member, register your college to organise a fun session!

The right to vote is the foundation of a healthy, functioning democracy. The ballot is your voice. It is the most powerful tool at your disposal to not only affect change in your neighbourhood or state, but to create a better India.

Voting is a big, big deal, but there are times, a lot of us don’t step out to do it because the whole process seems too daunting or confusing. Fret not. For all you confused souls out there, who want to vote, but can’t be bothered with all the complications that come with the process, we decided to make things easier for you.

We rounded up the most basic questions associated with the voting process – and their answers below. Just scroll through the answers and you should be ready to cast your vote. (Yes, it really is that simple!)

Image Credit: Mystic Musings/ Foter

1) I am a first-time voter. Where do I begin?

A: You should begin by checking if you meet the eligibility criteria for voter registration. To be eligible for voting, you need to be:

  1. A citizen of India,
  2. Be of 18 years of age or more
  3. Be Enrolled in the electoral roll of India or the polling area of the Indian constituency where you reside

In order to enrol yourself on the electoral roll, fill this form and get started on the voter registration process!

2) What documents do I require to register as a voter?

A: To register as a voter, you need the following documents:

  1. A filled voter registration form
  2. Copy of proof of residence
  3. Copy of proof of age and identity
  4. 2 recent passport size photographs

3) I am a college student and I live in my college hostel. How can I register to vote?

A: A college student living in a hostel who does not have ordinary address proof document needs to get a Student Declaration Form signed by college authorities. This can be submitted along with the voter registration form and your age proof.

If you are a college student who is NOT living in hostel, you need to submit an ordinary address proof document and an age proof document, like other first-time voters.

4) I recently shifted from Delhi To Maharashtra, but I am registered as a voter in Delhi. What should I do?

 A:  In order to be able to vote from Maharshtra, you will need to fill form 2 forms – Form 7  to delete your name from the Delhi constituency and Form 6 (with new address) in order to register to vote from the new constituency. You need to submit both these forms to the ERO of the new constituency.

Alternately, you can go to Delhi at the time of voting and cast your vote from there!

5) I recently lost my voter ID card. Can I still vote?

 A: It is a big myth that you cannot vote if you are not in possession of your voter identity card. Voter identity card is a very important government document, and if you have lost one, you should initiate the process of getting a duplicate one issued as soon as possible. However, in order to be eligible to vote, what is more essential is that your name is registered in the electoral roll of your constituency. Just make sure you are on that list and you will be allowed to vote, by showing other documents of identity proof.

Image Credit: Sunny Shende/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

6) What is the process of getting a duplicate voter ID card?

 A: You can now easily apply for a duplicate voter identity card online by downloading Form EPIC-002 which is the requisite form to apply for a duplicate id.Fill in the form and attach all the required documents as mentioned in the form such as FIR copy, proof of address, and proof of identity. Submit the form to your local electoral office, collect the reference number of your application and you can easily track your application status on the state election office website using this number.

7) Can a person confined in jail vote in an election?

A: No, a person confined in jail cannot vote in an election in India. As per the provisions given in the Representation of People Act, 1951, Section 62 (5), a person in prison, “under sentence of imprisonment or transportation or otherwise, or in the lawful custody of the police” is not eligible to cast his vote in an election

8) I am an Indian citizen, but I am currently living in another country. Can I vote?

 A: Yes, according to the provisions of the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 2010, a person who is a citizen of India,who has not acquired the citizenship of any other country and who owing to his employment, education or any other reason is not living at his residence in India  is eligible to be registered as a voter in the constituency in which his place of residence in India as mentioned in his passport.

9) As an overseas Indian, what is the process to get registered/enrolled in the Electoral Roll?

 A: Indian citizens living abroad can fill Form 6A before the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) of the constituency under whose their residence falls as per the details of their passport. This form can be submitted to the ERO in person or can be sent by post to the ERO concerned. If the application is sent by post, it must be accompanied by duly self-attested copy of the passport and all relevant documents mentioned in Form 6A.

Image Credit: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

10) Using my voter identity card, where all can I vote?

A: Being registered as a voter allows you to become eligible for both parliamentary elections as well as assembly elections.Besides Parliamentary and Assembly elections, one also becomes eligible to vote in local boy elections or municipal elections in your city.

11) What is an EVM? How do I use an EVM?

Electronic Voting Machines or EVMs as they are popularly called are machines that are used to cast vote in elections without revealing one’s identity. Used in local, state and general (parliamentary) elections in India, EVMs have replaced paper ballots that were used earlier.

An EVM  consists of 2 parts – a ‘control unit’ and a ‘balloting unit’, connected by a 5-metre cable. The control unit is with the Election Commission-appointed polling officer; the balloting unit is in the voting compartment and it is into this unit that the voter has to enter to cast the vote. All one needs to do is to press the button against the name and symbol of the candidate of their choice, and one’s vote is cast!

If you want to know more about EVMs and their working, check out this video by the Election Commission of India.

12) How is the President elected? Can I vote for him / her / them directly?

The President of India is elected by an electoral college that comprises of elected members of the Parliament of India and the Legislative assemblies of the States and the Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry. These representatives are directly elected by citizens. It is these elected representatives who then vote for the President, in theory representing the people who would ideally vote for the President.

13) How is the Chief Minister of a state elected? Can I vote for him / her / them directly?

The Chief Minister of a state is elected through a majority in the state legislative assembly. Following elections to the state assembly, the governor usually invites the winning party to form the government. Usually, the CM belongs to the political party with the majority or the coalition in the assembly. The members of the party who choose the CM after winning majority are the MLAs. The whole process is established by the vote of confidence in the legislative assembly, as suggested by the governor of the state.

Since MLAs are directly elected by voters, who becomes the state Chief Minister directly reflects the choice of the people of that state.

Still curious about the voting process? Want to know more? This amazing resource by the Election Commission Of India will answer all your questions. Check it out.

#JetSetVote is a nationwide movement by YKA and Facebook India to make voting fun, interesting and engaging for the Indian millennial and empower you with your voting rights and responsibilities. Read more here and pledge your vote today – because every vote counts!

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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