Casting votes is a true festival of democracy and Indians love to exercise their voting rights. Since the day elections are announced, voters wait for the D-day with bated breath. With the decks all cleared for Himachal Pradesh to go to assembly polls on Saturday, around 56 lakh voters have rolled up their sleeves to exercise their franchise and vote for good governance.
They will ink their fingers to decide the fate of 412 candidates, including Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, former CM Virbhadhra Singh’s son Vikramaditya Singh and former BJP chief Satpal Singh Satti, in the elections in 68 constituencies across the state.
Young voters and especially those who are geared up to cast their votes for the first time, are excited to reach polling booths with all enthusiasm and verve. As per EC data, 1.86 lakh first-time voters will exercise their franchise in the elections tomorrow.
While the enthusiasm to vote among the younger lot is understandable, voters need to be sure of a few things before they step out to vote, unless you want to return home disappointed.
Here’s a checklist that you must consider before you step out to vote:
Make sure that you are a registered voter
In order to avoid embarrassment and being denied your right to vote, you must check your name in the electoral roll first. For this, you can visit the website of the Election Commission of India (eci.gov.in)
Ensure that you carry proper identification
Ensure that you are carrying your election ID card. However, in absence of the election ID card, you can also present any authorised ID (listed on the EC website) if your name is on the electoral roll. Notably, political parties usually visit each house to hand over polling slips to voters. Before leaving home, check the polling time which generally stars from 7am and concludes at 6pm
Find your polling location
Before leaving your house, you should know where your polling booth number and where it is located. If you have any confusion, turn to oldies or local elected representatives. Also, any political party functionary could help you out. Better, do check the polling slip given by party election agents, where the polling booth number is mentioned. In case, the slip is not delivered to your doorstep, you can also collect it outside your polling booth.
Be in line, though serpentine
As you reach your destination, you could perk up with your enthusiasm. Calm your nerves, and follow the direction given by the security force and authorised persons. You are now entering the most exciting part of the day you have waited for so long. There is a separate line for male and female. If the queue is long, you will have to wait for your turn patiently. It is advisable to carry a water bottle and some handy snacks. Follow COVID-19 guidelines like wearing a mask and social distancing, if the authority asks you to do.
Inside the poll sanctum sanctorum
As you enter the polling room, on-duty poll agents first check your name and face matching the credentials you carry. They will assist you to move further where your name will be marked in the electoral roll. In a polling booth, there are a number of counters/rooms with each having separate Electronic Voting Machines. Officials, after checking your name in the electoral rolls will let you know which counter you can cast your vote. Next, you will be directed to the authorised person who will mark your finger with indelible electoral ink allowing you to move towards the EVM machine where you will press a button which carries the name of your choice of leader with the party’s electoral symbol. You then proceed to press the button on the choice of your candidate/symbol/party on the EVM.
A VVPAT machine will be there linked to the EVM. It will reflect the symbol/name of the party/candidate after you press the button in the EVM. If there is any inconsistency between the VVPAT’s slip and the button you pressed, inform the presiding officer about this.
First-time voters: Do’s and dont’s
* Don’t forget to carry your EPIC-voter ID card. It will be quite a difficult task to find your name in the electoral rolls without the card.
* Don’t jump the queue and wait for your turn to come while maintaining the social-distancing.
* Don’t carry your mobile phone inside the EVM room.
* Don’t try to click a selfie while pressing the EVM button. This may land you in trouble.
* Don’t try to press more than one button and be watchful while pressing the button for your candidate.