Election FAQ: How to vote if you're a first-timer

With the 2019 Assembly Elections nearly upon India once again, lakhs of first-time voters are preparing to cast their franchise and play their part in putting the next state governments. This guide is to help them understand how to vote at the polling booth.

First and foremost, make sure you are on the electoral rolls. Once you have verified your place on the rolls, just go to your state's Chief Electoral Officer site and confirm which polling booth you are assigned to. In the event your address is incorrect, just update your address.

On the voting day, when you have arrived at the polling booth you are assigned to (The ECI has strict standards of timing and day of voting, please make sure you stay within that), and you have probably braved a long line to get to your spot, you will see the following arrangement inside the booth:

Three polling officers sitting next to each other, each with a different assigned task, the presiding officer of the booth and any number of ballot units covered behind folds.

Here's how you go about casting your vote:

  • When you enter the polling booth, you go to the left-most polling officer first, who will verify your identity. You can use your Voter ID or any of the valid documents with them.
  • Once verified, you move on to the other officer, who will mark your finger with the indelible ink, marking you cleared to vote.
  • After your finger is marked, you move on to the final officer, who will take your signature or thumbprint to cross your name off the electoral roll. After that, you move on to vote.
  • The balloting unit consists of an Electronic Voting Machine to cast your vote and a VVPAT machine to confirm your vote. To cast your vote, select your choice from the list of the political parties on the device and press the blue button next to it. When the button is pressed, an LED on the EVM will glow red and the VVPAT machine generates a slip showing the vote you have cast.
  • Once that is done, your vote is cast. You may leave the polling booth and head back home. If there is any inconsistency between your selection and the VVPAT's slip, go to the presiding officer to lodge a complaint.
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