Service voters play an important role in the polls. In the Lok Sabha elections 2019, a huge number of service voters have enrolled, with the figure seeing an over 3 lakh increase. And their vote can play a crucial and decisive role when there are close contests.
Who is a service voter?
A service voter is the person who has service qualification. Service voters include members of the Indian armed forces posted anywhere, members of armed police forces serving outside the state, and also government employees working on posts outside India. Members of the India Army, Navy and Air force, Boarder Road Organisation, BSF, ITBP, Assam Rifles, NSG, CRPF, CISF and SSB are all eligible to be registered as service voters.
How can service voters cast vote?
Eligible service personnel can file their applications for registration till 10 days before the last date of filing nominations. A service portal, www.servicevoter.nic.in, has been created where they need to submit Form 2, 2A or 3, as per their eligibility, through their Record officer/Commanding Officer/Authority concerned. According to the Election Commission of India, all the forms received till 10 days before the last date of filing nominations will be disposed of and the applicants’ names included in last part of the electoral rolls, if the forms found complete in all respect by the ERO concerned.
A service voter can cast his/her vote by proxy too. By applying to the returning officer in Form 13 F (available on the ECI website), they can appoint any person as his/her proxy to cast vote on his/her behalf at the polling station. The proxy, however, should be a registered voter of that constituency.
Service voter count in 2019 Elections
According to the ECI website, a total of 16,62,993 service voters have enrolled this year, as compared to the 2014 figure of 13,27,627. States like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan have most number of service voters, while Uttarakhand has around 88,600 services voters. Garhwal Lok Sabha constituency has the maximum number of service voters among all five constituencies of the state, since 2004 till date. This figure is significant, considering the state’s overall population.