A longstanding demand of overseas Indians, popularly known as Non-resident Indians (NRIs), to be able to vote in Indian elections has been met by the Government of India.
An estimated 11 million Indians living outside India can participate in India’s democratic election process as long as they have registered themselves as voters. They also have to be physically present in India on the polling day to be able to vote.
This implies that Indians living abroad cannot vote by post, unlike some western countries that allow postal balloting for its overseas citizens.
“Every citizen of India staying in a foreign country, who has not acquired citizenship of a foreign country, and has completed 18 years of age as on January 1 of the year, can make an application for being registered in the roll for the constituency pertaining to the locality in which his place of residence in India as mentioned in the passport is located,” says a government statement supported by the country’s Election Commission.
India is the world’s largest democracy, with a population of 1.2 billion.