The Central Election Commission (CEC) has said that postal voting will be allowed for NRIs. The commission also told the central government that it is technically and administratively ready to extend the Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) to NRI voters for upcoming elections. If the Union Law Ministry takes a favorable stand,expats from Kerala will also be able to vote in the 2021 Assembly elections.
The Central Election Commission (CEC) has informed the Law Ministry that it is ready to introduce electronic postal voting for NRIs in elections. The Commission has also clarified the guidelines in this regard.
Under ETPBS, which only applies to service voters, the paper ballot will be sent electronically but received through regular mail. To permit this provision government only needs to amend the Conduct of Election Rules 1961 and it doesn't require Parliament's nod.
According to the Commission, an Indian citizen abroad must notify the Returning Officer within five days of the notification of election that he wishes to vote.On receiving such information, the Returning Officer should dispatch the ballot paper to the voter via email.
The NRI voters will mark their preference on the ballot printouts and send it back along with a declaration attested by an officer appointed by the diplomatic or consular representative of India in the country where the NRI is resident. The commission did not specify whether the ballot paper would be sent directly or handed over to the embassy.
As for the political parties, only the Nationalist Congress Party(NCP) has expressed full confidence in the provision. BJP, BSP, and CPI are of the view that the postal ballots are viable due to time constraints.