India is one of the world’s largest democratic countries which constitutes of millions of people. Given the diversity that the country sustains, there are innumerable political parties which have been formed in every state, district or town. Elections are an elaborate affair in India and also a very integral part of the democracy. Elections in India are held once every 5 years. As responsible citizens of the nation, it is our duty to exercise our right to vote. However, since it involves very large part of the population, elections are never an easy affair. There are innumerable instances of electoral fraud which take place during elections, beside many other such malpractices. Hence, to smoothen things to an extent, the Election Commission of India has introduced the system of Voter ID cards.
What Is a Voter ID Card
A Voter ID Card, also known as the Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC) is a photo identity card that is issued by the Election Commission of India to all individuals who are eligible voters. The primary purpose which this card services is to improve the accuracy of the electoral roll and help in preventing cases of electoral fraud. Additionally, it also serves as an identification proof when individual’s cast their vote. This card is commonly known by other names such as an election card, voters card, Voter ID, etc.
Why Is It Important To Have
The Voter ID Card is an important document for Indian citizens for a variety of reasons:
- Proof of IdentityThe Voter ID card is an important document for Indian citizens as it is a valid form of an identification proof. The Voter ID card is accepted at various offices and institutions which require the individual to furnish a valid form of identification, like insurance companies, making online travel or accommodation bookings, obtaining a new gas connection, opening a new bank account, etc. Also, almost all government run agencies, insurance providers, claim firms, mortgage providers like banks ask applicants to provide a Voter ID number in order to process their request.
- Casting VotesThe Voter ID card is essential if you wish to cast your vote during any election. If you hold a valid Voter ID card and your name is present in the electoral roll of your local area, you can cast your vote.
- Registration In Electoral Roll Of A Non-Domicile StateThe Voter ID serves yet another purpose of allowing individuals to register their name in the electoral roll of a state other than their state of domicile. This is especially helpful if a person has migrated from another state and wishes to enrol in the electoral list of his local area / constituency.
Uses of a Voter ID Card
The Voter ID card is of great use to every Indian citizen for a variety of reasons:
- The card serves as an accepted form of personal identity.
- The Voter ID Card acts as an acknowledgement that the card holder is a registered voter.
- The card includes several identification features like the applicant’s signature, photograph, fingerprints, etc., which provide added assurance for the card holder.
- In case of an election, the card carries provisions (by way of marking) to prevent the holder from voting multiple times.
- The Voter ID card can be designed to suit electoral requirements of a population with low literacy population.
- It is especially helpful as a form of identification for voters with no fixed address.
Fields Included In a Voter ID Card
A voter ID card is an efficient and widely accepted form of personal identification in India. Not only does it facilitate one to cast their vote during an election but also acts as an identity proof and address proof for a variety of purposes. This card is issued by the Election Commission of India to all eligible Voters and comprises of the following fields:
- A hologram sticker
- Serial number
- Photograph of the card holder
- Name of elector / card holder
- Card holder’s parent’s Name
- Card holder’s gender
- Elector’s / card holder’s age as on the date of issue of card
- Elector / card holder’s complete residential address is provided on the rear side of the card, along with the signature of the issuing authority
Voter ID Card Eligibility
In order to apply for/obtain a Voter’s ID card, individuals must conform to the following criteria:
- Applicant must not be below 18 years of age.
- However, applicants who belong to any specified special category and who are financially bankrupt, (even if they are above 18 years of age) are not eligible to apply for a Voter Id card.
Fake or Defunct Voter ID Cards
Like many other documents, fake or defunct Voter Id cards are also quite prevalent in India. These cards have little or no reliability and cannot be used by an individual to cast a vote. However, these cards are often misused for other purposes where a personal identification is required, for instance, to purchase a SIM card.