With Assembly elections in five Indian states underway, a message is going viral on social media, making several claims about voter’s rights.
The claims are as follows:
(English Translation: When you reach the polling booth and find that your name is not on the voter list, just show your Aadhar card or voter ID and ask for “challenge vote” under section 49A and cast your vote. If you find that someone has already cast your vote, then ask for a “tender vote” and cast your vote. If any polling booth records more than 14% tender votes, repolling will be conducted in such polling booth. Please share this very important message with maximum groups and friends as everyone should be aware of their right to vote”
Here’s the link to the above post.
NewsMobile fact-checked the claim and found it to be misleading and false. We checked each claim individually and found the following.
Claim 1 – When you reach the polling booth and find that your name is not on the voter list, just show your Aadhar card or voter ID and ask for “challenge vote” under section 49A and cast your vote.
This claim is false. Anyone whose name is not present in the electoral roll, cannot vote. The claim has attributed the ‘challenge vote’ to section 49A. However, as per the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, Section 49A talks about the design of Electronic Voting Machines.
Also, the concept of “challenge vote” has been misquoted in this viral message. Challenging a vote means that any polling agent may challenge the identity of a person claiming to be a particular elector by first depositing a sum of two rupees in cash with the presiding officer for each such challenge.
Claim 2– If you find that someone has already cast your vote, then ask for a “tender vote” and cast your vote.
This claim is true. According to The Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, if a person finds that a vote has already been cast under his/her name, then they should bring it to the attention of the Polling Officer, who might ask them to present substantial documents to confirm the identity of the voter.
Once the identity of the voter has been confirmed, they can cast their vote and that is called a ‘tendered vote’.
Claim 3 – If any polling booth records more than 14% tender votes, repolling will be conducted in such a polling booth.
This claim is false. There is no mention of any such rule in the election Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961. Any decision on the tender votes is taken in the direction of the High Court.
The former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Dr S Y Quraishi in a tweet dated 2019 said, “If your name is NOT in the voter list (for whatever reason), you cannot do anything. That’s why you have to check your voter list in advance. If your name is in the list but your vote has been cast, then tendered vote. EC can order repol if it notices any serious breaches.”
Moreover, PIB also clarified via a tweet that the viral message about ‘challenge vote’ is false and one cannot vote if their name is not present in the electoral roll.
This proves that the message going viral is misleading and false.
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