Viral video falsely claims Indians can cast vote even if their names are not on the voting list

By: Rajeswari Parasa
April 10 2024

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Viral video falsely claims Indians can cast vote even if their names are not on the voting list

The screenshot of the claim circulating online regarding voters’ rights. (Source: WhatsApp/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict Misleading

Indian citizens need to get registered as voters, and their names must appear on the electoral rolls to be able to vote.

Claim ID d58d8cea

What is the claim?

A video with multiple claims about the voting process for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in India has been uploaded to YouTube and is also viral on WhatsApp. The parliamentary elections will be held in seven phases in India, from April 19 to June 1, 2024, according to the Election Commission of India. In this context, a 1:32 second video has been shared where a woman says she is sharing “very important information regarding voters" and lists out there are certain ‘provisions” for voters in India. An archive link of one such post can be found here.

Screenshots from the viral video circulating online. (Source: Instagram/X/Modified by Logically Facts)

In the viral video, the woman makes these four claims:

  1. If the voter's name is not on the voter list, one can show their Aadhaar card at the polling booth under section 49A and ask for a "Chunauti (Challenged) vote."

  2. If someone has already voted in someone's name, the one missing their chance can ask for a "tender" vote.

  3. If any polling booth records more than 14 percent "tender" votes, then polling will be conducted again at that booth.

  4. If one doesn't have a voter card or their name is not mentioned on the voters' list, they can go to the polling booth on the polling day with two photographs or any photo-ID proof and fill out form no. 8, which they will get at the voting booth. 

However, we found that only the second claim from the clip is accurate, and the rest are false. 

What is the truth?

Logically Facts contacted a senior official of the Election Commission of India and combed the official documents available in the public domain to determine the veracity of each claim made in the video.

Claim 1 

The claim that citizens whose names are not on the voters' list can ask for a 'Chunauti (Challenged)' vote under Section 49A by showing their Aadhaar card at the polling booth is false. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), a citizen's name must appear on the voting list to be able to vote. 

Sarfaraz Ahmed, Telangana's Joint Chief Electoral Officer, said, "There is no provision to vote if the name of the voter is missing in the voting list. However, one can vote if their voter card or Electors Photo Identification Card (EPIC) is missing, but their names are on the voter list. In these circumstances, they can show any of the 14 listed photo identity cards and can vote. There is no need (to produce) separate photographs either. But, this is only when their name is on the voter list."

The case of casting a "Chunauti" vote, or a "Challenged" vote, arises when the polling officer is not convinced of a voter's identity and 'challenges' them to prove the same, as stated under point 36 of The Conduct Of Elections Rules, 1961. 

According to the Election Commission's Handbook for Returning Officers 2023, "The polling agents can also challenge the identity of a person claiming to be a particular elector by depositing a sum of Rs 2 in cash with the Presiding Officer for each such challenge." 

Meanwhile, Section 49A of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, discusses the design of electronic voting machines and has nothing related to "Challenged" votes. 

Claim 2 

You can ask for a "tender" vote if someone has already voted in your name. 

This claim is true.

Explaining the procedure to cast a "tender" vote, Ahmed said, "If someone voted on your behalf, you can always ask for a tendered vote. A form has to be filled in this regard. Then, they would be issued a ballot paper to vote for the candidate of their choice, using a cross mark, which they then need to fold and hand over to the presiding officer. They do not vote using EVMs (electronic voting machines) here."

With regard to a "tender" vote, the Election Commission's Handbook mentions: "If a person presents himself/herself at the polling station and seeks to vote representing himself/herself to be a particular elector after another person has already voted as such elector, the Presiding Officer shall satisfy himself/herself about the identity of the elector concerned. If the Presiding Officer is satisfied about the identity of the elector on his/her satisfactorily answering such questions relating to his identity as the Presiding Officer may ask, he/she shall allow the elector concerned to vote by means of a tendered ballot paper, but not through the voting machine. (sic)"

Claim 3 

The claim that repolling will be announced at a particular booth if over 14 percent of "tender" votes are recorded there is false. According to ECI officials, there is no 'benchmarking' percentage of "tender" votes for re-voting at a polling booth. 

"When the number of tendered votes is high, then the election observer can consider it as a ground to recommend for a repolling in special circumstances. The prevalence of this is usually very, very low. As per my observation, in most cases, tendered votes are usually less than one percent in many constituencies," said Ahmed.

Claim 4 

The claim that citizens whose names are not on the voter list can submit two photographs or a photo ID proof and fill out Form number 8 at the booth to be able to cast their vote is also false.

As stated earlier, there is no provision to vote if a voter's name is not on the voter list. Form 8 is not related to the addition of new names but about correcting the names, shifting a voter from one constituency to another, and updating the disabilities category in the electoral list. Form 8 is usually used for these purposes, Joint CEO Ahmed told Logically Facts. 

Screenshot of Form 8 available on the Election Commission of India website.

The verdict

The claims made in the viral video that people in India whose names are not on the voter list can still cast their votes by following relevant remedial measures is false. There is no provision to vote in Indian elections if your name does not appear on the electoral roll. Several other claims made in the clip, except one, are also false. Hence, we mark this claim as misleading. 

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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