Millions of India’s Migrant Workers Excluded from Voting in National Elections

When India has its big voting event, the rules stop millions of Migrants Workers from voting.

When India has its big voting event, the rules stop millions of Migrants Workers from voting.

When India has its big voting event, the rules stop millions of Migrants Workers from voting. These workers leave their poor villages to find jobs in cities. But they can only vote in their home areas, making it almost impossible for them to use their democratic right. Even though there are efforts to get more people to vote, not letting this big group vote shows a big problem in India’s voting process.

Why Migrants Workers Cannot Vote

Chanu Gupta, a 59-year-old man who sells things on the street in Mumbai, will not be able to vote in the upcoming nationwide election, just like millions of other Migrants Workers who are an important part of India’s economy. The rules say voters can only vote in their home areas, so those working outside their state must go back to vote.

How Many Workers Are Affected

This is nearly impossible for many Migrants Workers, especially the poor daily workers without regular jobs. Experts think there were around 600 million Migrants Workers in 2020, which is 43% of India’s nearly 1.4 billion people. These workers, often from poor village areas, go to big cities like Mumbai to find work and send their small earnings back home to support their families.

Different Kinds of Workers in Mumbai

Mumbai, India’s richest city and where Bollywood is, has many Migrants Workers from all over the country looking for money and success. More than 43% of Mumbai’s people were Migrants Workers in the last national count in 2011, with some coming from very poor states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, and Gujarat. 

Problems for Indians Living Abroad

Indians living in other countries, numbering 13.6 million and part of the big Indian community abroad, face similar problems, though their situations are different. Most are poor workers who helped build the rich cities of oil countries, while others are middle and upper-class students or workers in Western countries. They cannot vote online or by mail and must sign up as “overseas voters” and travel to their hometown in India to vote in their area.

Seeing the Problem and Possible Solutions

However, the huge group of Migrants Workers who cannot vote is very different from these successes, with no solution yet. A survey in 2011 found that 60% of workers from five Indian states said they missed voting at least once because they were away from home looking for better jobs. The Election Commission of India noted this problem in a 2022 report, wondering how to get more of these workers to vote. They suggested using voting machines that could be used from far away, but the government said in 2023 that there were no plans for this.


For now, voting is still just a dream for most Migrants Workers. As Gupta, the street vendor from Mumbai, says, “I cannot say whose vote I would cast if I were back in my hometown. My main focus right now is to earn a living.” This shows the urgent need for changes to the voting rules that allow every Indian citizen their basic right to vote, no matter how poor they are or where they live.

About Freelance writer

As a passionate freelance writer, I delve into the intricacies of human rights, work-life balance, and labour rights to illuminate the often overlooked aspects of our societal fabric. With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to social justice, I navigate the complexities of these crucial topics, aiming to foster awareness and inspire change.

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