Foreign Policy Digital

Millions of Voters Are Missing in India

Muslims, Dalits, women disproportionately cut from electoral rolls.

Zeeshan Salim Multani, 28, was born and raised in the Indian city of Mumbai, where he lives today with his wife and children. He paints walls and works as a housekeeper to earn a living.

On March 16, the Election Commission of India denied him a voter ID for a second time—on the grounds that he was under 18 years old. Multani, a Muslim born in 1991, is one among what may be millions of Indian citizens who will lose their vote in the upcoming elections on wrongful grounds.

Multani’s case was identified by , a phone application created in May 2018 to enumerate and enroll disenfranchised voters across the country. Since its inception, the Missing Voters app has recorded over 80,000 downloads on Android and 5,000 on iOS—and resulted in 40,000 people being registered to vote. Its creator, the 38-year-old software engineer Khalid Saifullah, estimates that nearly 120 million eligible voters

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