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Getting youngsters to vote

Abysmally low turnout by youth voters in the recently concluded Assembly elections has propelled the YP Foundation (TYPF) -- an organisation working with young people -- to launch a campaign to get youngsters to vote, reports Tanya Ashreena.

delhi Updated: Dec 25, 2008 23:19 IST
Tanya Ashreena

Abysmally low turnout by youth voters in the recently concluded Assembly elections has propelled the YP Foundation (TYPF) -- an organisation working with young people -- to launch a campaign to get youngsters to vote. Their ongoing project entitled "What does your vote want?" has already encouraged 812 students to register to vote, with more expected.

"During the Assembly elections, we discovered that most young people did not vote for reasons such as not knowing how to obtain a voters' ID, or not bothered at all. So, we launched this campaign in order to educate the youth on how important their votes are, and how they can vote," said Diksha Singh, project manager.

The project kickstarted with a voter registration drive in Delhi University. "Since the Election Commission does not accept mass applications for voters' ID, we are taking down the students' names, numbers, and addresses. Using them, we are helping them to fill out forms and telling them where to go and who to contact to get registered. We will stay in touch with them throughout the process. Most outstation students are unaware that they too can vote. We tell them all they need is a student declaration form signed by the college dean or principal," said Rajneil Kamath, projects coordinator.

"After the Mumbai terror attacks, there is a lot of anger towards politicians. To vent out this anger, students hold rallies and vigils. But vigils do not bring in change. We are telling students that by voting they can bring in change," he added.

The organisation wants the youth not just to vote, but also to ensure that they make informed choices. For this purpose, they have planned a series of workshops, panel discussions, and other methods of advocacy.

Students have welcomed the move. "Many of us did not know how to register for assembly elections so could not vote. I feel this is a good move to encourage turnout," said Rhea Ghalay, a second-year student BA Programme, Jesus and Mary College.