Assembly elections in Delhi are due in November this year and the electoral officials are engaged in a massive exercise to add as many voters on their rolls as possible. Delhi's chief electoral officer Vijay Dev calls it the purifying of the electoral roll.
In a chat with HT, Dev shared the preparations that are on to include first-time voters, the process of updating the roll by enhancing the voter database, registration of eligible voters and raising awareness among the voters, especially the youth, about the need for exercise of the franchise. Excerpts:.
How are you planning to add more first-time voters and women voters?
The Election Commission has declared 2013 as the Year of the Electoral Roll. Our focus is on purifying the electoral roll. We are doing our best to include as many eligible voters as possible - youth, women, and homeless - and our efforts have paid off rich dividends.
In 2012, during annual summary revision of electoral roll, the number of voters went up by almost 4.2 lakh. However, in the past few years this number has increased by almost two lakh annually.
We got the database of the youth from the directorate of education and Delhi University. We have been organising special camps.
To add homeless people as voters, we decided to consider whatever place they stay as their residential address. We have also identified the areas where the number of women voters is less. At such places we are organising special camps with women staff.
What efforts have you made to ensure eligible voters can easily register themselves?
Eligible voters have many options to register themselves. They can go to the voter centre in their respective assembly constituency. Our polling station-wise electoral roll is available online in the pdf format along with the Google map.
Every detail, including the documents required, names of the officers concerned, the location of polling station, etc., is also available online. One can also go to the deputy commissioner's office of their area or visit the election office to register as a voter. One can even apply online.
How do you propose to increase voting percentage in the upcoming elections?
The election commission has started a programme called Special Voters Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) to create awareness through media.
We have also launched a campaign called 'teeka lagao' and roped in cricketer Virat Kohli as icon to reach out to the youth. As elections draw nearer, more such campaigns will be launched.