The Maharashtra State Election Commission (MSEC) has decided to allow citizens that will turn 18 before January 1, 2017 to cast their vote in the BMC polls slated for February. To do so, they will have to enrol themselves with the election commission in the ongoing voter registration drive, which began on September 14 and will end on October 14.
Between February and May next year, polls will be conducted for around 15 municipal corporations and 26 Zilla Parishads. Of these, 10 municipal corporations including Mumbai will have elections by February and March while the other five will have polls by April and May. Mumbai, Thane, Ulhasnagar, Pune, Nashik, Nagpur, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Solapur, Akola and Amravati will witness the first phase of the polls, while Bhiwandi, Malegaon, Latur, Parbhani and Chandrapur will witness the second phase.
“We want the youth to participate in the election process. This includes those who will turn 18 — the eligible age for voting in the country — even on January 1, 2017. To get them on board, we will allow them to register with the commission as an eligible voters,” said JS Saharia, commissioner, state election commission.
The commission has started voter registration centres across Maharashtra for new voters to register and for existing voters who wish to register changes in their name or address, he said. The centres are located at tehsil offices and polling booths.
The MSEC is using social media to approach the youth in a bid to make this drive a success. “We use platforms such as Facebook and YouTube, where we upload videos and other materials, asking them to register with the commission,” Saharia told reporters.
The presidents and secretaires of housing societies have been asked to help the commission by asking their society members to participate.The state cooperation department sent letters detailing the same to each housing society, said the election commissioner.
There are around 40,000 housing societies in Mumbai.