The Election Commission is keen to use networking sites, blogs and other social media platforms to get new voters to register for the upcoming civic elections. The reason - the city has witnessed a 17-lakh increase in the number of voters and most of them are below the age of 30.
According to the data available with the State Election Commission (SEC), the number of eligible voters in Mumbai has increased to 1 crore from 83 lakh in 2007. The figure was 66.17 lakh in 2002.
The data was updated after the recently conducted census. But what could be of most interest to political parties is that out of the 1 crore voters, a sizeable number is below 30 years of age.
The figure is not final since the officials have to check for duplication. However, SEC officials said the total number was likely to go up by a couple of thousands due to the registration drives that the Election Commission will undertake.
"The number of voters has shown an increase in the past five years. Nearly 65% of the city's population of 1.4 crore is now eligible to vote," said a senior official from the SEC.
With an increase in young voters, the Election Commission is turning to new-age media to get their attention. Social networking sites and blogs will be used to create awareness about the polls. Special pages will give details of how to enroll yourself as a voter, along with addresses of collection centres.
"We are planning programmes to make registration easy and fast," said Chand Goel, additional chief secretary, state election commission, Maharashtra.
Goel said they were also targeting places such as coffee shops and fast food joints. They plan to keep enrollment forms at these locations, which can be submitted to the staff present at the site.
"We will be roping in students, NGOs, and celebrities to create a mass appeal for the registration drive," said Goel.