In the previous assembly election held in 2012 out of a total of 1,54,169 voters as many as 53,684 people did not exercise their franchise at 182 polling booths across the nine legislative constituencies . The booths have been identified as ‘low turnout booths’. Concerned over this, the district electoral officer (DEO)has ordered 182 booth level officers (BLOs) to conduct a survey in their areas regarding the matter.
The BLOs have been asked to identify the causes and prepare a detailed report on why people failed to vote despite several measures including awareness programmes conducted to motivate them for casting votes. The reasons will be then shared with the observers and efforts will be made to change the statics for the upcoming assembly elections. Going by the details gathered, a total of 21 such booths had been identified in the Cantonment constituency where around 9,761 voters out of total 20,614 failed to vote. Previously Phillaur (SC) had 23 booths with a low turnout.
A total of 21,115 voters were registered at these booths and only 14,428 persons voted . Similarly, Jalandhar West (SC) had 16 such booths which had 15,616 voters but only 9,013 exercised their franchise. A total of 9,755 people voted at 17 polling booths of Central constituency out of 16,202 voters.
District electoral officer Kamal Kishor Yadav said, “The reasons for low turnout can be many including the geographic locations of booths, shifting of voters from one area to another especially migrants.” “This needs to be reported so that steps can be taken accordingly.” said Yadav.
He also added that in order to improve the polling percentage of a special plan will be drafted. He further said that at these 182 polling booths, the administration will hold voter awareness rallies and people will be asked to fill pledge certificates.
“The postmen have been engaged in the activity of appealing voters,” said the DEO. He said that the postmen will deliver the appeal letters along with other letters or bill.
He said that the special programme Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) is already being run by the district administration in collaboration with the non-governmental organisations and others.
Apart from SVEEP, the administration has also started a campaign in schools, colleges and is targeting social media sources for motivating people .
“The awareness programmes have helped in motivating the residents, especially youth in rural areas.” added an official pleading anonymity.