EC working on a plan to increase turnout this time

  • Bhawani Negi, Hindustan Times, Shimla
  • Updated: Apr 30, 2014 23:34 IST

With voter turnout in the Lok Sabha polls never crossing 60% over the past two decades, and the highest since 1977 recorded at 65.32 %, the election commission has prepared a plan for Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) plan of action to increase voter turnout, something that will be measured by the enhanced electoral participation (EP).

It has always been observed that voter participation has also been lower for the Lok Sabha elections than the assembly elections.

Under SVEEP, monitoring and evaluation mechanism will be used. Targeted campaigns on major gaps like gender urban, youth, weaker sections, and physically challenged have been planned besides targeted intervention at polling station levels.

CEO Himachal Pradesh, Narinder Chauhan said, “This time we have adopted a unique mechanism undertaken through the SVEEP plan, which is distinct to each district that has been chalked out on need-based, analogous and suits the geographical, cultural requirement of the particular districts. There is also the adoption of modern technology to motivate voters. The other component which is the registration has witnessed good results and we hope to see a rise in voting percentage this time.”

The EC has conducted a situational analysis that has identified 10% polling stations in each constituency with the lowest EP ratio in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

Analysing the evidence, according to the SVEEP for low EP shows, that the main gap was in registration between 18-19 years as the age group They move to other states for pursuing their higher studies, they seem to lack awareness as to how and where to vote and also do not take interest to participate in the electoral process.

The survey for non-participation in voting cites adds that as local issues are not much involved (more of national issues) in the manifesto of political parties contesting Lok Sabha elections electors do not seem to be motivated in exercising their franchise.

The parliamentary constituency is bigger in size comprising of many assembly segments electors of assembly segments from which no candidate is contesting elections do not take interest for EP.

The objective of the exercise is manifold, to bring the electoral participation (EP) ratio to be closer to the 18-plus population as per the census data, to remove the gender gap in enrolment and turnout, visible enhancement in the quality of EP in terms of informed, ethical and inducement free voting in tandem with supply side expenditure control measures, increasing postal ballot voting by informing, motivating the service voters.

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