Nearly 2.6 lakh youngsters who turned 18 this year will not cast their votes in the coming Delhi assembly election.
The reason is not apathy or hypocrisy. But because these 18-year-olds are simply not eligible.
According to the Election Commission of India guidelines on enrolment of voters, for an election to be held in a particular year, only an individual who has attained the age of 18 years as on January 1 of that particular year is eligible to be enrolled in the voter list.
According to Vijay Dev, chief electoral officer, of the estimated 6.4 lakh 18-19 year olds in the city, 4.5 lakh are registered as voters.
The remaining 1.9 lakh voters, along with the estimated 70,000 migrants who are in the city and are eligible to vote, are out of the loop because a majority of them had not turned 18 by the cut-off date of January 1, 2013.
“For Delhi Assembly elections 2013, anybody who is 18 years of age as on January 1, 2013 can be enrolled as a voter. Anybody turning 18 after that cut-off date can be included only in the voter rolls of 2014. Consequently, all individuals turning 18 between January 1, 2013 and November 6, 2013 cannot be included in this year’s electoral rolls,” Dev said.
The election commission has been running a massive voter registration campaign, which includes tie-ups with schools and colleges for registration and awareness.
“When we started in October 2012, only 93,811 electors between 18 and 19 years were enrolled. We have reached the figure of 4.5 lakh within a year,” Dev added.
According to him, the state election commission has got a lot of emails and calls regarding the ineligibility of those who have turned 18 this year.
“We have received a lot of feedback from youngsters regarding the matter. It clearly shows that they are not apathetic. The youngsters that we have interacted with are extremely enthusiastic and zealous and have broken the stereotype that they don’t care about what is happening in the country,” the chief electoral officer added.