The ECI expects at least seven lakh more to be admitted to the electoral list before the elections. The process of registering new voters in Maharashtra will be on till March 30.(HT File / Representational Photo)
The ECI expects at least seven lakh more to be admitted to the electoral list before the elections. The process of registering new voters in Maharashtra will be on till March 30.(HT File / Representational Photo)

Lok Sabha Elections 2019:Over 20 lakh first-time voters in Maharashtra not yet registered

Election Commission officials suspect a level of apathy among first-time voters, but some who have tried to register online have complained of facing technical problems.
By Surendra P Gangan | Hindustan Times, Mumbai, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON MAR 22, 2019 11:21 AM IST

Of approximately 65 lakh voters in the age group of 18-22 years in Maharashtra, who could be first-time voters in the upcoming elections, only 42.95 lakh are on the state’s electoral rolls, according to the Election Commission of India (ECI).

The ECI expects at least seven lakh more to be admitted to the electoral list before the elections. The process of registering new voters in Maharashtra will be on till March 30.

According to ECI’s estimates, every year, at least 13 lakh children turn 18, making them eligible to vote. By this calculation, at least 65 lakh should belong to the age group of 18-22 years. The number of registered votes from this age group, however, is 42.95 lakh. Of them, 11.90 lakh are between 18 and 19 years, which is less than half of the total 28 lakh people in this age group. The number of registered first-time registered female voters in the age group is low at 17.32 lakh while the number for men is a more respectable 25.13 lakh.

Sharad Kumar, state coordinator for Association for Democratic Reforms, said, “We have been demanding full-time employees for voter enrolment as the loaned employees from other departments lack interest and experience.”

After freezing of the electoral rolls after its summary revision, the ECI started two special, state-wide drives on January 31, to enrol new voters

“We expect at least nine lakh to be admitted as voters after due scrutiny of documents. At least seven lakh of them are first-time voters,” said an official.

Officials suspect a level of apathy among young voters, but some who have tried to register online have complained of facing technical problems. “There were complaints related to the server, but they have been fixed now,” said an official. “First-time voters help improve the percentage of voter turnout and hence we have been concentrating on them for the past few years. Beside drives in colleges for registration, we have appointed sportsmen and youngsters from various fields as brand ambassadors to attract youngsters to enrol themselves. The percentage of enrolment is far better than it was five years ago,” said an official in the office of the chief electoral officer.

For complete coverage of Lok Sabha Elections 2019, click here

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