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51115Re: Reasons for low voting turnout

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  • karmayog.org
    May 1, 2009
        Smita Shah   wrote: 

      In the aftermath of the huge let-down by Mumbai's voters, here are some suggestions for immediate action points.
                   1. Aggressively engage in counting the no. of defunct voters on the registered voter lists - deceased, shifted, etc.  This will give us a more accurate result of the voter turnout percentage.  We might just find that we've actually achieved 50% or more.  In any case, ratifying the voter lists is a crucial exercise to be carried out before the Assembly elections.

                  2. We could try to obtain the names of those who have voted and then engage in an MR effort targeted at those who did not, to find out the reasons why they chose not to vote - heat, apathy, holidays, NOTA (none of the above)?  The findings  would help us develop focussed drives through meetings, web and ground events, emailers/other aimed at sensitizing the disillusioned/apathetic voter to come out and vote the next time. We mustn't give up!

       But to implement these and other similar ideas we need a network. The problem that I faced in last 3 months is lack of  individual volunteers in each building of CPRA at Cuffe Parade. That is something we could not work out in that short period, though I could develop good contact in each building's society, their chairmen and/or secretary.

      For updating of the Voter's list, knowing the reasons for low Voter's turn out, for new additions, for inspiring, getting residents out for voting and all such related activities, if there are at least 2-3 people in each building who volunteer to take it up, then only it is possible.

      For all this we need to work at times other than elections. The question is how to motivate the residents ?
      My suggestion is to form a Voters' Awareness Club ( or association or group, or whatever is suitable ). The residents will be motivated to join this if they can see few direct benefits of joining such a group.

      So if we can chart out the functions and responsibilities of this group, list the benefits the residents will get for themselves and set up a network between the individual volunteers & their respective building societies, AGNI  and the Election  Returning officer , then we can evolve an ongoing  system on a long term basis.

      I can think of the following ideas as benefits for the residents :

      1)  The residents will have face to face contact with the persons ( as they would be from their buildings) who are handling the issues related to their names in the voting list, Use of various types of Forms, their Id cards, who are the candidates at various elections (with proper information of their backgrounds etc.), about their voting booths and part numbers etc.

      2) Before the day of the election, this group can set up machinery for necessary awareness regarding voting, find out how many people are  not going to be in town to go for voting, make sure all those who voted before their names are in order in the voter's list, convey the residents any problems that the EC  RO is facing and vice averse.

      3) On the day of the election, the group can help the voters to identify & reach their booths, help senior citizens in process of voting, Serve Water to people standing  in long que to vote during the day ( this time there were complaints for this too ) etc.

      Each building's representatives can take care of their own building. Thus whichever building's society joins the above group, their residents will benefit from it. For enrolment to the group, the society's managing  committee should be approached  and explained the benefits for its residents. Each such committee has various sub-committees to work out various functions of the societies.  They can create  a 'Voter's Awareness committee'  for their society.   

      Please send your thoughts on this idea of forming  'Voter's Awareness Group'.

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