Re: [karmayog] Reasons for low voting turnout
- There is no practical Forget using new card , I have a Voter ID Card and was sent back ,
The helpline 1290 was useless and was giving other numbers to contact which were spoilt numbers.
The list had name of my expired uncle but not mine
Till last election I used to vote .
If you have the belief to choose your road,
If you have the courage to stay on it,
If you have the conviction to surmount the rough stretches,
If you do.... you will find that the road begins to follow you.
- From: Kanan Dhru <kanan.dhru@...>
For last several weeks, I had been putting a lot of my time and efforts in making sure as many people were registered to vote for the coming Lok-Sabha elections. I also participated in the process of Matdata Jagriti Abhiyan – whereby we disseminated information regarding the contesting candidates as well as knowledge about right to vote amongst urban as well as rural population in Gujarat.
And finally, the D-day was today – ‘a festival of democracy’ as they call it! The day which would decide fate of hundreds of contesting candidates and the day for which so many civil society movements had worked so hard for! Today, the sovereignty would transfer from people to their representatives. And naturally, I was extremely excited. On my way to the polling booth, I started thinking about who actually I was going to vote for!! I thought about the background check of candidates I had carried out a few days ago and remembered how I had felt let down on knowing who the candidates were. Even though after working so hard in making sure as many people came out and voted on the election day, I could not believe, I myself was an undecided voter!
I saw a poster on my way to the polling booth ‘If you don’t vote on 30/4, consider yourself a handicapped for next 5 years’. Yes – I was on my way to vote, but I was already feeling handicapped for the right choice! I was supposed to choose from a list of candidates in which many had criminal records, many were post-60 years and so many who had not even studied upto graduation. I felt saddened at how little any of these candidates had to offer. I felt saddened, all the more, at the thought of choosing a candidate from those who practically made no efforts to come and talk to people in my constituency as to what we expected of him/her. I felt saddened that I was voting for someone who I had barely any interaction with, someone who did not even care which way I voted. I got off from my car and my eyes could not help but notice a sticker I had posted on it some days ago ‘Acche ko chune, Sacche to chune’ (vote for the good, vote for the truthful) and I felt shaken. Where are all the good and truthful candidates?
At the polling booth, I first went to a stall which helped me check my name in the Voting list. I noted that it was a booth of a particular political party. I tried interacting with them about who the candidate was and what he had to offer. Unfortunately, those workers started convincing me that I should vote for that person because he was from a particular caste. Distraught, I went to a stall by another political party. Unfortunately, the volunteers at that stall were not even sure about the candidate’s background/election promises. I felt let down again.
Inside the polling booth, I got the mark on my hand and then asked the presiding officer if I could refrain from voting as per Form 17-A and thus, my vote would be ‘a cancelled vote’ (ps: not the same as ‘none of the above’). The people standing in queue behind me started looking at me with dazed eyes and started talking amongst themselves. The presiding officer and his assistant requested me to co-operate since this would cause a lot of unnecessary trouble for them and would require them to fulfill a lot of needless paperwork.
I was confused! On one hand, there were candidates who did not deserve to be sent to Delhi, on another there were these government servants, who were working very hard in making sure the process went as smoothly as possible.
I prayed to God to enable me to do the right thing. Silently, I went behind the partition and pressed a button on the Electronic Voting Machine. My vote was cast! Yes – I voted but disillusioned and distressed.
On my way back, I wondered… will this vote be against corruption, against terror, against inefficiency – as the television advertisements kept portraying? Will this vote be for the future of our children? Will this vote change the future of our country?
Well, it would be – if only we consider this vote as a start of the process of change and not the end.
- From: bhamyVinay,we can add some more reasons to your list. But the real reason is that many do not know the value of their voting. If one were to tell (for the sake of argument) that evero one would be given Rs 500 or Rs 1000 for casting their votes, how many of these reasons will be overcome?In reality every vote is valuable and we as a society has not realized this. This lesson should be taught early in the schools and continued to be reinforced through the media.Bhamy
- From: "Nita Luthria"
I agree that doing anything in our country, however good your
intentions, is difficult and riddled with unnecessary obstacles and
If you are persistent though and want to get something done, you can.
It took me several visits to the ERO, much searching on the web, a
couple of calls to the helpline no but I managed to get my husband's
and my names on the electoral rolls in the Colaba constituency. While
my name could not be located by the helpline, they gave me my
husband's serial no. and booth details. We went to our booth. The
officials there were courteous and most helpful; they helped me find
my name and we did not have to wait too long.
The point I am making is that don't expect things to be smooth but
work with the inefficiencies in the system but, for God's sake, don't
be indifferent just because it is not easy. Bombay truly deserves the
inefficient government it has got if it continues to be so apathetic.
This was an important day for Bombayites to get together and truly
show they cared. It saddens me that the vast majority didn't.
Knita Luthria Row
- 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'.
1. All slum voters are not unthinking or uneducated or necessarily vote for the 'wrong' type of candidates.. And slum dwellers are not content to remain in the slums. They have normal aspirations like you and me. And they wld like to get out of the slums and become millionaires. In the meantime they would like to vote for anyone who can deliver minimum survival necessities.
2. Political parties are encouraged by the middle class to put up criminal candidates because the middle class informs the poltical parties that we will not bother to go and vote against your criminal candidate.
3. The middle class 'vote bank' has still to reach a critical mass whereby the political parties will be forced to find candidates acceptable to the middle class vote bank.
4. By not voting the middle class has indicated that it has no interest of building a vote bank which demands clean candidates.
5. The middle class chooses to believe that even tho' they will not vote, the country will somehow have a democratic framework where atleast they will somehow be left unscathed and be allowed to work, live without major hinderance.
6. Perhaps the middle class is begging for a dictatorship or bloody naxal revolution for 10 consecutive years to convince them that for them to literally remain alive they�should have�voted in a�largely peaceful, functional democracy.
7. The middle class cannot justify with various arguments that he will not vote and leave it at that. He needs to say that
1. I do not vote and therefore�i do not believe in democracy
2. since i do not believe in democracy or voting, i thereby indicate� my preferance for�autocracy, communism, terrorism as the form of govt. in my country.
8. The middle class cannot�sit back and say that till�such time that there is utopian / ideal democracy / electoral system in my country, i cannot be bothered to participate and hopefully till then i can somehow be allowed to shell out money for electricity, water, maids, minimal law and order, reasonable schooling, annual holidays. That the money / taxes i pay should be the extent of my participation in my country's democratic institutions. Beyond that don't expect anything from my enlightened class i.e. the middle class ( much superior class to the slum dwellers who unfortunately go out in the sun and vote ).
- Ha ! This time the causes are not many and the causes have no political overtures. Mumbaites are always craving for holiday and Election Commission situated at Delhi has overlooked the opportunity in 1st May holiday being followed by Saturday and Sunday. Four days of holidaying in this recession wherein employees are compelled to do overtime, denied holidays and have no words before management.
Sanjay Nirupam and similar Northern candidates will have a tough time and a sure defeat. Their vote bank i.e. North Indians are all out of Mumbai in their villages. Native candidates shall have an upperhand.
Let's accept the fact that we can never have a perfect voting as in 100% voting. At best, 65% would be an achievement and a record breaker. Not that voter have apathy to present election process, the fact is that there is a segment of citizens who give a damn to election and India's fate. These people do not participate at any forum - may it be their cooperative housing society, local area welfare association, municipal election, state election or parliamentary election. This segment (about 30% size) shall forever remain dormant and these are not the target audience for Neo Political attempts.
Sunil S. Rathi
- If you are one of those who did vote then you need to take a bow !!------------------------------------------------------------------
An appeal to Bombayites from the Rest of India&Dear Bombayites,
After your polling day debacle here are a list of things that we in the Rest of India do not want to hear/see/receive from Bombayites ever after. Please note this is an appeal to Bombayites, not long suffering, hardworking yet dutiful Mumbaikars (because of whom, the city was saved from total and utter disgrace on polling day - 30 Apr09).
1. Please do not make childish arguments using dubious and meaningless statistics as in "Bombay contributes 5 % to India's GDP, 60 % Customs Duty, 40 % Income Tax, 20 % Central Excise, et al. If you still feel compelled to do so, add another one: 100 % of the hypocrisy! Ok - maybe that's a bit harsh - 50 % will do!
2. The next time you feel outraged about something, just stay at home or buzz off to Khandala or wherever (like you did on Polling Day). Do not under any circumstances take to the streets in your Fendi shades and Manolo Blahnik shoes carrying smart-ass posters & banners. And for God's sake - candles are for your birthday cakes, not for littering the Gateway of India and Marine Drive.
3. After the next disaster (God willing it never happens, but if it does) do not send each other (and us) emails with subjects like Citizens Crisis Preparedness where you urge each other to engage with the local police station & fire station, learn first aid & self defence, strengthen your home and your ward, etc. etc. You only end up doing absolutely nothing and looking like the silly hypocrites you are. We wanted to tell you earlier, but thought that you would be too upset after 26/11 to heed good advice (and we were right).
4. For the tiny minority amongst you who want to "be the change you want to see", do not ever stand for elections again. Because you will not only lose your security deposit but worse; you will end up feeling like shit since all your friends, compatriots and cohorts will desert you on polling day and buzz off to Khandala or wherever.
5. Do not ever complain that your names were struck off the voter's list - that is really pathetic. It is your job to ensure that you are on it, not the polling officer's and not your servant's or your secretary's!
6. Do not express outrage at your politicians and elected representatives ever again - you just lost the right to do so. Do not proffer the excuse that the Political Parties put up the same old candidates. This was your chance to change the way they operate - and you blew it! Actually we (Rest of India) thought you had changed but the political parties obviously knew better!
We, i.e. the rest of India will always love and respect Bombay/ Mumbai, but we have finally given up on you lot.
- Couldn't find names, so didn't vote, says survey
20% failed in search, 25% others not listed
After the hullabaloo over the low turnout of voters in the Lok Sabha elections, a survey has found that nearly 45 per cent of those who did not vote for the Lok Sabha elections were not listed in the electoral rolls in polling booths they visited in the neighbourhood, as many names were in booths located elsewhere after delimitation.
The survey of "silent" voters, conducted by Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini (RMP) in Mumbai, Thane and Pune from May 7 to 12, revealed that either people could not find their names in electoral rolls (20.51 per cent) or names were not listed in the rolls despite completing the process (24.83 per cent), thereby robbing their right to franchise.
The questionnaire survey was conducted through door-to-door meeting, interviews at ballot centres, by e-mail and telephone among around 5,000 citizens who did not vote in the Lok Sabha elections. It collected information from 1,252 residents of Mumbai by door-to-door survey, 1,052 at booths, 402 residents of Pimpri-Chinchwad and 2,090 residents of Pune.
As many as 38.56 per cent residents of Pune and 24.88 per cent residents of Mumbai said their names were missing from the list and that the process of listing names is cumbersome. Also, 29.19 per cent in Mumbai and 27.54 per cent in Pune said they did not renew the names in the list or could not find their names in the list. "Owing to delimitation, there has been a large majority who did not find their names in the voters' list even when they stepped out to vote. More than not voting, there were technical glitches that prevented people from voting," said Dr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, director-general of RMP.
Sahasrabuddhe suggested establishing a permanent mechanism for voter registration and list verification at post offices, branches of nationalised banks and incentives to political parties for establishing a unit manned by trained persons for election management.
Moreover, as many as 3 per cent voters in Mumbai and Pune felt that voting will not make any difference while 4 per cent said they no longer trust political parties. Of the 132 residents who voiced their opinion over phone, 35 said they had no confidence in political parties as they did not fulfil their promises, engaged in horse-trading after elections or forge post-poll alliances with rival parties.
"Our observation on the basis of the survey is that people above 50 expressed their disappointment with political parties and candidates. That was the reason they said they did not vote. Moreover, some said they did not have any choice in selecting candidates," said Sahasrabuddhe.
- Make the voter count
Any unseemly political wrangling will defeat the purpose of the polls
The idea behind many of the high voltage campaigns in the run-up to Election 2009 was to get people to shake off their apathy and make their vote count. Many responded positively, especially from among the 570 million of the population under the age of 25. This explains why 60 per cent cast their vote, despite a scorching summer in an election that has cost the exchequer Rs 10,000 crore or $2 billion. In contrast, the year-long US elections cost $1.8 billion. The Election Commission has conducted this mammoth exercise in an exemplary manner, something acknowledged across the political spectrum.
All of this explains why the voter will be disappointed at the post-poll spectacle that does not seem in any way to reflect the spirit in which he voted. Before the contours of the future government have taken shape, indeed before the figures are out, we have the CPI(M)'s General Secretary Prakash Karat saying that the Left does not want to back a Congress-led government and at the same time will work to keep a BJP government out of power. This sounds like obstructionist politics to us. Then we have political worthies demanding that democratically elected state governments be given the chop in return for their support to a government at the Centre. Similarly, we see an unseemly jockeying for the top post even before the first ballot has been counted. In this display of Macbethian ambition, many in our political class seem to have forgotten that people voted for a stable government that could deliver on a better quality of life, especially in these economically fraught times.
We can only hope that wise counsel will prevail and the government formation process will not become drawn-out and ugly. If that happens, it will only generate further cynicism about the political process. If we had hoped that the youth would find some message that would appeal to them in this election, we were sadly mistaken. This could fuel a dangerous disconnect between young people and the political process. All the political formations owe it to the people to try and stitch together a government which can get on with the task of shepherding the economy through these troubled times and continue building Brand India on the world stage. Anything less would be an injustice to the people and their continuing faith in the great traditions of our democracy.