National Voters’ Day: A Clarion Call for Voter Registration
My heartfelt greetings to all of you on National Voters’ Day!
I convey my greetings to the Election Commission of India, which came into existence on this day. I congratulate the EC of India for having steadfastly stood as a guardian and protector of the most important democratic process in India – elections, for over 6 decades.
Electioneering in India has come a long way since the first-ever General Elections in 1952. From ballot papers we have moved to EVMs; earlier, if counting of votes could even extend beyond a day, it is now a matter of hours for the picture to become clear. Earlier, elections could turn extremely violent. Booth capturing prevailed in some parts but now violence and other electoral malpractices have reduced substantially.
Yes, things have truly changed! Yet, some issues merit our attention.
If there is one important issue even today, it is to further increase voter registration. The past several elections across India have seen record turnouts. This is a positive sign but there remain several people, particularly youngsters who despite being eligible are not registered as voters. The Election Commission has been extremely proactive in increasing registration but with more help from citizens, we can go even further.
We need to think about strengthening voter facilitation through innovative means such as mobile registration kiosks.
The duration between the time one submits the voter registration form and the time when he or she gets the voter card is long. It would be great if that duration is shortened and the citizens are updated on the status of their application.
Similarly, we must ensure that proper voting facilities are made available to our brave army personnel who are tirelessly serving India, especially those posted on the border areas. Some work has been done in this regard but we still have a very long way to go.
It is also the need of the hour to infuse our election processes with even more technology, innovation and look towards the future. We need to explore a more user friendly on line voter registration system. Further, we need to use mobile technology for voter registration, information dissemination about polling booths etc. It is also time we start discussing the possibilities of online voting, though admittedly it has its inherent challenges.
Last year the Honourable Supreme Court gave a historic verdict, giving voters the option to vote ‘None of the Above.’ The verdict was a step in the right direction but its true essence will come out when we are able to successfully institutionalize a near universal voting for our citizens through facilitation for voter registration and voting. Every citizen must rise to the occasion and contribute to the strengthening of our democracy.
Friends, never underestimate the value of your vote!
A vote is the most effective tool in the hands of the people to express themselves and make their voice heard. Even the ‘strongest’ of leaders are mere pygmies in front of the ballot box. The best example is the 1977 Lok Sabha elections. Intoxicated with power, overconfidence and authoritarianism, the ruling party and the Prime Minster declared elections. Censorship was near complete and dissenting voices were silenced but when the people spoke they spoke louder than everything else. This is the power of your vote.
At home, let us pledge to become proactive and ensure that we register maximum friends and family members as voters and then ensure that they participate in every single election from the local body to Lok Sabha elections.
Getting a voter card does not mean you are a voter! Do remember to check your names on the voter list and if your name is not there or you have shifted residence, please complete the required formalities to get the list updated. Eligible voters with voting cards being turned away from the polling booth because their names are not there is deeply unfortunate and you only can ensure this does not happen to you.
My special message to my NRI friends is to ensure eligible NRI voters are registered and eligible NRI voters come to India and cast their vote on the day of polling.
Making Mission272+ a success…
One of our several endeavours to make Mision272+ a success is to reach out to as many voters be it new, registered and eligible but unregistered and connect with them.
I urge all our Party Karyakartas and volunteers to identify those voters that are not registered and assist them towards registering as voters. Help them fill form 6 and help them submit it to the BLO. www.India272.com can also help you in voter registration and meaningful engagement with voters.
I urge you all to show your support to Mission272+ by SMS-ing your EPIC/ Election Voter ID to 0 78200 78200. Do the same with family members and friends.
On National Voters’ Day, let us take a pledge to make our democracy stronger and more participative in the years to come! Our nation is at a very crucial crossroads- now is the time to free our country from the shackles of poverty, corruption, votebank politics, misgovernance and use our vote to create a progressive and vibrant nation. This time, ‘Let us Vote for India!’