How to make everyone cast their vote

Last Updated 22 March 2014, 20:27 IST

EC tries all tricks to get people to polling booths

Over 57 per cent electors had cast their votes in the capital in the 2009 general election, the sixth-highest turnout among the states and union territories in the country.  It was 66 per cent in the Assembly election last December. 

The Election Commision has been trying to push the percentage higher. And this includes taking care of complaints of people missing from the electoral roll. Acknowledging the complaints, several measures mere begun after the Assembly polls to revise the electoral roll.

“Through advertisements published in leading newspapers, such persons were requested to provide their residential and EPIC (Elector's Photo Identity Card) details to us through email, by post or in person. Over 1,500 persons availed this opportunity and got themselves re-enrolled,” says Additional Chief Electoral Officer Neeraj Bharati.

He explains the rules. “Having EPIC, which is only an identity document, does not give right to vote to any person. Therefore, all persons were requested to check their name in the electoral roll to make sure that they are able to cast their vote on April 10,” Bharati adds.

Special camps were organised at all the polling stations in the capital on March 9. The electoral roll was displayed for people to check their names. If the name of anyone eligible to be enrolled was left out for some reason, they were requested to fill an application and hand it over to the booth level officer.

“Special camps were organised at 11,763 polling booths and over 1.7 lakh people applied for enrolment in the electoral roll,” Bharati says. People could also check if they were on the electoral roll by visiting the official website of the Delhi’s Chief Electoral Officer Vijay Dev, or by sending a phone message. 

In January, there were 1.23 crore eligible voters in the capital, of which 68.5 lakh were men, 54 lakh women and 332 transgenders.  

Important prerequisite

According to Dev, an accurate and error-free electoral roll is the most important prerequisite for a fair election. It has emerged that electoral malpractices like bogus voting and impersonation, in a large part, result from defective electoral rolls.

“For enhanced participation of electors in the election process and reducing the electoral malpractices, it is essential to improve the quality of the electoral registration process and of the electoral rolls. Therefore, adequate stress was laid on the preparation and revision of the electoral roll,” Dev says.

The model code of conduct has become operational and is being enforced by the district election functionaries and Returning Officers.

As per section 171-B of the Indian Penal Code, any person giving or accepting any gratification in cash or kind during the election process with a view to inducing any person to exercise the electoral right is punishable with imprisonment of up to one year.

“Flying squads have registering cases against both the giver and taker of bribe, and taking action against those who are engaged in threat and intimidations of electors,” Dev adds.

Delhi Police have been sending a daily report to the election commission. Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi will also hold a coordination meeting with his counterparts from neighbouring states at the Delhi Police headquarters in the coming week. 

(Published 22 March 2014, 20:27 IST)

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