Not just politics, voting too is snakes & ladders game

Politicians are past masters at the game of snakes and ladders. But it is now the turn of the people, who vote them in and out, to learn the rules of the game.

With Lok Sabha elections round the corner, the Election Commission is encouraging government and non-government organisations to set up Voter Awareness Forums (VAFs) in offices to make employees “empowered voters”. And to make learning about electoral processes fun, the EC has introduced games like snakes and ladders for members of VAFs.

The EC’s own snakes and ladders game can be printed on a flex and laid out on the office floor, where employees in groups of three or six play with a facilitator calling out numbers ‘one’ to ‘six’. Players then make the moves, from Step 1 to Step 36.

While ladders correspond to “do’s” for voters and officials, snakes are the “don’ts”.

For instance, if a player reaches Step 10, which says “You motivated a soldier to register in the Voters’ List”, he will find a ladder that could take him all the way to Step 26. Another step that would earn a ladder is Step 21, which says “You took proof of your identity to the polling station”. But a snake takes a player down Step 12 if he lands at Step 28, which says, “You voted under the influence of money, alcohol or another enticement”. A player who reaches Step 36 is an “Aware Voter” and exits with flying colours.

Other games that make the exercise fun include “Stapoo”, describing the stages of voting, a “Maze” giving information on the various forms used in the electoral process, “Ludo” on accessibility in elections and a “Circle” to raise awareness about electronic voting machines and voter-verifiable paper audit trail devices.

The commission has also encouraged VAFs to hold quiz competitions to raise awareness on voting.

CEC Sunil Arora said that the founding fathers of the Constitution gifted the universal adult franchise. “It is, therefore, our collective responsibility to preserve this right,” said the CEC.

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