EC should continue to do more
The recent conclusion of Phase 1 voting for elections in 91 constituencies has resulted in a skewed voter turn-out ratio.
The recent conclusion of Phase 1 voting for elections in 91 constituencies has resulted in a skewed voter turn-out ratio. The outcome of such a voter turn-out may only be known further as the election progresses in the upcoming phases and may perhaps have an impact with the announcement of results.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) this time was very proactive to mobilise voters to the polling booths with various voter awareness drives including Systematic Voters' Education and Electoral Participation program (SVEEP) with the creation of an exclusive SVEEP division.
The division has striven hard to create voter awareness programs but for the outcome the voter turn-out expectations witnessed in the first phase of elections. It has now resulted ECI to conduct further extensive outreach programs and thus aim achieve a better voter turn out in the upcoming phases.
The other outreach factors as adopted by ECI such as a dedicated voter express train carrying the message of voter awareness, providing assistance to Persons with Disability (PwD) through 'Matdata Mitras' as volunteers, selfie contests encouraged on social media, extensive awareness drive to use CVIGIL app, 1950 helpline and NSVP portal etc are also appreciable.
Perhaps an overworked ECI was time bound to enforce too many regulations related to Model Code of Conduct, Electoral Bonds etc. Thus the due attention required to achieve high voter turn-out through extensive campaigns perhaps took a back seat for now.
ECI should now also strive to bring innovative measures to reduce waiting time of disheartening long queues at polling booths.
The voters are patiently forced to wait in the scorching sun especially in the rural areas and perhaps may act as a deterrent factor resulting in low voter turn-out.
Smart and quicker queue management at polling booths through technological innovation by ECI is highly a need for the hour.
Varun S D, Bengaluru