CEO hopes for raise of 3rd gender voter percentage in future
Delhi Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ranbir Singh said the turnout of transgender voters in the seven Lok Sabha seats in the city might not be very high this time but hoped that things will improve in the future.
New Delhi: Delhi Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ranbir Singh said the turnout of transgender voters in the seven Lok Sabha seats in the city might not be very high this time but hoped that things will improve in the future.
Delhi has 693 transgender voters and 23.09 per cent of them exercised their franchise on May 12. This is the first time that they voted under the category since the Supreme Court had declared them as "third gender" in 2014. "We did some special campaigns for the voters who for some reason get marginalised for instance transgenders, homeless and persons with disability. For transgenders, we did a special project with the help of NGOs. The district election officer of Chandni Chowk did a special programme for their inclusion," Singh told PTI.
The turnout of transgenders was not very high, but awareness has gone in and in the future the turnout will increase rapidly, and also because of this project we made a beginning, he added. "We will engage with them more and also let them feel proud," he said.
In the case of third genders, Singh said the Delhi poll body went deep into the problems they face. "Why they are reluctant to come out and why they are under-represented in the voter list? One was the general reluctance that we addressed through mobilisation through NGOs and second was lack of awareness among our officials because the documents that they would bring either had male or female written on them. "We sensitised our staff and told them to take self-declaration from the third gender voters," he said.
Another focus of area was the homeless voters that the Delhi poll body reached out to this time. The poll body did a special campaign for the homeless on April 6 and 7 at all the night shelters in Delhi with the help of the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB).
One has to furnish three documents for voter ID cards -- age proof, residence proof and a photograph of yourself. The residence proof was an issue with the homeless people, he said, adding that they roped in an NGO working for the homeless people and asked it to ensure that these people apply. "Wherever they stayed for the night, we would send our officials there. Or if they came to the voter centre and said that they stay at a particular night shelter our person would visit there at night and verify their antecedents," he said.
About 10,000 homeless voters were enrolled through this. "However, there is no identifier to know how many among them cast their votes. But I have directed that NGO which helped us getting the homeless voters enrolled to find out how many of them casts their votes. "That data might not be fully reliable, but we will at least get some numbers," Singh added.