In a bid to enthuse first-time voters to cast their votes in the Assembly elections, the district election office will launch mobile phone call centres on Wednesday.

This measure best suits a district like Namakkal – an emerging education hub where lakhs of students are pursuing their collegiate education in 43 groups of institutions.

District Collector and Election Officer S. Madumathi told The Hindu that the idea behind launching the call centres is to bring about an attitudinal change in the minds of fresh voters and help them exercise their franchise.

“On one side, we talk about ethical voting and on the other side we have to ensure an increase in the number of educated and urban voters,” the Collector said.

Mrs. Madumathi said that letters were initially sent to principals of close to 55 colleges about the centre and the minimum requisites such as a small room that has mobile network coverage and a laptop with internet connectivity to check the election commission website.

Free SIM cards (one for every college) would be distributed to 35 arts and science, engineering and teacher training colleges that showed interest and provided the list of student volunteers who would be available in the call centres on a shift basis. “We hope that the centre will function round the clock as students can easily carry the mobile phones to their homes and access the laptop,” she said.

These numbers would be publicised in the college. Students can get in touch with the centre to identify the booth in which they have to cast their vote, by providing his/her voters identity number.

If students do not know the number, they can still get the details of the booth by giving details such as name and parent/guardian name.

Only incoming calls would be permitted to the call centre and a proper register would be maintained by the volunteers to keep track of the calls made, Mrs. Madumathi said.