Bid to get at least 75% turnout in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls

The Chennai district election office has identified polling stations with a past record of low turnout to strengthen its systematic voters’ education and electoral participation (SVEEP) initiative that aims to encourage more people to vote.

With election day just about a week away, officials are planning to give special attention to these areas.

“Initiatives to improve electoral participation will be strengthened this week in all neighbourhoods near such polling stations. The Chennai district election office has set a target of 75 per cent voter turnout in the Lok Sabha elections,” said an official of the election office.

Officials have identified over 320 polling stations, with low turnout in previous elections, in the three Lok Sabha constituencies. The turnout in most of these polling stations ranges between 29 and 50 per cent.

The average turnout during the last election was 68 per cent for the city. The election office has started putting up 3,000 banners in all prominent places near polling stations with low turnout.

Officials will also distribute 2.5 lakh pamphlets and 25,000 vehicle stickers to improve the turnout this time.

“There has been low turnout in South Chennai because of reduced participation of IT professionals, general lack of motivation and urban apathy, distant polling stations and failure of the urban middle class to vote,” said the official.

Low turnout in Chennai Central, last elections, was because of shifting of people from tsunami-affected areas, less participation of Muslim women and inadequate participation from the higher classes.

Low turnout in polling stations in Chennai North too was because of fewer women voters and large distances between polling stations and residential neighbourhoods.

The election office has chalked out a strategy for targeted intervention, including door-to-door activities and street campaigning.

“The programmes will bring about visible improvement in the quality of electoral participation, in terms of informed and ethical voting,” said the official.

On Tuesday, the district election office received technologically-upgraded electronic voting machines (EVMs) for South Chennai Lok Sabha constituency. As many as 1,611 polling stations in South Chennai will use the upgraded EVMs for the first time, this election.

As many as 384 candidates can be accommodated in the upgraded EVMs.

Engineers will check 1,800 control units and 5,000 ballot units at Anna University on Wednesday.

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