It will also study the impact of initiatives taken to create voter awareness

With the city returning a low voter turnout in the just concluded Lok Sabha elections, the Chennai District Election Office is set to start a fact finding survey for the phenomenon in the three seats of the city.

“The survey will cover around 14 lakh voters who failed to turn up to vote in the Lok Sabha elections in the city. The major reasons for low turnout will be identified to cope with such exigencies in the next elections,” said an official of Chennai District Election Office.

The District Election Office had already identified polling stations with a history of low turnout to strengthen its systematic voters’ education and electoral participation (SVEEP) initiative this time.

Officials gave special attention to such areas to improve electoral participation in all the neighbourhoods near such polling stations. Still the turnout in Lok Sabha elections was lower than the target of 75 per cent in all the three constituencies.

Most of the 320 polling stations identified in 2011 with low turnout, continue to return the same in this election too, said an official. Earlier, turnout in such polling stations ranged from 29 to 50 per cent.

The SVEEP initiative is found to have improved it only in a few of the polling stations.

The study will also cover the impact on voter turnout made by the messages conveyed through 3,000 banners in prominent places near polling stations with low turnout.

Officials attribute such poor performance in 2014 to reduced participation of professionals, general lack of motivation and urban apathy and the failure of the urban middle class to vote.

In the run up to the Lok Sabha elections, the District Election Office commissioned five model polling stations to cope with urban apathy.

“The response has been good in model polling stations. The study on voters who failed to vote even in such model polling stations will throw light on the process of elections in the city,” said an official. 

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