The stress is on ensuring that voters register themselves

“The apathy of the voter costs the country dearly as undeserving candidates, criminals and goons get elected. It is this passiveness towards politics which is responsible for horse trading, nepotism, blatant corruption … in the power corridors of the elected representatives.”

These strong words are from the introduction for an article written by Sangeeta Choughule, Deputy District Election Officer of Kolhapur, in the March-April issue of government magazine Maharashtra Ahead.

In her piece, Ms. Choughule laments the poor turnout in India’s elections, and points out that even Bangladesh, a “relatively new country with a dodgy record,” has a better turnout. The stress in all this is, of course, need to raise awareness and ensure that voters register themselves to vote, a point made strongly by Chief Election Commissioner V. S. Sampath last week in Mumbai.

The Election Commission in the State is using well-known citizens to increase both voter registration and voting numbers. This Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) strategy has led to the registration of 8.25 lakh voters in the age group of 18-22 in the past one year in Maharashtra. Overall, 60 lakh new voters have been registered across the State.