IN FOCUS:YOUTH VOTE Lok Sabha Election 2019

98% of Tamil Nadu’s youth keen to vote, says survey

Raring to vote: The State is said to have the highest proportion of youth voter interest in the country.

Raring to vote: The State is said to have the highest proportion of youth voter interest in the country.   | Photo Credit: File Photo

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Nearly 9 lakh find place in electoral rolls

In a recent survey conducted by Twitter India’s #Powerof18 youth engagement initiative, nearly 98% of Tamil Nadu’s youth said that they will vote in the upcoming elections.

It was an indication that the State had the highest proportion of youth voter interest compared to other States in the country.

Over 8.98 lakh voters between 18 and 19 years of age have found a place on the electoral rolls from Tamil Nadu as of January 31.

“We expect the numbers to increase before the election as youngsters are still being encouraged to apply for a voter ID card. The EC has been reaching out to the public, both young as well as older voters, to gear up to vote, through booth level officials and various initiatives through the Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) programme,” said Satyabrata Sahoo, Chief Electoral Officer, speaking about the campaign this year.

In the run-up to the 2016 Assembly elections, the Election Commission, in an awareness campaign that dabbled in memes, videos, social media engagement and several other interesting formats, encouraged the first-time voters to sign up for EPIC cards as well as make their vote count.

“We noticed that there was a gap between the number of youngsters that the census showed us and the ones that actually turned up to vote. The EC was keen on getting more young people to vote as well as engage in a conversation about the process,” said Bala Manian, strategy head at OPN advertising, which spearheaded the campaign.

Rajinikanth punch dialogues, posters with the ‘Be like bill’ and ‘That 90’s kids’ meme formats and videos with celebrities urged people to cast their votes. It was part of a hugely popular campaign that began a few months ahead of the elections.

They began to drum up interest on social media and leveraged formats that seemed to be popular with youngsters. “Our focus was also on addressing voter apathy in urban pockets among citizens of all age groups. It was important that we didn’t speak down to the people or lecture them, but get their attention and engage with them to do the right thing,” Ms Bala recalled, about their campaign.

Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, there is no visible campaign or drive by the EC. With bypolls for 18 Assembly constituencies to be held on the same day as LS polls, the first-time voters have the rare opportunity of exercising their franchise twice on the same day.

Mr. Sahoo said they would be engaging with the first-time voters and the public through various forms of media.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 12:59:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/lok-sabha-2019/98-of-tamil-nadus-youth-keen-to-vote-says-survey/article26526120.ece

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