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Voters’ Awareness and its Importance

Posted by Admin on November 4, 2014 | Comment

In democracy, it is not simply enough to inform voters about election dates. In order to help the electorates take an informed decision, it is quintessential to sensitise them about the importance of participating in the electoral process. Moreover, voters need to be educated about the process and made aware of the political parties, their manifestos, backgrounds of the contesting candidates and armed with several other information to help them cast an ‘enlightened’ vote.

Voters’ Awareness and its Importance

Efforts of Election Commission to Create Voters’ Awareness

In one of the recent efforts to motivate voters to exercise their right to vote and deliver information on the polling process, the Election Commission of India launched its internet channel – ‘Voter Education Channel’.  The channel has a repository of video clips of eminent personalities from all walks of life encouraging the electorates to “go for the most important right of an Indian citizen — that of the vote.” Even the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) has done his bit in this channel by explaining the importance of voting.

The channel also contains the video clips of the speeches delivered by the state election offices asking voters to exercise their franchise. These videos, available on YouTube, have a wider reach. Some of the video clips of this channel also give details about the process of using the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) and its functioning. It also contains links to videos that inform the voters about the NOTA option procedure.

Vote for India Campaign

Another significant development in the domain of voters’ awareness creation has been the launch of Vote for India campaign. This programme is a brainchild of a voluntary organization – Mass for Awareness. With an aim to promote democratic values, the campaign leverages both online and offline channels to make voters aware of the value of their invaluable vote and how each vote can strengthen democracy.

Vote for India is considered the country’s first campaign that publishes yearly research based report on the performance of Indian MPs and other “Representatives at Work”, which gives voters a fair idea of who has walked the talk and who has failed to keep up to their expectations.

Besides the performance of people’s representatives in Parliament, the website of Vote For India is also replete with wide range of information pertaining to democratic process and electoral system. The website also has audio-visual content and real-life stories that motivate voters to cast their votes. The offline campaign of Vote for India adopts different strategies to target each group of voters.

What has greatly helped their cause is their work towards accumulating information, documentation of data, and dissemination of the findings of research through several mediums.

What is Voters’ Awareness Observers ?

It was only a couple of years ago that the Election Commission of India decided to implement the idea of appointing “Voters’ Awareness Observers” whose job will be to see the level of information and motivation among the voters. The primary objective behind appointing these observers is to ensure that the voters remain motivated enough to cast their votes.

The first and foremost duty of these awareness observers is to tour all over the states, interact with voters and assess their awareness about poll dates and location of polling station in their constituency. They also conduct a study on whether the voters are aware about the registration in electoral roll, use of EVMs, voter’s photo identity card, ethical voting and paid news syndrome. The observers also check whether there has been enough publicity about the upcoming polls. By assessing the impact of voters’ awareness campaigns the observers try to ensure increased voters’ turnout during the polls.