#LostVotes: Missing — a third of India’s democratic voice

Ensuring the right for voting for those who have moved away from their ‘permanent address’.

Like today’s India, countless Indians are on the move. For work or education. And so are our banks accounts which automatically travel with us. And also our mobile phone numbers and income tax liabilities. Perhaps the only thing that doesn’t is our right to vote. That’s tied to the place where it’s registered in. Tied down by a rule that subtracts crores of Indians from our country’s democratic equation. It’s time to change this. Time to turn these lost votes into votes that count. Because they can shape the destiny of our nation.

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It’s just all numbers.

No. It’s much more. Consider this fact alone. In the 2014 general elections, 280 million Indians who had a vote — over 18 years of age and with their names in the electoral rolls — did not vote. No other democracy on this planet can even boast of as many voters.
The 20 most democratic countries (this list includes Great Britain, Germany, Spain and South Korea)  in the world have a combined registered voter base of over 282 million in their last national elections.

So, losing out on 280 million votes is not just a few lost votes and voices, but it is as bad as ignoring the collective voice of 20 democratically vibrant nations! That is HUGE. Now imagine is the 280 million lost votes are mostly young people, that’s a thriving democracy being held hostage by lost votes.

But why did so many not vote?

You’re probably thinking they couldn’t care less. I’m not denying that for one minute. I too have many friends who don’t find it important to vote and we have endless debates – we often ask them if they are even right in shaming the state of affairs in India if they couldn’t even be bothered to vote. This argument goes on….rather pointlessly I must admit.

But what does it mean to lose the voice of 280 million Indians? Keep in mind that 25% of India’s population is under the age of 25yrs. This is a large chunk of youth that actively participates and shapes the democracy that is India – the good, the bad the ugly. But they participate – and that is what counts. Not what our armchair debaters may say.
There is a whole machinery involved in making you eligible to vote – and sometimes it is this very machinery that makes registering yourself as a voter a rather cumbersome task.
What does it take to be able to vote?
1. You need to be equal to or older than 18yrs of age.
2. You must be registered on the electoral rolls.
3. You have to be physically present where you are registered on the day of polling to be able to cast your vote.
Point 3 is the hiccup in most cases.
Why are so many votes lost?
1.  You shifted to another city to attend college and didn’t update your address for voting.

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2. You got married and changed your name. And you shifted to a new city too. Double Trouble (my case too!)
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3. Your job takes you to different cities frequently. It’s really cumbersome to have to keep updating your address.

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It’s strange how effectively and efficiently other services keep up with the changes in your life.

You can port your mobile number across states, and now even across telecom service providers.

You can update your Aadhar details online as frequently as you need to.

Your bank account details don’t change. You can move across India and bank seamlessly.

So if everything keeps pace with you moving – why does the same not apply to our vote?

The Times of India initiative to make our votes mobile like us is great and really the need of the hour. We are just a few months away from another big election so let’s make our voices heard.

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Support the petition at www.lostvotes.com

I support this campaign and I urge you to do your bit as well. The Times of India campaign, conceptualised and created by J Walter Thompson, believes that Indians on the move within  the country are as entitled to their franchise as those living abroad or serving in the Army.

Thru the #LostVotes campaign, Times of India will submit a petition to thew Election Commission of India and our jolly netas (!!) to make it possible for EVERY Indian to vote irrespective of where he/she maybe temporarily located. If we have the political and administrative will, today’s wolrd certainly has the technological will to make that happen.

 

 

You can support the campaign #LostVotes and check your voter details on the National Voters’ Service Portal.

Forms are available online to update your details.

 

At the very least, ensure you are on the voter list.

Jai Hind.

 

 

 

 

1 thought on “#LostVotes: Missing — a third of India’s democratic voice

  1. A very good initiative which will change the way results are artificialy manipulated otherwise by bribe, Goodies & caste. If all the so called literate class make relevant changes and use their democratic right to vote, future looks only promising for this great nation. Jai Hind…. 🙂

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