Making Our Voters Empowered, Vigilant, Safe and Informed
National Voters Day is an occasion to appreciate the remarkable contribution of the EC to strengthen our democratic fabric and ensure smooth conduct of elections. This is also a day to spread awareness on the need of ensuring voter registration, particularly among the youth.Narendra Modi
The National Voters’ Day is observed on January 25 every year to mark the Election Commission of India’s foundation day in 1950 and being observed since 2011. This day is meant to encourage, facilitate, and maximise enrolment of new voters. Voting is the central pillar of any functioning democracy and India, since its first general election in 1951, has adopted the principles of universal adult franchise. The 2019 Lok Sabha elections have seen a record turnout of 67.11% out of over 900 million registered voters.
Commemorating the day includes conferring the National Awards by the President to election officials, who gave their outstanding performance in the conduct of elections in different spheres, including in voter awareness and outreach. This year’s special initiatives are launching ECI’s Web Radio: ‘Hello Voters’, an online digital radio service that will stream voter awareness programmes. This year also marks the beginning of e-EPICs (Elector Photo Identity Cards), a digital version of the Elector Photo Identity Card can be accessed through the Voter Helpline App and websites
The successful conduct of elections during pandemic has added another feather in India’s cap of Election Commission. Be it the biennial election to the Rajya Sabha, bye-elections conducted for 60 constituencies in various states of the country or Legislative Assembly Elections in Bihar, one of the biggest such exercises the world during the pandemic.
It is not the voting that’s democracy; it is the countingTom Stoppard
Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) has been in the news during the elections in recent times. The losing political party raising doubts about its dependability and keep quiet when they win. Historically EVMs were first used in Kerala’s ‘Parur Assembly’ polls in 1982, later in the limited constituencies in the 1999 Lok Sabha elections. From Lok Sabha Election-2004 the EVMs are being employed in the Lok Sabha and State Assembly elections.
Many people do not cast their vote by giving one simple excuse – their vote will not make a difference. There have been many instances in history where everything came down to that one vote. One may recall Atal Bihari Vajpayee, losing the no-confidence motion and his Prime Minister ship in the Parliament by a single vote. There are incidents where contestants are becoming victorious by one vote. Yes, your vote matters. It is your fundamental right and responsibility. Next time elections are around ensuring that you cast your vote.
Keeping in tune with the developments it is time more changes in exercising your voting rights to be brought in. Taking cognition of the reality that many in our country live and work in places far from their native places, making a provision for such voters to cast your vote at the place of their residence at the time of polls goes a long way in increasing the voter turnout. Similarly introducing postal voting facility for elders is another initiative long overdue. Conduct of elections must be inclusive and technology to be employed effectively. Despite the sword of uncertainty and doubt hanging against bringing out changes in the way people vote, more changes are due.
Kudos to the election commission for the smooth conduct of such a large country, with enormous diversity. One of the ways of paying tribute is for everyone to exercise their right to vote.