Maharashtra Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao today called for a survey to gauge reasons of low voter turnouts in certain areas and find ways to address them.
Rao was speaking at the launch of the mascot, news letter and various social media initiatives by Maharashtra State Election Commission at Sahyadri state guest house here.
“It was very thoughtful of the State Election Commission to have forged partnerships with various organisations and launched technology-driven initiatives like ‘Operation Black Dot’, ‘Gupshup’, ‘Facebook Messenger’, etc with a view to connecting the youths, first time voters and, perhaps, even the reluctant voters with the election process,” said the Governor.
He said that he wished the Commission works with all universities and colleges to ensure greater participation of young voters in the election process.
Rao also said according to the 2011 Census, the population of Maharashtra is 11.23 crore and by any conservative estimate, the population of the state has surpassed 11.5 crore by now.
“This means, population of Maharashtra alone is higher than the population of Germany, Australia and New Zealand put together. The job of the State Election Commission is therefore no less tough than the job of election conducting authorities of these countries,” he said.
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Rao said in our country, people, especially in rural and semi-urban areas are more enthusiastic about the elections and take great interest in the democratic process.
“They will go to the polling booth even if they are ill. One fact we have to admit that people in rural areas are more serious to exercise their franchise than urban people,” Rao said.
“However, the voter turn-out in Municipal Corporation election, especially in Mumbai is relatively low. In some areas, the voting percentage is less than 40 per cent,” he added.
“I think we must conduct a survey to find out why voter turn out is low in some areas, so that specific steps can be taken to redress the issues,” Rao said.
The Governor further said the transfer of names from one place to another is very tedious and there are many people who are registered elsewhere and find it difficult to transfer their names to their present place of residence.
“I think we must explore ways to make the process of transfer of names easy. Secondly, there are some countries where there is automatic registration of voters once they turn 18. I think, we must explore the possibility of involving colleges and universities in the enrolment of students,” Rao added.
He said every care should be taken to make sure that the names are not deleted without proper scrutiny.