BENGALURU: As Karnataka gears up for the Assembly elections next year, an awareness campaign to bring first-time voters to voting booths has started taking shape. Through a series of events have been planned at several locations, the United Bengaluru with its “Register to Vote” campaign aims to educate first-time voters about the process of registration.
Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Chandrasekhar said that he reposed his trust in today’s youth who would take the dismal voting turnout of 58.27% in 2013 in the city to 70% in 2018.
“The absence of first-time voters in elections leads to a candidate winning with only 17% of total votes. It allows wrong people to come to power. You can change the narrative,” Mr Chandrasekhar said.
Social activist and electoral analyst P.G. Bhat drew the attention to the difference between students’ body election, where the turnout is 99.99%, and the assembly elections where the voter turnout is poor.
“A good leader can make a transformation and good leader can only be elected through voting. Earlier, the voting age was 21 and today it’s been reduced to 18. Today’s generation should be excited and happy that they are choosing their leader at an early age,” he said.
When Ms Maureen Almeida, student coordinator, commented that most of the candidates do not resonate with the young minds, Mr Chandrasekhar said that by being a part of the electoral process, the young can send signals to political parties to work on issues that they want addressed.
“Barriers are built subtly to stop first-time voters from registering. Today, we have 50% of voters who have not registered, while the other 50% though registered do not turn up to vote,” he said.
It was highlighted that the election is one of the democratic processes were the rich, poor, young and old have an equal stake and one should participate in the process to make the nation more robust.