Poll office goes shopping for young voters

Even as political leaders and parties go online in an attempt to woo the younger crowd in the electorate for the upcoming general elections,prospective voters between the age of 18 and 29 seem to be missing from the photo-electoral rolls prepared by Delhi’s electoral office.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:February 28, 2009 12:17 am

Net cast in colleges,even schools

Even as political leaders and parties go online in an attempt to woo the younger crowd in the electorate for the upcoming general elections,prospective voters between the age of 18 and 29 seem to be missing from the photo-electoral rolls prepared by Delhi’s electoral office.

According to Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Satbir Silas Bedi,young voters in the Capital are ‘highly under-represented’ in the electoral rolls finalised by the department.

While Delhi has registered around 1,10,60,000 voters for the Lok Sabha polls,those in the ‘young’ age bracket constitute about 39 per cent of the electorate in the Capital.

“The number of applications that have come to us in this age bracket is very low. We are now planning to tie up with schools and principals of colleges to encourage voters to have their photo-identity cards made,” Bedi said.

The electoral office will be accepting forms over the next month,Silas said. “Anyone can submit requests for updating or correction of data with the required forms till March 20. We will,however,not accept forms in bulk,” she added.

The election office had run an extensive campaign,famously known as the ‘Pappu’ campaign,during the Assembly polls last year,encouraging young voters to come out and vote. Nearly 30 lakh first-time voters had cast their votes in the election.

The other age groups not well represented in the rolls are in the bracket of 50 to 59 and 70 to 79.

According to Bedi,the electoral office had received around 10.4 lakh applications,out of which only 4.3 lakh names have been added. The rest of the forms were rejected because of errors or because they were incomplete.

“Errors include untraceable addresses and mandatory columns not being filled up,” said Bedi,adding that around 38,000 forms were rejected just because they were not duly signed by the applicant.

As per the updated list,3.17 per cent voters have been added after Assembly elections,with Vikaspuri having the maximum number of voters at 2.47 lakh. At 0.85 lakh,Delhi Cantonment has recorded the lowest number of voters registered.

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