In an enrolment drive conducted to finalise the electoral rolls before the 2017 Gujarat Assembly polls, the Election Commission of India (EC) added 9.67 lakh first-time-voters to the rolls. This list of first-time-voters includes over 4,900 septuagenarians and octogenarians who will exercise their franchise for the first time next year.
“In the special enrollment drive conducted during September-October, 2016, the Election Commission received 9.67 lakh applications (Form-6) from first-time voters. This includes applications from 3,979 persons who are in the age group of 70-79 years and an additional 956 voters who are octogenarians (80-plus age group) and will be voting for the first time in the 2017 assembly elections,” said BB Swain, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Gujarat.
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There is another 14,310 first-time voters’ applications in the 60-69 age group.
Gujarat currently has about 4.20 crore voters on its rolls and the EC plans to add about 20 lakh new voters especially in the 18-19 age group. “Among the applications received from first-time voters, 4.04 lakh applications are from those in the 18-19 age group. This is 42 percent of the total applications received so far. In addition to this, 3.71 lakh applications of first-time voters have come from the 20-29 age group. These two were our focus groups,” Swain added.
Of the total 4.2 crore voters in the state, the 18-19 age group form only 1.33 percent of the total voters in the state. Though the EC estimates that there are about 24.5 lakh voters in the 18-19 age group — based on the Census 2011 data — the names of only 3.71 lakh figure on the electoral rolls.