EC plans model polling stations to boost turnouthttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/ec-plans-model-polling-stations-to-boost-turnout/

EC plans model polling stations to boost turnout

The run-of-the-mill government buildings that become polling stations during elections are going to be a thing of the past when Delhi votes in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

The run-of-the-mill government buildings that become polling stations during elections are going to be a thing of the past when Delhi votes in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

While the Delhi Election Commission prepares for the Assembly elections later this year,it is also readying one model polling station in each of the 70 Assembly constituencies. This,officials say,will be replicated for most polling stations in time for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections with the “look and feel” of a city going to elections.

“We are making all efforts to work on urban apathy and the aim is to motivate more and more people to come out and vote. The so far run-of-the-mill buildings will be properly spruced up,cleaned and painted with proper signages on routes leading to those buildings from all areas. The aim is to give the city a look and feel of elections,” Vijay Dev,Delhi’s Chief Electoral Officer,said.

While the Delhi Election Commission will work on one building – each building houses four to five polling stations — in each of the 70 Assembly constituencies for the coming polls,the aim is to convert as many buildings as possible into model polling stations in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections in 2014. Delhi has a total of 11,783 polling stations located in 2,600 government buildings.

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The traditional irritants that keep people away from voting,as studied by officials,are lack of facilitation measures for the public. The long queues at polling stations,the requirement to keep mobile phones away and accessibility to far-flung polling stations for people with no transportation are some of the irritants.

The EC is engaging in several contact-based programmes that are expected to motivate people to come out and vote.

“We definitely lack in facilitation measures. There is no arrangement for people waiting in the long queues. This time,we plan to put up tents and chairs for people to wait in shade in school premises,” Dev said.

People are also not allowed to carry mobile phones as a security issue; the EC is thinking in terms of providing an arrangement to collect mobile phones.

“We are looking at all the reasons that keep people away from voting and the aim is to have maximum people come out to vote. We will also reach out to each and every voter with details and a rough map to their polling stations,” Dev said.