March 25, 2009 1:42:09 am
Jaago Re,Indias first online voter registration campaign,is all geared up for the Election Day
We wake up every morning and go about our daily chores,blaming the municipality for the garbage outside our building or the government for the potholes,but not making the effort to vote. But Jasmine Shah,coordinator of Jaago Re Campaign decided to become the agent of change in 2007,and what a change its been. Shefali Gomes,a call centre employee,is 26,but this is the first time she will be voting. I was unaware of the nitty-gritty of voter registration. Jaago Res website made it easy, she says.
Many others like Gomes have registered this time,thanks to the campaign that has revealed the power of the finger. Change in governance has to happen from within. I wanted to engage with the process,rather than be a frustrated citizen, says Shah who launched the campaign in association with Janaagraha,a Bangalore-based NGO,and Tata Tea. The aim was to help people navigate the difficulty of voter registration. We wanted to create Indias first online engine that helped citizens fill their voter registration forms,with the help of interactive maps, says Shah. But tapping the youth and making use of technology like the Internet always works more efficiently.
With the elections in a mere few weeks,the Jaago Re team has their plate full. It is during the next 10 days that we are giving the final thrust to voter registrations, says Ashika Korula,outreach associate,South zone. With almost 8,000 people registering daily on their website jaagore.com,it looks like the election will result in a nail-biting finish. We hope to reach the milestone of five lakh online voter registrations by March-end. Currently, we are at 4.85 lakh, says Shah.
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Getting the youth to vote may be a challenge for many,but if one plans well,one can achieve it,believes Shah. Small wonder then,that they have come up with Shut up and Vote,Indias first rock show tour to encourage the youth to turn out and vote in large numbers. A Bangalore-based band Thermal and a Quarter,is touring five citiesChennai,Kolkata,Delhi,Mumbai and Bangalore this week.
After all,music helps communicate better, believes Shah.
They have also started work on their next phase which will unveil the candidates before the elections begin. We will be putting up comprehensive profiles of all candidates standing in the major metros so the youth can make an informed choice. We will also be mobilising thousands of citizens to become Booth Level Volunteers in their communities prior to Election Day,and do door-to-door campaign to get a higher urban voter turnout, says Korula.
The 14-member team that has an average age of 26,works from three citiesBangalore,Mumbai and Delhi. We have an eminent Advisory Board (includes Narayana Murthy,Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and T S Krishnamurthy) who provide us strategic guidance, says Shah.
On this note,wake up and vote.
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