ECI holds meeting to discuss strategies to increase voter turnout in LS polls 2024

New Delhi, April 5 (UNI) With an aim to increase voter turnout in the ensuing Lok Sabha polls, the Election Commission organised a conference on Friday with municipal commissioners and district election officers (DEOs) of 11 States and Union Territories which had low voter turnout during the previous elections.

During the meeting, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar Directed Municipal Commissioners and District Election Officers (DEOs) to create a movement in which people are self-motivated to vote.

Municipal Commissioners from major cities and select District Election Officers (DEOs) from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh deliberated together to chart a path towards enhancing voter engagement and participation in identified urban and rural PCs, the ECI said in a statement.

An array of innovative voter awareness campaigns, including rolling out public transport and sanitation vehicles adorned with essential election messages, incorporating voter awareness messages into utility bills for widespread dissemination, collaborating with Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) and voter awareness forums, and utilising various platforms, including hoardings, digital spaces, kiosks, and Common Service Centres (CSCs), to disseminate voter education materials, were also outlined by ECI in the conference.

Addressing the event, Kumar said, “A total of 266 Parliamentary Constituencies (215 Rural and 51 Urban) with low voter turnout have been identified, and all concerned Municipal Commissioners, DEOs, and State CEOs have been called today to find ways to reach out to voters in a targeted manner.”

He emphasised a three-pronged strategy of providing facilitation at polling stations like queue management, shelter parking in congested areas, targeted outreach and communication, and involvement of critical stakeholders like RWAs, local icons, and youth influencers to persuade people to come to polling stations. CEC Kumar directed them to prepare a booth-wise action plan for enhanced participation and behaviour change. He asked all MCs and DEOs to prepare different strategies for urban and rural areas and plan interventions accordingly for different target audiences.

He also urged the authorities to act in a manner that instills pride among the voters in participating in the democratic festivities and called for a movement in which people are self-motivated to vote.

11 States and UTs, namely Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, the NCT of Delhi, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Telangana, Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan, J&K, and Jharkhand, had a voter turnout lower than the national average of 67.40% in the 2019 General Elections to the Lok Sabha. Out of the total 50 Rural PCs across 11 states identified with lower voter turnout than the national average in 2019, 40 PCs are from Uttar Pradesh (22 PCs) and Bihar (18 PCs). In UP, 51-Phulpur PC recorded the lowest turnout of 48.7%, while in Bihar, 29-Nalanda PC recorded the lowest turnout of 48.79%.

The conference was chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar, along with Election Commissioners Gyanesh Kumar and Shri Sukhbir Singh Sandhu.

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