Saturday, June 19, 2021
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Time to overhaul voter registration process

Yesterday, I had woken up early and had gone to polling booth to check whether my name exists in electoral rolls. After hopping from one polling station to the other and checking several list for more than two hours once again I found my name in the missing voter list. This goof up has occurred despite filling up the requisite forms and submitting necessary documents, soon after the general elections. I also had registered a complaint with the Collector’s office and on the website of the Election Commission (the complaint Registration no:MT/26/296561-24.4.14)
For no fault of mine, I have scored a “Double hat-trick” of not voting in the elections which include the yesterday’s assembly election, 2014-April Lok Sabha polls, the KDMC elections in 2010, the Lok Sabha Elections of 2009, 2004 and assembly elections of 2004. Every time I went to the polling centre to exercise my franchise I found that my name was missing. Despite carrying a entire bunch of documents for establishing my identity the authorities told me that my housing society could not be identified. Other members of my society too have been facing similar problems.

How is this possible when most of us had voted in all the previous elections which were held since 80s & 90s till 2004-2005? Why do the authorities find it so difficult to maintain a list of residents staying in a constituency in the age of computerisation? Time and again we have submitted duly filled in the enrolment form through our local corporators.

I have received a couple of calls as were asking me how this can happen and what action had been taken. On the onset of every election, we used to fulfill all the requisite formalities and were assured that “this time your names would appear in the voter list and you can vote”. But come election day, we have always found our buildings vanish altogether! This time we remained cautious and took this matter with the sitting corporator and other political parties too. Yet they only gave false assurance to us.

We have seen the high handedness of the Election Commission, which has imposed the model code of conduct in a strict manner. I think it’s high time the EC is pulled up and asked to revamp the voters registration process to ensure that every Indian citizen find his name in the voters list and be able to exercise his franchise. The new government must take this “MASSIVE NAMES VANISHING” matter and ask the EC to pull up its socks and take necessary remedial measures. Let us make the institution too responsible and accountable.

Can’t the Election Commission allow at least those possessing valid voter IDs and the newly introduced Aadhar cards to vote irrespective of his or her name exists in the voter list? A voter awareness campaign was undertaken by NGOs and several websites in our locality as we once again decided to give it another try and resubmitted photos and documents few months back. But, this initiative failed to yield results. What should we do now? The experience has been totally discouraging, to say the least and scores of legitimate citizens are being deprived of exercising their fundamental right to vote–especially when this 2014 Maharashtra Assembly elections prove to be very crucial to both political parties and voters.

S. KRISHNA KUMAR

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