In a democracy, voters are the true kingmaker. India being a parliamentary democracy, the number of voters turning out to vote on the election day is very less. So, to encourage the voters to participate in the election process, the Government of India has marked January 25 of every year as the National Voters’ Day.
Objective: Encourage Young Voters to Be Part of the Country’s Electoral Process
It was on January 25, 2011, the first National Voters’ Day was celebrated, encouraging a greater number of young voters to take part in the country’s electoral process. The Central Government, then led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, agreed to a proposal of the law ministry to celebrate January 25 as the National Voters’ Day.
Former information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni realised that the new voters who have attained the age of 18 are less motivated to getting enrolled in the electoral rolls and are not showing significant interest in the electoral process.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) then decided to start a nationwide effort for identifying all eligible voters who reached the age of 18 under all polling stations and enrolling them and giving them the Electoral Photo Identity Card every year.
Celebrating the Constitutional Right of Universal Adult Franchise on January 25
The right to vote is a constitutional right in India. And, in a democracy, every vote counts. Thus, it is the moral responsibility of the government of the day and the Election Commission of India to create awareness among citizens the importance of each and every vote and the election process.
The Election Commission of India was established on January 25, 1950. The ECI started the practice of celebrating the National Voters’ Day on its foundation day (January 25) in 2011 to encourage young voters of India to take part in the electoral process.
The National Voters’ Day is the day to celebrate the right to vote as well as the democracy of India. The main objective of Election Commission is to increase the enrolment of eligible voters.
The Power of Vote Can Be Used After Reaching the Age of 18
An Indian national after attaining the age of 18 years can participate in the electoral process of India. But the voter’s name should be registered with the Election Commission of India to be eligible to vote at the time of election. Any citizen of India can apply for the voter ID card and after proper verification by the commission, the voter ID card is issued.
Voter ID Card to Cast the Ballot at the Polling Centre
Every eligible Indian citizen having a voter ID card can cast his/her vote at the time of election. It is mandatory for the voter to show the voter ID card to the polling officials at the polling booth. The Election Commission of India allows people to vote at the nearest place that is assigned for voting.
And, after the verification, a voter can vote at the assigned polling centre. It has been prescribed by the Election Commission that the voter can also carry their Aadhaar Card, Driving License and PAN Card while casting their votes at the polling centre.
Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation
The Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) program is the flagship program of the Election Commission of India to spread voter awareness and promote voter literacy in India.
Since 2009, this program has been used by ECI to prepare electors and train them with basic knowledge related to the electoral process.
The primary goal of the SVEEP program is to build a democratic setup in India where in all citizens participate individually and directly in political decision making by encouraging all eligible citizens to vote and above all make an informed decision during the elections.
The programme is based on the socio-economic, cultural and demographic profile of the particular state and region as well as the previous records or data of electoral participation by the voters in past rounds of elections.
Steps Taken by the ECI to Encourage and Involve Voters in the Election Process
Digital Voter ID Cards
On January 25, 2021, the ECI launched the digital voter ID cards or e-EPICs (Electronic Electoral Photo Identity Cards). The digital voter ID cards can be downloaded by voters on their mobile phone or can be kept in a printable form on their computers from Voter Portal or National Voters’ Service Portal. With this, the voters in India can keep their voter ID cards in digital format.
Web Radio Hello Voters
The ECI has also started Web Radio Hello Voters, an online digital radio service that will stream voter awareness programmes and provide information on electoral processes through songs, drama, discussions and podcasts in different regional languages.
Accessibility to All Voters
xTo ensure that no voter is left behind and facilitate participation of all eligible voters in the election process, the ECI has undertaken various initiatives such as postal ballot facility, braille EPIC, transport to and from the polling station and comprehensive mapping of voters with disabilities.
The Election Commission of India in the last decade has engaged itself in generating innovative ideas and practices to respond to the emerging challenges in election management to involve every voter in promoting universal adult franchise.