Pune: ECI to Meet with Municipal Commissioners and DEOs from Low-Polling States to Improve Voter Turnout in Lok Sabha Elections

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Sumit Singh & Tikam Shekhawat

Pune/New Delhi, 4th April 2024: In a proactive move aimed at addressing the challenge of low voter turnout, the Election Commission of India (ECI) is set to convene a meeting with Municipal Commissioners and selected District Election Officers (DEOs) from 11 states with historically low participation rates in elections. This unprecedented initiative seeks to devise strategies to boost voter turnout in the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections slated for 2024.

Scheduled for tomorrow, April 5th, 2024, at Nirvachan Sadan, New Delhi, the conference will bring together key stakeholders to brainstorm and formulate targeted action plans tailored to address the issue of low voter turnout, particularly in urban and rural areas. The Chief Election Commissioner, Shri Rajiv Kumar, along with Election Commissioners Shri Gyanesh Kumar and Shri Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, will lead the discussions.

Urban apathy and rural-to-urban migration have been identified as significant factors contributing to low voter participation, as underscored by CEC Sh. Rajiv Kumar in previous statements. In the 2019 General Elections to the Lok Sabha, 11 states and Union Territories, including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Telangana, Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir, and Jharkhand, recorded voter turnouts below the national average of 67.40%.

Of particular concern are the 50 Parliamentary Constituencies (PCs) with the lowest voter turnouts, with 17 located in metropolitan areas or major cities, indicating a troubling trend of urban disengagement. Additionally, over 50 rural PCs across nine states have been identified for focused discussions and strategy development to enhance voter participation.

The conference will see the participation of Municipal Commissioners from key cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune, Thane, Nagpur, Patna Sahib, Lucknow, and Kanpur, alongside select District Election Officers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. As part of the initiative, the Commission will also release a booklet addressing voter apathy, aimed at raising awareness and fostering civic engagement.