On 7th May 2009, Delhi showed the way in the last phase of the Lok Sabha polls.Unlike Mumbai, Delhi showed that “we care”. With the highest voter turnout in the past 20 years, Delhi declared that we are aware and we will decide our leaders.
While people from all sects came out to vote, the rural Delhi emerged as the one with higher voter turnout. With a turnout of 53% Delhi has a reason to pat its back.
We can now say that Delhi is not a city which only protests. Delhi is a city who backs its voice, demonstrations, anger and outrage by effectively excercising its right to vote.
But is 53% enough. Didn’t we expect more. West Bengal had the highest voter turnout of 75% which is certainly commendable. A number of Delhiites gave excuses such as office, colleagues, work at home. Some also said that they were unaware of the candidates so didn’t know whom to vote for. Many also said that they did not vote because they couldn’t find any candidate who could meet their demands.
All these and more contributed to a majority of people not voting at all. People do not understand that voting is necessary. The law enables a voter to decline casting his vote at the last stage. If you decide not to cast your vote after having signed on the Register of Voters and after having received the voters’ slip from the Second Polling Officer, you must inform the Presiding Officer immediately. He will then take back the voters’ slip from you and proceed to record in the remarks column of the Register of Voters that you have declined to exercise your Vote and you will be required to put your signature under such entry. After this is done, you can leave the polling station without proceeding to the Voting Compartment. Thus, by this way one can deny voting for any candidate.
At least this could have been done.
Well, many did not vote because they “could not” vote. At many polling booths the names of the voters were not present in the voting list even though they had their voter ID cards. This just shows how crippled our system is. Due to this a huge number of voters were unable to vote.
One such voter Shiv in an article said “I have spent the last 5 hours trying to vote in Gurgaon. Yet i haven’t been able to. The system does not allow me to. I don’t think i will be able to. This is the reality.
This is not just my story. It is the story of hundreds of people who i met at the various polling booths that i ended up visiting today. Who says voter turnout is low? People came to vote in huge numbers but most of them gave up in frustration because they could not find their names on the list.
I can’t believe that things can be so badly organized. The lists are all jumbled up with neighbours having to vote in different polling booths situated 5 kilometers apart. Forget neighbours, in some cases even family members have their names in different lists and locations. People are sent from one booth to the other with the officials having no idea what is happening.”
One can be sure that if such hurdles would not have been in the way, the turn out could have been better.