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10 Absolutely Valid Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Exercise The Power Of Your Vote

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Facebook logoEditor’s Note: With #JetSetVote, Youth Ki Awaaz and Facebook India have come together to create a community of millennials who are aware and informed about their voter rights and responsibilities, through a series of workshops organised in collaboration with PRIA across 50 campuses. If you're a student, teacher or admin member, register your college to organise a fun session!

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]If you are a first-time voter (or will become one soon), you may still remember those school lessons about how important voting was to the health of a democracy. Your teacher may have even said stuff like ‘practice your franchise’ when you become ‘eligible to vote’. But if all of that sounded like just plain fancy talk to you, you’re not the only one.

The truth is, though, that when it comes to going out there to vote, a huge fraction of our population doesn’t seem interested in exercising this power. Did you know, for example, that voter turnout in Lok Sabha elections has hovered around 55-66% since Independence? But let’s talk about what’s going on with youth like you and me. Until 2014, the turnout of first-time-voters (18-22 years) in the General Elections remained lower than the national average voter turnout. It seems everyone has an excuse to NOT vote! Several excuses, actually.

Team YKA decided to run those bahanas under our scanners and see whether you – the millennial voter – have a legit reason to steer clear of that polling booth. As solid as you think your excuses are, we’ve got a counter for each one of ’em, and by the end of this we think you just might be ready to #JetSetVote!

Choose an excuse for not voting.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_tta_accordion style=”modern” shape=”square” color=”white” active_section=”90″ no_fill=”true” collapsible_all=”true”][vc_tta_section title=”What am I, a tree? I moved away from my constituency ” tab_id=”1519034939484-3fe1b3e5-5a97″][vc_column_text]
You only need to inform the election commission about this. Fill Form 7 to delete your name from the previous constituency and Form 6 (with the new address) to add your name in the electoral roll in the new constituency. Submit both these forms to the Electoral Registration Officer of the new constituency and you are done.

Even migrant workers, who move a lot and get the short end of the stick with almost every government, exercise their right to vote seriously. And you still want to make this excuse?[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Yaar, my polling booth is too far!” tab_id=”1519034939549-abf24fea-1294″][vc_column_text]
This is a really bad excuse for not going out to vote. ECI guidelines require that polling stations are set up in a manner that no voter has to travel more than 2 kilometres to vote, so no polling station can be too far away. This guideline is relaxed at times due to topography, but if the election commission has set up a booth in the Gir forest for a single voter, it can be safely said they take a lot of pain to ensure that a voter doesn’t have to cross mountains to cast his vote! Don’t be lazy, please?[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Ain’t nobody got time for those looooong queues! ? ” tab_id=”1519035319289-77c756b4-28a9″][vc_column_text]

Okay, so sometimes the weather may not be as pleasant as you’d like it to be. And you may have to stand in a queue to cast your vote. But the wait isn’t infinite, you know. In fact, the ECI reviews and rationalises polling stations from time-to-time so that there are no more than 1200 voters at a station in rural areas and no more than 1400 voters at those in urban areas. Taking this fact into account, how long do you think the wait can be? Not much, we say.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Some jerk stole my wallet and I lost my voter card :(” tab_id=”1519035481129-27e6be4e-31bb”][vc_column_text]A woman laughing at a man. Text reads: Bina Voter ID vote nahi? Bade Mazakiye ho!
Don’t sweat it! You can vote even without your Voter ID. Any commonly accepted proofs of identification including PAN card, driving license, ration card, student’s ID card and passport are accepted as long as your name is on the electoral roll.
[/su_spoiler][/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Filling those forms = way too much running around!???” tab_id=”1519035556748-39bc4dd4-5c97″][vc_column_text]
Says who? You can fill Form 6 for registration online at www.eci.nic.in or on each respective state’s Chief Electoral Officer’s (CEO) website. And if you don’t have access to internet, you can send the form to the Electoral Registration Officer by post!

[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”I’m leaving on a jet plane; gonna study/work/live in ‘the foreign’ ✈” tab_id=”1519035562846-198a3e04-d7b3″][vc_column_text]A man with his fist raised. Text reads: Ye ek vote tumne nahi diya to, democracy uthegi nahi, uth jayegi.
All the best in foreign land! But just FYI, as long as you are a citizen of India, you can register for voting. Click here to know more. You might have to come down to India, though unless you are a service voter. Click here to know more about service voters.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”All this new-fangled equipment (EVM) looks way too complicated ? ” tab_id=”1519035564454-29586a62-a7aa”][vc_column_text]

Watch the video and you are ready![/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Elections are for powerful people. Not really important for aam janta like me 🙁 ” tab_id=”1519035566235-e0459f55-b498″][vc_column_text]An old man entering a room holding a stick with hands folded.
This is Shyam Saran Negi. He is going to be 100 years old. He still votes. Be like him. Moreover, from your representatives at the local level to those at the national level, everybody has a role to play in how your money is spent (watch video below), and each of these people affect how you live. If you don’t choose your representative, you’ll be foregoing the power to decide how you are governed.

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Here’s a Eureka! moment for you. You can still register as a voter if you want to vote as a resident of your college hostel. If your college is in a place different from your hometown, you would want that place to be governed well, too, right? So if you plan to vote as a resident of your college, you need to get a Student Declaration Form signed by your college authorities, and you are ready with a residence proof.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”I don’t even know the names of the candidates!” tab_id=”1519039621199-2bf7bd36-013e”][vc_column_text]
For general and assembly elections at least, the ECI uploads affidavits (containing information about candidates, such as their educational qualification, criminal history records, details of assets and liabilities) of each candidate in a constituency on its website. State Election Commissions, although promise this, haven’t always done so readily for local body elections. But other organisations, such as Association for Democratic Reforms, provide this information on their website for local body elections too. There. Done.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”My vote probably doesn’t matter much ” tab_id=”1519040141880-1526dd60-536a”][vc_column_text]
Every single vote matters! Don’t believe us? Ask A. R. Krishnamurhthy of Janata Dal (Secular) who lost to R Dhruvanarayan of Congress by just one vote in the Karnataka assembly elections of 2004. Here are four more instances from India where just one vote made all the difference.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][/vc_tta_accordion][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Got an excuse that’s not in the list? Post your excuse in the comments, and we’ll see if we can help you with it. Happy voting for the next elections![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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