Editor’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!
In the last general elections, only 50% of India’s 150-million-strong young voting population actually turned up to cast their vote. What was it that kept India’s millennials – widely perceived as one of India’s greatest strengths – from voting? And more importantly, how can we ensure that voter turnout among India’s youth increases by the time of the 2019 general elections?
Last month, we turned to our readers for answers. As part of our campaign with Facebook, #JetSetVote, we ran an Ideathon contest on Youth Ki Awaaz, asking young people on the internet to share their ideas on how to make voting interesting and engaging for Indian millennials. And the responses did not disappoint – we received some very cool ideas from hundreds of users who wrote in! Take a look at the top 7 entries below:
Voluntary Internships: Youth and students can intern under the ECI to spread awareness and fulfil other duties at the end of which they will be awarded performance-based certificates to add to their CV.
– Siddharth Sharma
Why shouldn’t we use smartphones for voting? Government has started to link Aadhar with a mobile number. So if we also link the voter card with Aadhar, then our mobile numbers will automatically get linked with voter ID card. Now, voting can proceed with security measures. – Praamod Yogiraj
The biggest complaint I’ve heard from non-voting friends is that waiting in line is too tedious. Free WiFi at polling stations can make it more fun. This can be extended by partnering with telecom operators to give 100 MB free data to anyone who votes. Beyond this, the EC should also partner up with e-retailers. Anyone who connects to the booth WiFi should get discount coupons on their phones. This would work as an amazing reward. – Shyam Nandan Reddy Uppuluru
The Election Commission can host some exciting competitions to engage youth on the issue of voting. Participants could be asked to create documentaries or posters and their entries can be shared on social media. The best entries can also be given exciting prizes. Through this, voting should be trending on all social media platforms! – Abdul Rahman
Educate the youth about the importance of their votes: The first step is to make youth understand through social media (Facebook and WhatsApp) campaigns that by not voting, India will be governed by the choices of those who have voted. Equally important is to ensure new voters understand the option of NOTA, so they can choose not to vote for any candidate. – Aishwarya Sandeep
Vote and get concessions on public services: To give young people an incentive to vote, voters can be given a choice as to which public service they want the concessions for (public transport, bank fees). That particular service will be available to the voter at a subsidised rate. For example, a voter living in Delhi may be given concessions on the Metro fare. – Shikhar
Celebrity endorsements can get Indian youths to vote: If the Election Commission can get celebrities to endorse voting on billboards and online, like private advertisements – imagine glamorous Deepika Padukone on a billboard in Varanasi showing the voting ink on her finger – young people will automatically begin to associate voting with being “cool”. – Keertana S
Three of these innovative, refreshing and unique ideas will be selected to win cash prizes of up to ₹10,000. And five will be shared with the Election Commission! For a look at other entries that were both insightful and informative, but did not make the cut, check out our Ideathon page.
And those who couldn’t participate this time, don’t worry! Youth Ki Awaaz will be hosting two more contests very soon – so stay tuned and keep checking our #JetSetVote page for updates!
About #JetSetVote: #JetSetVote is a nationwide movement to make voting fun, interesting and engaging for the Indian millennial. As part of the campaign, Youth Ki Awaaz and Facebook are organising workshops across 50 campuses in India to train first-time voters as conscious citizens and educate them about their voting rights and responsibilities in a fun and engaging manner. Find out more, here.