A letter to the first time voters of India
Image Source: Unsplash.com
The ongoing 2019 Lok Sabha elections will see participation from 15 million new voters in the age group of 18-19. With analysis showing that the youth vote may be the golden key in as many as 282 seats across 29 states in 2019 - this is your time to shine. Elections are uncertain, and parties are using everything from social media communication to quirky campaigns to get your attention.
According to a Twitter survey, 80% of Indian youth uses social media to stay updated, this might lead to much confusion for many of you first-time voters who might feel overwhelmed by the choices presented. Feeling confused is normal, but knowing what your options are and getting the facts straight is extremely important too. So, since this is your very first time, here are some things you need to know about voting.
When in doubt use the helpline
If all your other sources of information seem confusing, here’s the perfect solution. The Election Commission of India has a voter helpline to give you any and all the required information about the Elections 2019. You can call to find out your own details on the electoral roll or check on the status of your application by dialling 1950 (toll-free).
Hi-tech, tamper-proof voting
Worried about the numerous stories of vote tampering and polling station captures in the past? This election, the government has introduced Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) across all constituencies to safeguard every vote including that of the precious first timer. To make things easier, the EVM’s will have the picture of the candidate by the side of the party symbol, so you are 100% certain of whom you want to give your support to this time around.
The NOTA option
Going out to vote is essential at the very least to safeguard your vote against misuse. However, what do you do if you don’t have faith in any of the members standing for elections? Head to your polling station and click the NOTA or None of the above option - the most empowering option provided by the government. It allows young voters to express their dissatisfaction with manifestos that are big on promises and inadequate on honourable people who will make them a reality.
Self-aware and concerned young voters are the most significant political force India has today. Because yours is the voice that demands actionable plans for the poor and underprivileged, you must wield your power by asking for a government that is genuinely answerable on important issues. You must elect leaders who willingly work for sustainable development, eliminate educational quotas, work for better public health options and make basic necessities accessible to all.
Simple voting process
Every vote is important and the country needs you to show up in large numbers and make the tough decision of either letting the existing party build and make good on its promises or giving a new set of leaders step in and take us forward. Instead of the election slip, this year the process is more straightforward than ever before. All you need to do is show up with any one of 12 valid documents to show as identity proof including your PAN card, Aadhar card or even your passport and cast your vote.
While many of you are rightly excited to cast your first vote, it is also within your scope to talk others out of the apathy they feel and convince them of their all-important role in making democracy work. How? Show up to vote early and help others in your community who need assistance to get to the polls. It’s that simple!
Remember, the government in power will only reflect our needs and thoughts when we vote and make our collective votes resound across the country. There are only a few phases left to go before the counting of the vote on May 23rd, 2019. So, go out and vote - this is your chance to be a proud, participating Indian!
Button Dabao Desh Banao is a Network18 initiative, presented by RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, urging every Indian to VOTE in the ongoing general elections. Follow the conversation on social media using the hashtag #ButtonDabaoDeshBanao.
This is a partnered post.
Your guide to the latest election news, analysis, commentary, live updates and schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on firstpost.com/elections. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates from all 543 constituencies for the upcoming general elections.