Most absentee votes from posh areas of city, finds EC study

‘Who will be the next Chief Minister when the votes are counted on May 2,’ is the topic of discussion from tea shops to the power corridors of state Secretariat. But, there is a section of voters in Chennai who had never voted in their lifetime, rue state election commission officials. And they hail from the posh parts of the city such as the Boat Club, Mylapore and Besant Nagar.
Most absentee votes from posh areas of city, finds EC study


A recent door to door study and micro-level campaign by district election officials in Chennai had revealed that there are thousands of eligible voters, who have not visited any polling booth since attaining 18 years of age, failing to exercise their democratic right. 
EC officials add that some of them have voted when they were young and have lost interest in elections and politics. “We also have found voters missing in their address on the day of polling. Besides, there is a need to check on the double entries in electoral rolls,” said an official. 
Most of them don’t vote fall under 40 to 55 years of age group. SEC has taken efforts in the form of door to door campaign to identify such voters and insist them to vote. “But that did not bring in the expected results this polls as they did not step out of their homes,” admitted V Muniyan, nodal officer of systematic voters education and electoral participation programme, district election office Chennai. 
He added that they had identified 248 polling booths that have recorded low voter turn-out in the previous polls and awareness drives were conducted in these localities. “The younger population voted on April 6, but those above 40 years of age have the reluctance to vote,” the official added. 
Besides COVID-19 fear, reluctance and vacation planning have also brought down the poll percentage in Chennai to 59.06 per cent, the lowest in the state. “We are now examining the other options to lure these voters and most of them do not connect with elections and electoral politics. Then some voters leave Chennai during the time of elections either for vacation or to their native districts,” Muniyan said. 
“Though we have failed in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and 2021 general Assembly polls, we will retry again through creative awareness programmes to ensure that the polling increases in the next election,” he concluded.

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