Maximising youth voting ­­­ By: Parul Purwar

Figure 8:Number of people who got registered as voters

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Figure 8:Number of people who got registered as voters

The challenge that faces this particular task is the selection of the most cost effective media tool. The AIDA principle applies here. Awareness leads to interest which leads to desire leading to action. key people in the villages could be targeted to influence the youngsters.

A student council could be developed in academic institutions; the councils would increase voter awareness among their peers. It might be possible to combine the acct of voting as a stepping stone to becoming a grown up.

  1. Celebrating National Voters’ Day and Week

Eighteen years is a significant age. It symbolises the end of secondary education for many. At this age, in India people are eligible to drive, open bank accounts, donate blood and join the defence force. Turning 18 is celebrated in India. Thus in the same vein, the attainment of the voting age was celebrated by organising the National Voters Day (NVD).the impact of National Voters’ Day was tremendous.

The objective of NVD is to get more voter. It aims at developing seriousness among youth and enabling them to become mature and aware voters. An action plan should be prepared for voters at the district level and panchayat level, for celebrating national voters’ day. Youth icons should be involved to inspire voters. Voter awareness cells can be set up in Election Commission at state and centre level. Organizing seminar, workshop, debate, quiz on democracy, politics, election, enlightened / ethical voting, good governance, citizenship, value of voting, power of a single vote and why young people must exercise their political choice and vote could be done to make the young voter aware.

  1. Youth Participation beyond Voting:

The objective here is to make voting behaviour a sustainable practice, one that gets passed on from one generation to the other. For this one can integrate voting education into curriculum in higher secondary schools and colleges. Include voter awareness in programs and activities of India’s 300,000 civil society organizations for changing the mindset of could alls issue a system of incentives to voters such as Ration cards, driving license, BPL, bank loans and social benefit schemes. Forms can be distributed at the school level and college level.

Villages could be given incentives as a whole. Like a village with 100% voting can be declared as Gantatra gram, and be provided better facilities. This scheme could be developed along the lines of model villages.

  1. Recognizing the contribution of Volunteers

The second stage focuses on the work of organization of youth volunteers. It is essential that the work done by these organisations be recognised otherwise they might lose their motivation for working.

  1. Putting Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanism in place.

This is the last and most important part of the YUVA program. After examining the ten strategic component as explained above, prepare a list and matrix of who will do what, when and how, field test the strategy and approach through a pilot in selected areas [15]

4. Results and Discussions

4.1. Findings from the literature

How are elections conducted in different countries and their effectiveness?

Elections are one of the most important ways that a citizen can contribute to democracy. Elections provide a way to participate in decisions that influence their lives. Thus, elections provide a critical intersection between citizens and the goals of poverty alleviation, human development and other millennium development goals.

Democracy is not possible without the participation of people. It is a prerequisite for democracy. At present however fewer and fewer citizens are turning out to vote and in addition the citizens who decide to vote are not by any means the representative sample of the voting age population of the country.

Democracy was created to be participatory. The participation of ordinary citizens is considered to be a prerequisite for democracy. Nowadays however an ever increasing part of the citizenry does not take part in politics. [16] The current 110thHouse of Representatives of the United States, e.g., is elected by only half of the voting age population. 47 per cent of the voting age population did not show up at the polling stations [17].

These low turnout figures also imply the question who votes and which groups abstain. International research has shown time and again that there is a clear pattern: as turnout diminishes, inequality rises. [18]

In the United States a strong connection exists between the turnout and the amount of class inequality There also exists a clear difference among the turnout of various age groups. The declining trend in voter turnout is more prominent. The various methods that have come up to fight the decreasing trend and voter turnout will be discussed in the chapter along with case wise studies of a few countries.

Universal Adult Franchise:

It means that the right to vote should be given to every adult citizen, irrespective of theirs colour, creed, religion and gender. It is based on the basic principle of democracy which is equality. It says that the right to vote should be equally available to all people are called political sovereigns as they have the right to put or remove a government from power.

Historically the universal adult franchise has been a much resisted law. Many countries used to give the right to vote based on the individuals property, position and gender. The interesting fact is that the western countries renowned for some form of representative government only adopted the adult franchise after the First World War .In fact France, the home of thinkers who gave the slogan Fraternity, liberty and equality gave the right of universal adult franchise to its people only after the second world war.

Is compulsory voting effective?
Duty, Right or Privilege? Is voting a citizen's right or a civic obligation? All democratic

Governments consider voting in national elections a right of citizenship. Some regard voting in elections as a citizen's civic responsibility, perhaps even a duty. In some of those countries where voting is regarded as a duty, it has been made compulsory to vote, and sanctions are imposed on non-voters in several European countries. [14]
Compulsory voting is not a new concept. Liechtenstein (1862), Belgium (1893), Argentina (1914), Luxembourg (1919) and Australia (1924) were among the first countries in the world to introduce compulsory voting laws. There are also examples of countries that have had compulsory voting at some time in their history but have since abolished it: for instance, Venezuela had compulsory voting until the mid-1990s and in Europe the Netherlands had compulsory voting until 1967.The first elections that were held there without compulsory voting was in 1971. [19]

Approximately 30 countries in the world as of now have regulations that make voting compulsory. Most of them are in Western Europe and in Latin America but there are a few examples in Asia as well such as Singapore and Thailand.

Belgium has the oldest and most established generalized system of compulsory voting. It was started in 1893, about 60 years after it became a democracy. It is important to note that the Belgian citizens compelled to the voting booth, but they are not forced to vote. The term “Compulsory turnout” would sit better.

In Belgium the average turnout level of all the parliamentary elections from 1945 till 2001 is 84.8 percent and therefore Belgium is ranked in the top 20 countries in the world with the highest turnout.

Several studies have been done on the question that if “if compulsory voting was abolished in Belgium would you still go to vote?” On the basis of this table, we conclude that voter turnout would decrease in Belgium if compulsory voting was removed.

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