The 2014 elections was a prime example of how when the youth of India rise to voting, they can be game changers in our democracy.
India has the largest youth population in the world and the biggest vote bank to contribute towards positive changes for the betterment of our country, yet many Indian youth lack the enthusiasm to vote.
Some reasons could be
- Past history of abused and misplaced power by the previous governments
- Inability of previous government to bring to fruition promises made before elections
- A certain amount of lack of trust in governing bodies
- Doubt if their vote will ever make any difference
- Mechanical difficulties like procuring a voter’s ID or registering to vote
- Lack of information and transparency from political parties
- Misconception that voting is only for the older population and the poor of the country
Yet, it is the youth that need to exercise this power the most as they are the future of our country. Whether it was the Lokpal campaign or the Nirbhaya tragedy, the youth came to the forefront and were able to initiate major changes in our policies. And going forward they will need to continue to pass the baton so that future generations can learn from their example.
So, in order to encourage more and more youth to exercise their power to vote we must facilitate the following
- Register all young voters– Target young voters through advertising and social media campaigns, visits to colleges and universities and prominent information displayed at various youth events across the country.
- Educate the voters– Voter education can be facilitated in schools and colleges and through TV, Radio and social media. Parents too can play a very significant role in educating the young voter about the various nuances of an election and its contestants.
- Facilitating Voting- Many times due to procedural deficiencies or inadequacies, the young voter may get dejected or feel dissuaded to vote. Therefore facilities can be made, such as, having locations closer to schools/colleges/universities with sufficient voting stations, phone call/sms reminders before voting day and detailed information about local candidates in a systematic way. Perhaps a special website with their profile would help the young voters make an informed decision
- Make Youth Issues a Priority– Electoral candidates need to hear and prioritize the issues and policy changes that affect the youth. By doing so they can reassure the youth that their voting efforts won’t go in vain and make an earnest promise to follow up on the same.
- Creating a Voting App– Perhaps we are far from it just yet, but if we could create an app so that we could vote on the go, of course with tons of security measures in place that could see quite a leap in the young voter’s bank.
- Make Elections Interesting- Today we are in a unique position to make the whole boring election process interesting via the medium of blogs, vlogs, tweets and youtube videos. And this is where the youth gets most of their information from. About time elections take this route too.
Sure the government is trying its level best to address youth issues and framing policies to their benefit, however the young voters also need to realize that if they don’t come out in large numbers, then they will not see a significant change that they so desire.
Change is a two way street, where one desirous of change (youth) and the one that has the power to change (government) need to work hand in glove and this is only possible when the youth come out and vote for their candidate of choice. The youth also must know that voting is the most powerful tool to initiate the winds of change, and the more they procrastinate in taking to it, higher the likelihood that those winds will take a detour.