Lashing out at voters in the state for a poor turnout in the last elections despite conducting several awareness campaigns, the Chief Election Commissioner now plans to introduce a stronger campaigning process. S Y Qureshi pointed out that citizens often refrain from voting citing that none of the representatives are worthy leaders and to counter this, the EC has suggested major changes in the electoral reforms.
"Karnataka has become a problem state for us, and despite our all-out efforts during the last election, only 43 per cent of the city's population cast their votes," Qureshi said. He added that people should have an option of rejecting contestants if they find them unworthy and another option to choose 'none of the above' while casting their vote.
"We have suggested this in the electoral reforms to the Union Government and we are hopeful that very soon these reforms will be implemented," he said.
E-vote by 2013
In addition, as now the state EC is planning to include the E-voting system to encourage voters to cast their votes. "We have already worked out all modalities and are planning to launch the E-voting facilities in the state," said C R Chikkamath, Karnataka Election Commissioner. He added that a committee has already been formed and by 2013, the project will be initiated in Bangalore, Mysore, Hubli and Dharwad.
Currently, Gandhinagar in Gujarat in the city to have successfully tested the E-voting facility for its municipal elections in April this year, while Maharashtra is planning to launch the system by 2012. Chikkamath also informed that he has already discussed the proposal with UID Chairman Nandan Nilekani and has also asked for support from Infosys founder, N R Narayana Murthy.
Qureshi was in the city to sign an MoU with Janaagraha, an NGO working towards enhancing citizen participation in local governance, which will work with the EC to improve the election voter list. "We had started a project in Shantinagar in 2010 of updating the area voter list. The government voter list has listed 2 lakh names, but when we visited the area to update the list, we couldn't find 90,000 people whose names were on the list," said Swati Ramanathan, co-founder, Janaagraha.
Commenting on the issue, the Infosys czar who was present at the event stressed on the need for the implementation of this project. "A successful democracy is all about holding successful elections and successful election is about higher turnout. But before all this, we need to generate an accurate database," said Murthy.