First timers: New fuel for higher voter turnout in 2014?
Shantasree Sarkar/ Zee Research Group
States with relatively high young voter percentage have generally witnessed an increase in their voter turnout in 2014.
These states include among others Jharkhand, Mizoram, Tripura, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.
A study of 24 states where polling is already complete shows that five states with highest number of young voters registered on an average about seven percent plus growth in voter turnout this election.
While the data for young voters who actually cast their votes in these states is not immediately available, the impressive increase in actual voter turnout in these states signals an active participation by the 18-19 age group voters.
According to the Election Commission of India (ECI) the highest percentage of young voters among states that completed the polling is at 9.03 per cent in Jharkhand. The state witnessed an increase in voter turnout from 55.28 per cent in 2009 to 62.62 per cent in 2014.
The ECI pegged the total number of young voters in 24 states that have already completed the polling at 1.22 crore. The total electorate number in 2014 is 81.45 crore.
The first time voters share in 24 states that completed polls is as follows: Odisha (2.64 per cent), Kerala (1.75 per cent), Haryana (2.23 per cent), Delhi (1.88 per cent), Goa (2.22 per cent), Chandigarh (3.12 per cent), Lakshadweep (4.27 per cent), Andaman and Nicobar Islands (1.11 per cent), Maharashtra (1.36 per cent), Chhattisgarh (4.94 per cent), Jharkhand(9.03 per cent), M.P (3.24 per cent), Rajasthan (3.29 per cent), Tamil Nadu (3.23 per cent), Puducherry (2.64 per cent), Karnataka (1.80 per cent) and six North-eastern states.
This time the cynosure has been the first time voters aged 18-19 years. But several states with relatively lower first time voter share too witnessed a high voter turnout. Delhi, Maharashtra and Kerala witnessed this trend prominently. This means that the traditional voter there did not shy away from casting the vote this time.
Apart from Jharkhand, another state with high young voter share that witnessed an impressive growth in voter turnout this time is Rajasthan. The voter turnout has risen there from 48.40 per cent in 2009 to 62.90 per cent in 2014.
Special credit goes to the Election Commission’s effort like SVEEP (Systematic Voter’s Education and Electoral Participation). SVEEP focused on schools, colleges and universities to engage more young population. The Election Commission has noticed a trend of students moving to the metropolitan cities to avail the facilities of the coaching centers, thus, coaching centers has been approached for delving information regarding registration of voters.
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