CEC not averse to reduce minimum voting age to 16

The Election Commission Tuesday said it was examining a proposal to reduce the minimum age for voting right to 16 years from the existing 18.

Last Updated: Jan 11, 2011, 23:32 PM IST

Bhubaneswar: The Election Commission Tuesday
said it was examining a proposal to reduce the minimum age for
voting right to 16 years from the existing 18.

"We may recommend to the government to reduce the minimum
voting age to 16 years, if more youths, particularly new
voters, participate in the electoral process," Chief Election
Commissioner Y S Quraishi told a meeting organised by Youth
United for Voter Awareness (YUVA), an NGO.

Though above 35 per cent of voters were youths, their
participation was the lowest, he said.

Quraishi said though the minimum voting right age was
reduced to 18 from 21 years, participation of new voters was
not up to expectation.

As the present day youths were well versed with
technologies and comparatively better informed, there was no
harm in reducing the minimum voting right age to 16 years, he
said.

The EC will launch an awareness drive among students to
inform about the rights and significance of participation, he
said.

The awareness campaign would include meetings, rallies,
seminars and other activities to attract youths to the
electoral process, the CEC said after releasing a document
prepared by YUVA on youth participation in elections.

Quraishi also said the EC was working on establishing the
Indian Institute of Democratic Studies on the lines of IIT and
IIM to educate government officials, students and others from
within the country and abroad about various aspects of the
democratic processes.

PTI