Making Election Inclusive, Accessible and Participative

The Election Commission of India operates on the principle of ‘No voter to be left behind’ and is committed to including all kinds of voters in the electoral process in order to attain the constitutional and legislative mandate of universal adult suffrage. Additionally, the Commission is committed to establishing an equal access framework for empowering Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) that is based on the fundamentals of responsiveness, respect, and dignity, in order to increase elector confidence in them; and to supporting initiatives that improve service offerings in order to increase their electoral participation. The Commission has periodically issued orders directing the inclusion of persons with disabilities in electoral processes, most notably in response to Supreme Court judgments.

Taking into account all relevant factors, the Commission accepts and adopts the following Policy for Increasing Electoral Participation of Persons with Physical Disabilities in Order to Make Elections Accessible to Everyone.

Effective supervision by top officers such as the ERo, District Election officer, and Divisional commissioner (registration process observer) will be critical in attaining the concept of “No voter to be left behind”. All relevant departments, disability organisations, and community-based organisations may be included in the process to maximise pwD registration. The database on PwDs identified by mapping or initial voter registration at the pS level shall be quickly and effectively used for electoral process follow-up and the monitoring system for feedback, evaluation, and consolidation.

On January 25, 2022, around the country, National Voters Day will be observed to register newly eligible young (18+) and to promote electoral participation. This year’s National Voters Day events will focus on the subject “Making elections inclusive, accessible, and participative.”

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In most cases, the election process in a democracy is very similar to one another. It is in means of determining the direction of a country’s government. The strategic framework for accessible and inclusive elections is built around sensitization through education and training, community involvement of different sections of society, effective partnership with institutions, and the creation of facilities to cater to the public needs of persons with disabilities (PwDs) with a view to increasing their participation in the electoral process.

Moreover, it is found that some young people who had recently reached the voting age of 18 are showing little or no interest in enrolling on the electoral roll. The goal of National Voters Day is to encourage young people to participate in the democratic process. The day was developed to remind young people that it is their turn to be active participants in the election process and to get eligible voters out of their homes to exercise their fundamental right.

Youth, women, historically marginalised groups, minorities, and indigenous peoples’ inclusion and participation in election processes are critical tools for strengthening democratic processes. The ECI’s persistent and systematic voter education and electoral participation strategy has changed with each election, and the application of novel practises has led in a significant increase in voter turnout, particularly among women and youth. ECI has made concerted efforts to enhance democratic discussion, engagement, and participation with civil society, political parties, women’s and youth organisations, as well as to facilitate learning among other countries’ Election Management Bodies.

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To increase public awareness of the electoral process, particularly among newly eligible young voters, the Election Commission of India has also advised the government to issue necessary instructions to schools and educational institutions to observe National Voters’ Day for the purpose of instilling democratic values through the organisation of events such as debates, discussions, and competitions (drawing, skit, song, painting, essay, etc) on or near National Voters’ Day.

Additionally, educational institutions will be asked to administer the National Voters’ Day pledge online, and images of all activities will be uploaded to their individual social media accounts and websites with the hashtag #NVD2022.

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