Essential to involve more eligible young voters: Nasim Zaidi

New Delhi, (IANS) : Chief Election Commissioner of India Nasim Zaidi said on Tuesday it was essential to involve more and more eligible young voters to order to enhance the quality and efficiency of democracy.

The CEC made the observation in his inaugural remarks during an international seminar on “Strategies for empowering young and future voters”, hosted by Election Commission of India.

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“India is considered to be the youngest in its demographics. We have a sizeable population of young and future voters. According to Census 2011, every year 20 million persons turn 18 to become eligible as the first time voters. Sixty two million persons are comprised of the age group of 15 to 17 years.”

“We need to focus on this segment for addressing the issues relating to practice of citizenship development and electoral participation,” Zaidi said.

“With expected increase in the number of first time and future voters, it is essential that first time and future voters are made part of electoral democracy to enhance quality and efficiency of democracy,” he added.

Zaidi said that this concern also throws open the issues why young voters show apathy and do not participate and what can be done to encourage them to participate.

“This would mean on one hand identification of issues and challenges in civic and voter education, barriers in registration, electoral engagement and informed and ethical participation.”

“On the other hand, it would mean investment in future of democracy by focusing on educating, engaging and empowering young and future voters through well designed strategic interventions,” he said.

Zaidi said that today youth was the most connected through social media and internet, and hence the interventions should be designed keeping this in mind.