Regaining lost votes: Remote voting for migrants is a great idea

Source: The post is based on the article “Regaining lost votes: Remote voting for migrants is a great idea” published in The Times of India on 31st December 2022. 

Syllabus: GS 2- Salient features of Representation of People Act 

Relevance: Electoral reforms 

News: The article explains the Election Commission’s move to extend voting rights to migrant workers through a customised EVM machine. Postal ballots facility is available to government employees. Since Covid, this facility is available to the elderly over 80. 

What is the rationale behind extending voting rights to migrant workers? 

The 2016-17 Economic Survey estimated 6 crore migrant workers between 2001 and 2011. As per Census 2011, there were 45.6 crore migrants. It is nearly 40% of India’s population.  

These are huge numbers. It suggests that a large number of Indian people are not exercising voting rights. For example, the 2020 Bihar and 2022 UP polls show it.  

There were 40 lahks more male electors than females in Bihar but just 3 lahks more men voted than women. Similarly, male electors outnumbered females by 1.1 crores in UP, but just 45 lahks more men voted than women. 

What are the benefits of extending voting rights to migrant workers?

Voting rights ensure that people’s voices are heard in the political process. The exodus of over 1 crore migrant workers during the Covid lockdown hardly became an electoral issue anywhere. If migrants are allowed to vote, candidates will have to address their concerns. Hence, the decision to extend voting rights to migrant workers of the EC will deepen democracy. 

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