Saturday 22 September 2012

Civil Society Organisations on Inclusive Voting and Electoral Participation

New Delhi:(Page3 News Network)-The Election Commission of India today started a two-day consultation with Civil Society Organizations on ‘Inclusive Voting and Electoral Participation’ in New Delhi. This is first formal consultation by the ECI at the national level with civil society groups from across the country. In his key note address at the consultation, Shri V S Sampath, Chief Election Commissioner called for active support of civil society organizations for higher registration and higher voter turnout. He said ECI’s goal is to build wider social support in favour of participatory democracy and to promote and sustain it through election education and voter participation.
 Shri H S Brahma, Election Commissioner said that civil society organisations should sensitise people about the issues to help them make informed choices during elections. Shri Brahma said CSOs could be of great value in spreading the ECI’s message of informed and ethical voting. Ms Caitlin Wiesen, Country Director, UNDP India, commended ECI’s initiative to partner with CSOs in promoting inclusive Voter participation and said ‘It would stregthen participatory democratic governance.’ 
Shri Nasim Zaidi, Election Commissioner and senior officials of ECI and UNDP also attended the function. Shri Akshay Rout, Director General of the Commission highlighted the record participation of voters achieved during the assembly elections earlier this year through comprehensive outreach measures. Later, civil society organizations held intense consultation on various aspects of inclusion and participation. 
The consultation is being organised by the Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) Division of ECI in association with UNDP. Around 40 Civil Society Organisations from across the country working in the field of Voter Education, Women empowerment, inclusion and other related fields are participating in this national consultation. The consultation aims at coming up with recommendations on six important issues in elections viz meeting gender gap, fighting urban apathy, overcoming youth disconnect, inclusion of marginalised and weaker section, ethical voting-beyond intimidation and inducements, and electoral services support by NGOs. The consultation also aim at preparing a framework for Commission and civil society organizations to work together. 

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