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Punjab: 4 times more voters aged 18-19 as compared to 2014 polls

There is around a 30% decrease in the number of voters of the same age group when compared to the 2017 Punjab Assembly elections.

While Punjab has registered four times more voters in the age group of 18-19 years as compared to the last Lok Sabha election in 2014, there is around a 30% decrease in the number of voters of the same age group when compared to the 2017 Punjab Assembly elections.

There is also a huge gap between the actual population of this age group and the number of registered voters despite an intensive campaign under Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) across the state.

Experts said that under SVEEP, there is more focus on educational institutes to register these voters instead of focusing on labour groups and out of school and college youth. They also said that a large number of this people of this age group have migrated to foreign countries from Punjab to study or work. Follow more election news here.

Data sourced from the office of Punjab’s chief electoral officer, there are currently 9,47,900 persons in 18-19 age group in Punjab, of which 2,55,887 have got registered as voters till January 31, 2019, while 6,92013 under this category are yet not enrolled.

A senior officer said that data of the population of this age group is always on the higher side and it needs to be revised thoroughly.

In the 2014 elections, only 65,000 voters were registered under this age group, which then went up to 3,67,077 during the 2017 Assembly elections and has now again come down to 2,55,887. There is a drop of 30% in enrollment of new voters of this age group this time, as compared to the 2017 Assembly elections.

In Jalandhar district, there are around 76,000 persons under the same group, of which 18,725 have registered and 7,000 new voters have applied recently.

District Electoral Officer (DEO) cum Deputy Commissioner Jalandhar Varinder Sharma said, “There is no doubt that there is a gap between the actual population and voters under this age group and there are several reasons for that. These include a casual approach of young voters and their families who hardly make any effort to get them registered as voters once they have turned 18.”

The other reason is that several voters of this age group are going abroad to study, he added.

According to an estimate, every year, over a lakh students go to foreign countries from Punjab to study, and most of them fall under the 18-19 age group.

Sharma said that voter registration is now very simple. One can apply online and there are booth-level officers visiting homes to make voter IDs.

In Nawanshahr, 8,869 voters of the 18-19 age group have registered.

The nodal officer of SVEEP cum Additional Deputy Commissioner, Nawanshahr, Anupam Kler, said, “Under SVEEP, we have been focusing more on educational institutes to target this age group. But at the same time, we have been focusing on the homeless population, labour class, migrant groups, young girls working as maids, school-college dropouts etc.”

He further said, “Apart from colleges we are also covering IELTS centres, which are quite popular in Punjab, to make the young lot aware about using their right to vote. We are trying to bridge the gap between the actual population of this age group and number of voters.”

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