Bhubaneswar 29th Sep: Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Odisha Election Watch (OEW) organised a state-level seminar on “No Voter To Be Left Behind: Making Elections Inclusive and Accessible” today, at Panthanivas, Bhubaneswar.
“The main purpose of this meeting was to discuss various aspects of actively engaging with different
sections of society, both urban and rural, to make the elections more accessible and inclusive in
nature”, said Ranjan Kumar Mohanty, Coordinator of Odisha Election Watch.
Sri Sahadeva Sahoo, IAS, former Chief Secretary Odisha chaired the session and said that increasing electoral participation and enhancing inclusion among various voter categories ultimately foster broader electoral involvement.
India is known as the world’s largest democracy, highlighting the importance of elections in the democratic process. Elections act as a measure of democracy in action, giving people the opportunity to participate actively in shaping their government and contributing to vital decision-making processes. However, according to Dr Bhagaban Prakash, a former senior advisor to the Election Commission of India, the formation of an elected government with less than 50% of voters due to low voter turnout is not a good sign for democracy.
During the election period, it is crucial to address various issues related to migrant labour, distance to polling booths, senior citizen moments, and persons with disabilities. According to Sanjib Ch. Hota, a former State Election Commissioner in Odisha, revising the voter list intensively during the census period can significantly enhance voter turnout. Therefore, it is essential to take necessary measures to ensure that everyone can exercise their right to vote without any hindrance.
Around 100 participants experts, academics, youth, students, CSOs, Local self-government etc., from different Districts of the state participated in this seminar.