The State Election Commission is determined to get maximum voters out of their comfort zones and cast their votes.
As many as 9,199 candidates are in fray for the 1,268 seats in ten municipal corporations including Mumbai; elections for which are to be held on 21st February 2017. The Commission has come up with the Mahavoter Chatbot, which will enable voters to get valuable information about their candidates and guide them to their polling booths, using Facebook as a means to maximize the reach.
It all began with a statewide survey to understand the reasons behind the diminishing voting percentage in civic elections, conducted by the commission. And, it came back with shocking results. “Among the top few reasons were boredom, a busy schedule, the perception that there aren’t eligible candidates in the fray, inconvenience (getting registered as voters and tracing polling booths), hatred for politics and apathy, among others,” said Avinash Sanas, Deputy Election Commissioner, Maharashtra.
Using the data, the MSEC is trying it’s best to attract maximum people to vote this time around.
SEC Maharashtra has started various initiatives to make the voting process more convenient
* Online nomination process – Maharashtra is first in the country to successfully implement the online nomination process through application. In this application, the complete process from filling of nomination form until the counting and declaration of results is done online. (https://panchayatelection.maharashtra.gov.in/)
* Bifurcation of voter list through software – The making of the voter list is completely digitized making the work smooth, easy and error free (https://localbodyvoterlist.maharashtra.gov.in/)
* Launching of FAQ through URL as well as Mobile app – There are always queries in the minds of political parties, candidates, citizens as well as election personnel. To answer these queries, SEC has published FAQs of around 2500 questions relating to local body elections and their Acts. These have been published through books, URL (http://crystalhitech.com/faq/faq_1.php ) and mobile App (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.crystalhitech.faq ).
* Website – SEC has launched a responsive neat and clean website as per GIGW guidelines and design, with the latest information. https://mahasec.maharashtra.gov.in
* Mobile app ‘True Voter’– To bring more transparency in the elections by dissemination of information to every voter.
* Mobile app ‘COP’– This application will help overcome the deficiency of election staff to reach each and every corner of the city in order to control the menace of bribery and other unlawful tactics used by political candidates to influence voters. This app is a handy tool for honest voters. (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cramat.cop)
* Decentralisation of powers for efficient, effective and quick decision making
* Use of social media for voter awareness: This is being done for the first time in India by any Election Commission.
* Strict action against political parties not abiding by the rules and regulations
* Involvement of NGOs like ADR, Praja etc. for analysis of contesting candidates and results and its wide dissemination to public. http://myneta.info/mahalocalbody/winnersMC.php
* Mahavoter chatbot via Facebook messenger and Missed Call Pledging on 9029-901-901.