How to organise a voter registration camp in your neighbourhood?
During every election, nearly 364 million Indians face hurdles that prevent them from casting their votes. Yet, the residents of Bapujinagar in Bengaluru are taking charge. They organised voter registration camps, empowering fellow residents to enrol and ensuring they can exercise their fundamental right to vote.
This experience outlines the process undertaken by Ashwaq, Farzan, and their team in Bapuji Nagar. Replicating these steps can empower other neighbourhoods to facilitate voter registrations, even other government schemes, and build an engaged, empowered community.
1. Identification of the issue: We started with discovering and understanding the challenges residents face in registering for voter IDs. We found that 10 people didn’t have voter ID cards. The issues in Bapuji Nagar were:
- Initial struggle in understanding the process
- Addressing bureaucratic hurdles
- Dealing with unfulfilled promises from previous attempts
2. Investigation and learning: After identifying the issues, we investigated the root causes of voter registration challenges. We did this by registering as a voter ourselves — the first voter ID was made for Ashwaq himself, and later, we started registering other citizens in the locality under the electoral list. We looked up the process and required documents for enrolling in the voter list online. Learning the procedures and requirements for obtaining voter IDs is a must so that the learnings can be implemented in the community.
The detailed process of applying online and offline (in-person) can be followed here: Your last chance to register as a voter this election - Citizen Matters, Bengaluru
3. Engaging with citizens: Identify individuals in the community who are seeking voter IDs. These could be the recently turned 18 year-old-youths, homemakers, senior citizens, and anyone else residing who may or may not have applied in the past is seeking help to obtain a voter ID. Once the citizens are identified for enrolling, ensure that the team guides and assists residents through the voter registration process.
Engaging with residents in Bapuji Nagar to understand their challenges and assist them in enrolling for their voter ID cards.
4. Scaling Up the Efforts: As registrations begin, expand the outreach to assist more community members in enrolling for voter IDs. Whenever there is a success story i.e. a voter ID is delivered, do celebrate the success and use this to encourage more residents to apply for their voter IDs.
Successfully facilitated 581 residents in obtaining their voter IDs at their doorstep, empowering them to exercise their democratic rights.
The initiative also sparked a community watchdog system addressing various local issues — from tackling civic to climate issues with unwavering determination — contributing to the Solve India Movement.
- A truly heartwarming moment unfolded when we met a resident, around 37 years old, who had endured a five-year struggle to obtain his voter ID. Within a mere 15 days, we managed to obtain the ID, and his overwhelming gratitude moved us deeply. To mark this joyous occasion, he arrived at our office with sweets, expressing his heartfelt appreciation for our efforts.
- While we ran the voter registration drive, we also reported more than 10 street light issues to the authorities, which were attended to and solved within a week.
- 5 black spots were also identified and fixed in our community as a result of active engagement with the residents.