My Vote My Voice | Project
15581
page-template-default,page,page-id-15581,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode-theme-ver-10.1.1,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.0.1,vc_responsive

Project

Brief Facts

  • Any person who leaves his or her native place and works in another place, within the boundaries of the country is a Domestic Migrant Worker. This include two categories. The first ones are those who are educated and having office and corporate jobs. The second being poor migrant workers which include factory labours, construction workers, domestic servants etc.
  • As per National survey approximately 29% of Indians are domestic migrants, moving mostly from rural to urban India. According to the 2011 study on the political inclusion of seasonal migrant workers by Amrita Sharma and her coauthors, 22 percent of migrant workers in India did not possess voter IDs or have their names in the voter list.
  • As per Election Commission approximately 15% voters i.e. 120 million are Domestic Migrant workers, but a vast majority of these voters don’t get to exercise their franchise when polls are held in their native place as most cannot afford to travel or miss work.
  • Domestic migrant workers are rarely full citizens at their place of work. It is sad that in some cases even after being in a city for more than 20-30 years, migrant workers remain on the margins of society struggling for an identity and basic citizenship rights. They contribute to the economy but not to the political process.
  • The migrant workers miss out participation in the most important institutional mechanism of elections. The elected politicians and officials do not pay weight-age to their concerns and ignore their voices, as they are irrelevant from election perspective.
  • With such a large number of eligible domestic migrant poor voters, unable to vote and no absentee voter opportunity available in India for them, it is imperative that in order to give them a sense of belonging and political inclusion, they are encouraged and supported to register themselves for voting at their place of work.
  • A large percentage of them are unaware about the laws, procedure, formalities and list of documents required in order to register themselves. Therefore there is a need for voter registration drive to educate, support and enable them to register as voters at their place of work.
  • A lot of them do not register because of lack of address proof and age proof, whereas the government has already eased out on the formalities. For example
    • In case of age proof, it is only required if you are in the age group of 18-21 yrs of age, otherwise it’s not required.
    • In case of residence proof, if no other document is available, then even a simple registered postal letter received in the applicant’s name on that address is being considered as a valid residence proof.

Legal Aspects

Let’s look at the legal aspects of our project ….

  • At present only members of armed forces, senior government ministers and Indian diplomats outside the country can vote through a post or by proxy. All others must caste their ballot in person at assigned polling station at their registered address. Therefore voting is difficult for those, who migrate from one state to another. And as a result most domestic migrant workers do not exercise their right to vote.
  • A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Supreme Court, asking the Election Commission (EC) to make arrangement for migrant workers population, to cast absentee vote for their constituency from their place of work. The PIL wants migrant workers of the country to have provision for postal ballots similar to what has been proposed for Non Resident Indian (NRI) and service voters belonging to Armed forces.
  • An inter-ministerial committee has been asked to examine the possibility of allowing a choice of postal ballot or any other option of absentee vote to domestic migrant workers, in consultation with the Election Commission.
  • A report prepared by the committee for Election Commission has said that extending migrant workers alternate voting rights such as e-ballots is not feasible at present. This is because the Election Commission is not in favour of such a proposal due to the logistical nightmare. The committee feels it is difficult to track the movement of domestic migrant workers, The magnitude and complexity of work is enormous and the Election Commission is concerned about duplication of vote, misuse etc.
  • The Election commission has taken a strong stance in the Supreme Court. They have mentioned that people migrating from their native places cease to be residents of that place and they cannot caste vote in elections in that constituency. They further clarified in their affidavit, A person shall not be deemed to be ordinarily resident in a constituency on the ground only that he owns or in possession of a dwelling house therein.” They are of the view that Such person has to get himself enrolled in the electoral roll of the new place where he is ordinarily resident and he can then vote in such new place.’

Election Commission goes further to say that the mere question of any person migrating to a new place from his native place and then still enrolling himself in the electoral role of his native place itself does not arise.

Keeping in view of the above facts it is important that the migrant workers should register as a voter from their place of work.

Objectives

The objectives of our project are listed below:

To create general awareness amongst domestic migrant workers about the benefits & responsibility of being part of the political process in and around national capital region of Delhi.

To provide specific education for voting registration procedures and formalities.

To provide support and guidance in helping them to register at their place of work.

Actions

Following is the brief of the series of initiatives planned

Visits to factories, slums and JJ colony etc.

Informal discussions with Migrant Workers to understand their plight and pain points in greater depth.

Presenting to them through creative ways the various benefits of being registered as a voter & educating them about the laws, procedures and formalities required.

Creating an awareness of their civic and social responsibilities, through guest speakers, and motivational and informative videos.

Conducting surveys to categorise the workers in two categories.

Identifying migrant workers who require help in documentation, registration formalities etc.

    • First category being those who are registered at their native place and would like to change their constituency to their place of work.
    • Second category being those, who are not registered as voters at any place and would like to register at their place of work.

Helping them with registration formalities, filling of forms, facilitating documents, photographs etc.

Facilitating the process with concerned official if required.

Our Background

‘My Vote My Voice’ (MVMV) मेरा वोट मेरी आवाज़ is an initiative by Noor Takkar and Siya Malhotra, both students of the British School New Delhi. Being minors didn’t deter our passion and belief in the project and after discussing with our families, we decided to take on this project under the aegis of an NGO – Bhai Sahib Dittamal & Sons Charitable Trust, that operates out of Delhi for the last 45 yrs and runs a medical and a spiritual center (ashram).

We have greatly benefited by this association,especially with their constant administrative and organizational support.

However, our endeavour is to be financial independent by raising sufficient funds through donations to take care of the necessary expenditure for My Vote My Voice.