SECURING THE MIGRANT VOTE
Given the large migrant population in Karnataka, Lokniti-Centre for the Study of Developing Societies conducted a study among the migrant voters of Bengaluru to find out their voting patterns.
Apprehensions of workers
- Unable to Vote: Many migrant workers were not able to adequately exercise their political voting rights; they found it difficult to travel home for every election.
- Apprehension of registering: Migrant workers are often apprehensive about registering themselves as voters in any other State apart from their home State. This is due to various reasons such as frequent changes in residence, fear of losing property in their home State, and their inability or unwillingness to bring their families with them as well.
- Safety issues: Only 5% of the families are living with the migrant workers. This is primarily because many localities are not safe for women
- Remote Voting Machines (RVMs): The Election Commission of India (ECI)’s proposal for introducing RVMs seeks to extend voting facilities to such migrant workers who find it difficult to travel to their native place to vote, and thus prevent the loss of votes.
- Migrant support: While there was little awareness among the migrant workers about the ECI’s proposal to introduce RVMs, 80% of them supported the proposal when they were told about it.
- Issue with RVM: There are issues about the trustworthiness of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). There is lack of dialogue and transparency with the RVMs.