Now Poll booths in your Society, will this increase voter turnout, only time will tell – Co-operative Guru

BMC sings CHS “Thodi si voting ki Lift kara de”.

BMC is approaching large Societies and Complexes to allow them to set up polling booths within their compounds for the February 16 Civic Elections. The BMC states that so far 22 housing complexes have agreed, to set up polling booths within their compounds. After hearing this news more such societies and complexes have appreciated and welcomed this move & the BMC hopes that more such Buildings & complexes will offer Space by the Weekend.

Co-operative Guru Shri P. Y. Rathod states that this is a beginning of new revolution as for the first time in the history polling booths are being set up within the premises of Co-operative Housing Societies (CHS). Till now, they were always set up in nearby Municipal and private Schools. He further adds that this is a positive move as people staying in such big complexes generally avoid going to the Municipal Schools for voting & instead prefer to stay at their Homes. Though the city had a 46% voter turnout in the 2007 Municipal polls, its average voting percentage is usually below that figure. Invariably, the majority who do not vote live in high-rises. He says that such large complexes for instance have atleast 500 families within their premises, if we account atleast 3 voters per family the number works out to 1500 voters in the complex itself, this figure is enhanced if we consider voters staying in the neighboring buildings, more people will certainly come out to vote as the booths are made easily accessible to them. Legally a polling booth is required to be set up for a minimum of 1,000 votes and within a radius of 1 km of the Voters residence.

But the Big question here is will this move increase the voters turn out to the Poll?

Responding to this Co-operative Guru Shri P. Y. Rathod rightly points out that a person living in Mumbai and Thane generally works throughout the week, Sunday is considered just as a pause for shopping the needs of coming week and thus they prefer to celebrate a holiday like a festival & hence they avoid to turn up for the voting, as they consider it as spoiling their day. He further says that if you ask someone to come and vote, the first question he would ask you is that How much time will it take? and How long is the queue?, if you reply by saying that yes there is a little queue, he would quickly respond saying actually I am busy with some important work & don’t have time to stand in queue. So what’s required is just a “Change in the attitude”.

But he agrees that this initiative will generate more voter turnout in the coming elections. He says that also with the huge number of Public awareness Campaigns in the City, the voter turnout is expected to be higher this time.

The decision to allow polling booths in Co-operative Housing Societies (CHS) was announced by State Election Chief Neela Satyanarayan, who had urged the Municipal authorities to approach large societies & complex to set up booths. The names of these societies that had offered to have polling booths would be announced through the government gazette in the first week of February

This time let’s hope that with Polling booths next to your home, some diligent neighbors would encourage each other to at least take the Lift down and vote concludes Co-operative Guru, Shri P. Y. Rathod.

Co-operative Guru
Ex- Co-operative Officer, Grade (I).
Registrar of Co-op Societies,
Administrator & Enquiry Officer,
Election & Authorised Officer
Govt. Certified Auditor & Tax Advisor
 Co-operative Societies, Mumbai & Thane Division.