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Election reforms:- fund raising Vs compulsory voting

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Politics

Campaign finance refers to the fund raising and spending that political campaigns do in their election campaigns. As campaigns have much expenditure, ranging from the cost of travel for the candidate and others might include the purchasing of air time for TV advertisements, however in some countries, such as Britain TV advertising is free. Candidates often devote substantial time and effort raising money to finance campaigns. 

 

This is the official statement of all political parties for justifying fund collection. However it is a known fact that freebies like television and or cash is used to garner votes of the poor and down trodden, in some states. These I happen to know first hand as both my servants are going to Tamil nadu for voting, this week. One servant told me that they get us gas connection, where as the other told me that they had given TVs earlier for which she indebted still! I did not ask specifically how much they are getting this time.   The educated / middle and upper class is never approached with such freebies as every one knows that it would be futile. However their participation in the elections is not certain. With 100% voting the election funds requirement will be optimum as the freebies votes will not upset the balance, which is the case as of now.

The person standing for election whether an outstanding public figure known for his integrity and social service rendered, or yet to prove himself, he would need to reach to the people and campaign door to door. In Bangalore the recent young and exasperated political leaders no less than a former chief minister tend to make statements something like

even Gandhi would need to be corrupt to day to win an election”.

Kumarswamy who started as a film producer with wealthy father’s money bags, could also excel himself in the tricks of the (political) trade that he deftly played against congress and BJP. With compulsory voting this could have been an entirely different ball game altogether. Winning with money bags would be that much harder.

The health of a democracy depends on the choice of representatives and leaders, which in turn is directly linked to the way political parties function and elections are conducted. 

 Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan was the campaign coordinator of the “National Seminar on Electoral Reforms, 17th & 18th November 2000 held at Calcutta” which discussed the above theme.

 

Comments

pathykv's picture

Electoral reforms

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91 users have liked.

Comprehensive legislation is needed to inspire all to vote, irrespective of the inducements like freebies.

It is inreresting to note that record percentage of voting >75% has been seen in Tamilnadu whch may be partly due to such freebies, as shown by the statements of Mr. Anantram's servants and the shortage of masons of Tamilnadu for construction projects at Bangalore.

Universal education will also dicourage such malpractices.

K.V.Pathy

dvsquare's picture

They should make the electoral process easy first

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Like in any field, before we bring in new laws or new system, we need to fix the current things, otherwise we will be back to square-1.

One of the major problem of non-voting is not only ignorance or non-awareness, but its the process to get into electoral list and to vote. People are fed up of that. After getting registered many times for the electoral lists, they don't fine their names in the list, or their name mis-spelled so badly that it takes hours to find their name, or sometimes so badly mis-spelled that you can't match if you can't see the photo or sometimes, because of spelling mistakes plus the age (making 15 as 51 or vice versa), people are scared of all that. I remember the last elections we had in Bangalore, I voted, a few of my friends found their names with such a difficulty and a few didn't find their names still. We all got our names added together but still the differences. Before we talk about awareness and education to voters, we need to get more of that into the babus working for election office. They should be hired with the proper skills and trained properly. I don't understand why can't they type the same spelling as its written in the form submitted by the citizens, why they have to do that extra effort to mis-spell it and that too to such an extent that it can't be recognized.

I have heard from many people that, male become female, age 15 becomes 51 or vice-versa. Street become surname and what not.

Right now when we say that 50% voting has happened, its actually not a correct stat because of all these problems, some people don't have their name, some people have names in 2 lists etc etc. I would suggest to fix this and then check the voter percentage, and then from that statistics (which will be almost correct), we will be able to strategize the correct ways of election reforms.

Deepak

psaram42's picture

Election Commission and its responsibility

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With UID some relief can perhaps be expected, at least as far as personal identity is concerned. With Internet and residential proof voters list should be error free. However the present state of affairs is appalling.  I did get voters ID. I was horrified to see I was a female and my Father was my husband! Correction attempts also failed. By the way issuing Voters ID has been out sourced.

Once the ID and residential status are established there may not be any difficulty in publishing the voters list for each booth on the internet and the print media. This is the responsibility of the EC. The EC depends on out sourcing and corruption cannot be ruled out.

Apart from this, 100% erroor free voting by compulsory voting legislation may improve the health of our democracy, by negating vote for money. The election commission needs to come up to the high expectations of our nation, in providing a voters list free of errors, for each election.

The point is well taken!

 

murali772's picture

professionalisation the need of the hour

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The matter has been discussed at length here already, and the only solution as I can see is to outsource the entire job of compiling and maintaining the electoral rolls to professional agency like TCS (who are currently doing all the back-end work for the Passport Dept).

And, like Mr Anil Bairwal, National Co-ordinator, Association for Democratic Rights, has commented here, the civil society needs to bring in all the pressure it can to make it happen.

I am, in fact, taking up the matter with Mr Arvind Kejriwal, since Anna Hazare himself stated that electoral reforms are his next priority.

Muralidhar Rao

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