Editorial

Polling boost

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 4/12/2019 12:44:42 PM IST

 After polling hour ended on April 11, there was little doubt in the minds of observers, that though the visible turn-out was low to moderate, the figure would eventually shoot up. This happens after every election and on April 11 it was no different. On the ground, at various polling booths in at least Dimapur and Kohima, a hundred or more voters were seeing queuing up till afternoon. When media persons visited a number of polling stations under the five assembly constituencies of Dimapur, a majority of the polling stations showed a fair turn out while some polling stations showed poor turn out. By speculative estimates, the voter turn out would have been at the most, between fifty (50) to sixty(60) percent, however, the final tally was officially recorded at 72%. This leaves one wondering as to where the ‘extra votes’ had come from. The turn out then was moderately low while by late afternoon (after 1 pm to 2 pm) the turn out was low. However, an hour or so before close of scheduled polling, the polling stations became moderately crowded. This happens mainly due to last-minute voting when proxy votes are cast with or without the nod of polling officials. Normally, people go to vote in the early hours and it is only towards the fag end of polling that the voter turn out shoot up say,from 30% to over 60%. The high polling percentage in Nagaland is a feature in all elections and can be described as a special zeal to vote. In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the voters in Nagaland polled 85.14% whereas the all-India average was 66.4 % (Highest Ever).In 2009 the national average was 58.19% whereas Nagaland recorded 90.21% voter turn-out. Again, in 2004 Lok Sabha election,the voter turn-out in Nagaland was slightly higher at 91.77% while the national average was 57.98 7%. It may be noted that the voting percentage , particularly during assembly elections in Nagaland, has been on a steep rise since 1989, when the 84.69% mark was breached in 1993 to 90.34 %. The polling percentage in various assembly elections are usually above 85% and in some cases, as high as 98. 88%. It is a matter of concern that voter impersonation can still take place despite the rules which require that a person submit either a EPIC, driving license or ID issued by a government authority. There is need to look at the lacuna of the present system. In Nagaland, EVM cannot be blamed for high turn out. It is the blatantly open practice of booth capturing and proxy voting that are to be blamed. Booth capturing is evident towards late afternoon or evening when few people are left queuing up to vote. This is the time when impersonators queue up to vote as many times. Since this is a regular practise, even polling officials do not strictly enforce the rules so long as no one rocks the boat. As per the all-India average, a 60% voter turn out is termed as ‘high’ and anything between 70% to 75% percent is termed very high. In Nagaland 80% to 90% and even 100% voter turn out is normal. This is nothing to be proud of and instead, people need to ponder over this issue. 

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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