BENGALURU: Two months ago, the Chief Electoral Office, Karnataka, opened up registrations for individuals to enrol as ‘democracy warriors’ to be a part of ‘booth-level awareness groups’. The initiative was in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, for which apolitical volunteers are needed to help the electoral process. Until now, only 163 individuals have enrolled all over Karnataka.
“Though we announced this initiative in January, we have seen very few registrations in the whole state. It is probably because people are not aware of it and we have not publicised it enough. Any citizen can enrol to become a ‘democracy warrior’ by entering his or her EPIC (Electoral Photo ID Card) number on the Karnataka Election Information Systems website or the Chunavana app. They will be stationed at the local polling booth where they vote, to help their neighbours, senior citizens and differently-abled to vote,” said Surya Sen, joint chief electoral officer.
“They will update the queue status on the Chunavana app, so anyone who is at home can check the number of people waiting at the polling station before coming out to vote. They can also help hand out voter slips on the day of voting to those who miss them when the EC distributes them in the neighbourhood,” Sen explained.
The state election commission has conducted a few training sessions for the democracy warriors who have enrolled; of them, 20 to 30 are from Bengaluru city. People still have time to enrol as ‘democracy warriors’ and can do so even on the day of voting, the officer added. Training for duties takes only two to three hours and is done by booth-level officers.