Thursday, April 30, 2009


Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) are great, but I think it's time our country's electoral process takes another giant step forward. I went to vote early morning with my voter's ID card, before going to office. Much to my horror, I found out that my name was not in the voter's list. Actually there are two lists; the guy sitting outside the booth first confirms our name and then sends us to any one of the two (in the case of my polling station) pre-assigned booths and the other counter inside the respective booth confirms our name, puts the mark on our middle finger, etc. The counter outside the booth did not have my name although I got my Voter's ID card in 1994!!! Can you believe it? Mera Bharat Mahaan!!! The lady inside either wasn't in the mood to cooperate and double-check whether my name is infact there in the second list (which I later found out that it was there infact) or it's just too cumbersome to search manually without any reference number that all voters are also assigned. So I could not vote then. 

But that is not done, isn't it? After all I am a Mumbaikar, I have witnessed people in power ruin my beautiful Mumbai over the years. Not that I ever hoped that others (apart from the independents) would have done any better. But hey, I have seen 7/11, 26/11 and lots of communal disharmony. So vote, I think, we must, because even if we think that we don't have good enough candidates and are forced to lower the bar, we must atleast set a precedent, make a statement of sorts and prove that the vote is in our hands and if we do not like incumbents for whatever reason or if we even do not like the other parties, we can still keep them out.

Fortunately, I found out that the voter's slip or whatever that little chitthi is called that some political parties drop at our houses carrying our names, addresses, booth and our individual voter numbers was lying in my house. So I came home early, collected the chitthi and went to the polling booth and voted. I must admit that I was not very happy to see the turnout at my booth this time around. I mean, I have seen much longer queues in the past. Today, it seemed like a low turnout. When I went there at about 15.00 hrs, it was a breeze; no queue, no waiting around, it was a walk-in. Good for me, but bad for democracy, but I don't mind standing the queue at all. It's fun to hear common people, young and old but especially the old, talk and discuss politics, candidates, who they are going to vote and who they feel should be kept out, etc. We need more people to turn up and vote. This report doesn't paint a good picture either. But I am glad that I voted. 

By the way, the ink was horrible this time. Not a dot this time around, it was a long line that started from my nails and went down all the way to cover 1/3rd of my finger. And I really wish the polling booth that has EVMs, are more robust instead of some cardboard-like material covering it from three sides that's not even high enough. 

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