CEC not averse to reducing minimum voting age to 16

Bhubaneswar, Jan 11 (PTI) The Election Commission todaysaid it was examining a proposal to reduce the minimum age forvoting right to 16 years from the existing 18.

"We may recommend to the government to reduce the minimumvoting age to 16 years, if more youths, particularly newvoters, participate in the electoral process," Chief ElectionCommissioner Y S Quraishi told a meeting organised by YouthUnited for Voter Awareness (YUVA), an NGO.

Though above 35 per cent of voters were youths, theirparticipation was the lowest, he said.

Quraishi said though the minimum voting right age wasreduced to 18 from 21 years, participation of new voters wasnot up to expectation.

As the present day youths were well versed withtechnologies and comparatively better informed, there was noharm in reducing the minimum voting right age to 16 years, hesaid.

The EC will launch an awareness drive among students toinform about the rights and significance of participation, hesaid.

The awareness campaign would include meetings, rallies,seminars and other activities to attract youths to theelectoral process, the CEC said after releasing a documentprepared by YUVA on youth participation in elections.

Quraishi also said the EC was working on establishing theIndian Institute of Democratic Studies on the lines of IIT andIIM to educate government officials, students and others fromwithin the country and abroad about various aspects of thedemocratic processes.

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