Chief Electoral Office to encourage use of Voter Helpline Application

Bangalore Elections Karnataka Politics

Electoral body in Karnataka plans to increase awareness of Voter Helpline Application (App) amongst voters through campaigns.

The Chief Electoral Office (CEO) plans to encourage use of Voter Helpline App (VHA) in January and mid-February once the election awareness campaigns start.

Vastrad PS, Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) Nodal Officer at Chief Electoral Office said, “Our target is to ask everybody to use VHA and check their name in the electoral roll. We will be starting this once the campaign begins in January and mid-February.”

The final submission of electoral roll shows that there are more than 50 million (5 crore) voters registered from 221 Assembly Constituencies of Karnataka. It also shows that during the revision period from November 9, 2022 to December 8, 2022 the VHA has received 2, 11,981 applications. However, there are many voters who are unaware about the four-year-old VHA.

Abba, a young voter from Bangalore said, “I am a registered voter but I do not know about the Voter Helpline App.”

Rajesh GV, Organizing Secretary of Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) in Karnataka said that he has not heard about this app.

Political parties have also come across people who do not have much information about the app.

Veena Serrao, spokesperson of Aam Aadmi Party said, “From the people we have interacted with so far, only 10percent knew about VHA.”

Deepak .C.N, General Secretary of Karnataka Rashtra Samithi (KRS) party said, “Most of our interactions are with are youngsters but not many are aware about Voter Helpline App.”

VHA was launched by the Election Commission of India (ECI) on February 8, 2019. ECI website shows that till February 2020, there were 19 million (1.9 crore) users of VHA and 21 million (2.16 crore) downloads from all over India.

Vastrad .P.S said, “We understand that many citizens do not know about VHA.” The official also added that to increase the reach of the app, the CEO of Karnataka had taken measures of making people aware through audio and visual mediums. They have also made use of social media and new videos to ensure people know about this app and they use it to access everything related to elections.

VHA is a comprehensive app that provides details of the entire functioning of ECI along with voter services like voter registration, deletion, and correction forms. It also includes voter education services like Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) and how to use them downloading Election Photo Identification Card (EPIC), process and status of elections and their results –current, past and future. It gives details of the candidates, their political parties, and media publications by the ECI. According to ECI, this app intends to empower citizens in the election process.

Kartika Pillai, a registered voter said, “I was not aware about this app until now, however, if I had known about it earlier, I would have downloaded and got to know about the election process in more detail.”

Mrudul Nile, Professor at Department of Civics and Politics in University of Mumbai said, “VHA will play a crucial role for the citizens as a large number of people will fall in line with the process of elections and electoral commission to vote responsibly.”

“To increase the awareness around VHA, CEO of Karnataka can also approach college students through SVEEP campaigns and encourage students to share the app among their peers. The link of app can also be provided on the QR scan codes in restaurants, shopping centres and also via UPI payment apps.”

He added that awareness exercises bring in neutrality when it focuses on voting rather than whom to vote for, especially when it comes from a constitutional body.