The system knows the power of the eighteen year old vote. There are potentially 150 million new young voters in India. Add to that another 150 million from the urban and semi-urban set up. In the 2009 elections the winning party polled 119.2 million votes, that is just over 16.6% of the eligible voter share. That means there is practically one new voter for every vote the winning party received in the last election. Add to this a whopping 300 million who did not vote last time, and we would have had a whole new ball game and a whole new politics.
To this effect, a nationwide initiative has been launched with an aim to to register new voters. Every day volunteers from across the country are registering ten’s of thousands of voters. This is one of the largest nation building exercise in modern times, with an estimated 1.2 million volunteers participating. The Volunteer for a better India (VBI) movement is divided into three phases; Phase 1, voter registration & deletion;
Phase 2, Voter awareness;
Phase 3, Voter turnout.
The voter registration phase is the critical part of the campaign, with the aim to register 30 million fresh voters and reduce bogus voters.
You can elect the next government of India – you can create a responsive base of power in your community – you can establish an alternative that would be a major force in this country – only if help us in registering people to vote! For a small pledge of $30, we can register 100 voters. You can also help by making a phone call to your friend or loved one in India, urging them to register for voting. Take responsibility and make a difference, the time is act is now!
Mahatma Gandhi famously said: “‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” It is this thought that drives an international movement like OVBI, where each individual is an inspiration. And thus begins our new column “The Shining Star,” a piece that places the spotlight on individuals, famous and otherwise, who have spearheaded change in their own unique way.
This week, “Shining Star” introduces Sriram Iyer, our resident volunteer who has worked tirelessly to help build the India of his dreams. Under siege from all the shades that color the NRI life – late work hours, fun commute, laundry, dishes – Sriram is a volunteer success story.
For two weeks, Sriram swore to become a phone whiz, dialing during every free minute of his day to get voters registered. When his two-week personal deadline came around, Sriram had called 497 persons to register to vote, and, in fact, registered 164 individuals himself. He didn’t just stop there. Hearing about the now famous Kiran Bedi OVBI hangout, he proceeded to make
arrangements to project this e-meet at a Diwali Mela booth at Atlanta, Georgia. The step drew hundreds of inquiries and funds across Atlanta and, in no time, the one man army found himself
at the center of the change that he hoped to engineer.
Indeed, one person is all it takes to make a difference. And here’s raising our Diwali lights to volunteers like Sriram who have given their time and energy toward the new India.
High Points of the Week
– VBI has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Chief Election Officer, Andhra Pradesh office. The office now recognizes VBI as partner organization. With the MoU VBI volunteers can now approach educational institutions, gated communities, public places and corporate offices for voter drives. The MoU would also allow VBI volunteers to work with city and district administration for verification of voters, to ensure only eligible voters are added to the list.
– Thanks to the efforts of the Bay Area team both Vinod Khosla & Vivek Wadhwa have come on board to support the OVBI campaigns. Series of promos featuring these acclaimed persona’s will be aired in the coming weeks.
– Meet Devesh Sharma a resident of Mumbai. Devesh is a visually impaired. Devesh, was inspired by the voter registration movement, and he decided he wanted contribute in whatever way he could for his country. He took leadership under the ‘I Vote for a Better India’ Campaign. Walking door-to-door to register new voters, educating people on importance of voting he has personally registered 25 new voters in his neighborhood. OVBI salutes Devesh and hundred’s like him who are making our country proud.
– Voter registration application (app) is underway. Designed to cover all three phases of voter registration, voter education and voter engagement, the app gives the users the experience and convenience of online voter registration with least headache.
– The OVBI team of 10 committed volunteers made a big splash with the Diwali fund raiser. Attended by around 450 Indians, the event was a huge hit and received great feedback. We got several people to commit to the cause.