Get the coolest tattoo in town!

Over 65% of India's population is under 35 years now. Data suggests first-time voters in India, between 18-23 years, compose 14% of the electorate. The Election Commission says that there are 12 crore first-time voters this time. That's a staggering number. The difference it could make to this election — and Indian politics as a whole — is huge.

But there are several problems before these numbers can actually translate to the transformation of youth voting in the country:

1. The youth in this country is angry. And disillusioned. And in no mood to relent easily. This article says that data clearly shows nearly 50% of 18-19-year-olds in Delhi haven't even registered to vote yet. While a lot of youngsters think say should exercise their right to vote, they do not want to waste their vote on a non-performing candidate. Most young people demand that our polity focuses on education, health, safety, services, empowerment and jobs, not caste, religion and region. 

2. Mobility is another problem with the Indian youth. They are traveling or working in cities other than their home towns. This makes it difficult for them to travel back just to vote.

3. Largely, the youth and also the rich don’t feel the need to vote. Those who don't vote are happy people because they don't see any need for it. Those who vote are desperately seeking happiness. As you can read here, youngsters also take voting lightly – there is no urgency in that age-group to vote and shape the country’s future yet. Many young people treat voting days as holidays and plan road trips instead of dedicating the day to caste their vote! This could be because of the sense of alienation from the entire political scene at the moment, the hurling of abuses from one party / politician to another, the countless scams and the general rampant dishonesty.

4. Voter registration is complicated at the moment, and it involves countless rounds of the election commission offices on some occasions. Some state governments have launched a web-based software on electoral roll management system to facilitate the filing of applications online, which is great but more needs to be done. Providing convenient voter registration is especially important for young people. It would be great if these registrations can be done at colleges / offices itself!

But the good news is that all is not lost. There are many positive indicators too. Today’s youth thinks that going to a concert and planting a tree is equally cool. They think that wearing a sharp tattoo on their naval and an “I voted” ink on their finger is equally cool too. And this is fantastic for this country. Now we need to do it to inspire and mobilize them to take this a step further and actually vote in the Indian General Elections 2014. Now we need to make sure that they’re aware that eventually what matters is for them to register themselves on the Election commission website and caste their vote. Just voicing angst and disapproval on Twitter or Facebook will not change the country.

There is enough and more being said in the media / on social networking sites / at various forums on why it is important to vote. The wave of postivity bought out by the coming of AAP in power at Delhi has also added to the charm of the coming elections. So now what we need is actually getting the youth to commit to voting, not so much making noise .

There has been an explosion of youth activity on social mobile apps, that and I am confident that this is the first area that needs to be addressed if the purpose is to mobilize youth vote in the Indian General Elections 2014. Of course, this is much easier said that done. But here are my two pence on the topic….

The social mobile apps like WeChat can make three clubs for their users…

BEFORE ELECTIONS: “You kiddin me? I’m gonna vote, dude!” club

  1. All the users of the MobileApp can be asked to add a sign / status / sticker / icon (based on the MobileApp / SocialMobileApp / SocialApps being used) which proclaims their support for the elections.
  2. Various companies / marketing teams of companies / PR people etc can be given access to people who have added these badges. Marketing teams anyway are looking for groups to whom they can offer special discounts / products / freebies etc, this list will be an amazing asset to them. Of course permission will need to be taken from the users beforehand. Once they have the data, the marketers can give incentives or gifts to these selected exclusive users as they want to. E.g. Unilever gets access to this list and decided to offer free head massages to all the ladies who have opted to vote – of course using their aromatic hair oils and shampoos! Or Gilette gets the “I will vote” users and gives the new Mach razors to all men out of them! The possibilities are endless!
  3. Each user should be asked to select their ‘top voting buddies’
  4. Each user should be asked to nominate winners of various badges like “The coolest voter”, “The geekiest voter”, “The funniest voter”
  5. Users can also be asked to recruit other users and form small mobilization groups who will send pings or information to other users, like the polling station closest to them or after-poll parties!
  6. Each city should have an official Twitter tag for reporting problems at polling places or during voter registrations.

ON THE DAY OF ELECTIONS: “Kicked about voting!” cub

  1. The D day is very important and a lot can be done that day. On the election day, mobile apps should push the polling stations near each user to the top of the Places page.
  2. Also, a special “I voted and I’m so cool” badge, should unlock as soon as a user checks in to a polling station.
  3. The display picture of all users should asked to be changed on the election day. The prompt should say something like, “Yo! It’s the D day! Change your picture to one with the voting ink!” or “Yo! Flaunt your voting tattoo as your profile pic!” “The coolest tattoo in town is the ink on your finger!”
  4. All data on related to respective polling stations of each user should be constantly flashed for users as it will help them feel connected. This data could be on how much activity was observed, how many people ‘checked in” etc
  5. Each city should have an official Twitter tag for reporting problems at polling places.

AFTER ELECTIONS: “I’m cool coz I voted!” club

  1. All the users of the MobileApp can be asked to add a sign / status / sticker / icon (based on the MobileApp / SocialMobileApp / SocialApps being used) which proclaims that they voted.
  2. There can be a common profile pic with a message like “I voted, I am not inconsequential.”
  3. Again, various companies / marketing teams of companies / PR people etc can be given access to people who have voted / added these badges. Of course this time there should be bashes! E.g. Bacardi should have “Voting heroes / ambassadors of Mumbai / Delhi / Jaipur etc” party and make sure youngsters have a blast! Of course this will be fabulous marketing and PR for Bacardi too because youth will see it in an entirely cool new light!

I’m very excited about the new era that we are stepping into. It is obvious that the country wants a change and the youth will be an instrumental part of the change. The social mobile apps will surely be a part of this wave that is swaying across the country. 

In the end all I can do is leave my personal appeal to all youngsters reading this post: Please vote during the 2014 general elections! This is your chance to make a positive difference. We can change the broken streets, drying jobs, disappointing services, caste and religion based politics, corruption in public offices – if we want to. There are a few hassles involved in signing up to vote. But it is worth the effort. 

Especially if you’re young, registering and voting process is way too little energy consumed and way too many perks in return!

p.s. Please excuse my poor sketching skills! :)
Images from and


Red Handed said…
Seriously...if only we could vote as easily as we could tweet!!
btw awesome sketching. i am not kidding!
Anonymous said…
Coolest tattoo in town .... Thats cool
deeps said…
That’s some interesting and inspiring data there I would say…maybe we are at the verge of some transformation..
Shrinidhi Hande said…
I liked the idea of comparing blue mark to tattoo...

best wishes for the contest
Renu said…
getting voter card is so cumbersome, that i have nevr been able to vote in my whole life And the same is happening with Aadhar card..

People who reside in different states always find problems like this, there should be some easier way of registering..
Canary said…
@RH: ya, well we are the generation that has had everything easy and quick... expecting us to go through so many hassles and queues to vote is ironical.. it may be sad but that's how we're used to all the technology and conveniences around! So the government and authorities need to understand it when making the voting process too...

@Gangs: Thanks, gad you liked the analogy! :)

@deeps: Thanks so much.. If I can inspire anyone to vote, I don't think there can be anything better than that!
Canary said…
@Srnidhi: thanks so much for your appreciation and best wishes!!
Really like your blog! :)

So true, Renu! It deters so many people! :( There needs to be a solution fast...
Ashwini C N said…
The Youth of today have definitely realized that voting does make a difference. Including Social Media would definitely boost their spirit.
Canary said…
@Ashwini: Very true Ashwini, if we don't harness the power of the new media then we are just holding ourselves back from reaching out to so many potential people...

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