About Voter List Management

Delivering high fidelity voter lists has always been a challenge to India’s Voter List Management (VLM) machinery. The rapid rate at which India is urbanising and resultant citizen movement has only added to this. Inadequacies in accounting for this constant flux, of people migrating from villages to cities and between cities is one of the biggest reasons why voter lists, especially urban, are riddled with errors. These errors include the presence of deceased citizens, duplications, citizens who do not reside in their listed address anymore and a myriad of others.

The challenges posed by increased citizen movement to VLM will only increase as India continues to urbanise. By 2050, India will add another 400 million citizens to its cities and towns pushing the proportion of people who reside in urban areas up to 50%. Clean voter lists are considered a prerequisite to free and fair elections as they are the gateway to a citizen’s right to vote. To protect this right in the face of rapid urbanisation, India’s VLM machinery needs to be continuously strengthened.

The VLM programme stems from this desire, to ultimately aid and enhance electoral participation in urban India. Since the inception of the program in 2005, our efforts have taken a range of forms. In the last few years, these have focused on gathering evidence on issues through research and designing of solutions to create lasting change:

Studies undertaken

Using both quantitative and qualitative tools, the research team at Janaagraha works on gathering accurate and credible data. This program also intends to create a community of entities, both research based and otherwise, interested in solving the issue of urban electoral lists and voter participation. Janaagraha is also an integral part of the Exploring Electoral Change in Urban and Rural India (EECURI) network, constituents of which also include:

  • Jawaharlal Nehru University – Centre for Political Studies, New Delhi
  • London School of Economics, London
  • Sciences Po (CERI and CDSP), Paris

What the Voter List Management program aims to achieve:

With increasing urbanization and the resultant movement between cities and towns as well as within cities, the accuracy of voter lists is decreasing. Current electoral roll management systems are not capable of guaranteeing accurate voter lists in urban areas. The research team at JCCD, through its Voter List Management Program, aims to create a body of objective data and information that can aid discussions around quality of voter of rolls and advocate for a robust voter list management process.

JCCD had successfully completed a survey on the quality of Delhi’s electoral lists just before the assembly elections held early 2015. The Main Report can be found here and a Summary here.