Ahead of this month’s Lok Sabha elections, women voters outnumber men in over a third of Karnataka’s 33 electoral divisions.
To manage this improved gender ratio, the Election Commission planned to establish 600 all-female polling booths.
It's an exciting development for the verdant state, which in April boasted 5.11 crore (51.1 million) voters—2.5 crore (25 million) women, 2.6 crore (26 million) men, and 4,661 others.
During last year’s legislative elections, Karnataka’s polling lists had already swelled by at least 53 lakh (5.3 million) voters.
And, hoping to strengthen voter turnout this spring, the BBMP and Bangalore Political Action Committee joined forces in January to launch ‘Booth Level Awareness Groups’ [BAG].
The BAG programme recruited “democracy warriors” throughout Karnataka, tasking them to teach citizens about contesting candidates and encourage participation in the political process.
BAG also introduced a web portal and online training kit, after a 2018 survey revealed significant gaps in voter awareness.
In March, Begaluru Commissioner and District Election Officer N Manjunath Prasad announced that over 8.88 million residents had registered to vote in the capital’s North, Centre, and South districts.
Of those 8.88 million, almost 48% are women voters, and over 52% are men.
A key issue this election will be Karnataka’s employment rate—though India’s second lowest, it still highlights the inequality between rural and urban areas. Whether employment will rise, stagnate, or drop in India’s Silicon Valley remains uncertain.
In terms of women’s empowerment, Karnataka also trailed behind states with far lower income per capita in 2016.
Pro tip: smartphones and cameras are banned from polling booths; if you can’t leave them at home, an official at the entrance will keep them for you.
Do you have special needs, or are differently abled? Taxi company Ola has paired up with the Election Commission to provide residents free rides to voting stations.
And finally—check if your name is listed on the election roll here!
Credit for this article's header image goes to Getty.