Sikkim Election Commission to use six influencers to aid new registration among 18-year-olds

Gangtok: Tapping into the power of social media and influencers who have thousands of followers, the election commission in Sikkim is roping in six influencers from the state to sensitise young voters on their voting rights.

Their target audience is 18-year-olds who will be registering to vote for the first time.

The six identified influencers are Nirmal Mangar, the co-founder of Sikkim Chronicle who has over 15,000 followers on his Instagram handle.

The others include YouTube comedian Nitesh Gurung who goes by the name instaman_gtk and has 2,400 followers, Aniket Pakhrin Lama, a fitness enthusiast with 20,000 followers. Specially-abled artist-influencer Bikram Bhattrai, who will be especially targeting the specially-abled, influencer Deekila Sherpa with close to 82,000 followers, and Sharmila Timshina Chettri with 1,15,000 followers.

Sikkim Joint Chief Election Officer Pema Laden said,” “Every year from November 1 to 30, we have a summary revision. Usually, we use the medium of television and print to spread the message. But this year the Election Commission of India issued guidelines that we can use other forms of media, citing that social media is very active.”

These popular social media influencers from Sikkim will be roped in to encourage new registration of voters, sensitising people on how to transfer electoral roll among constituencies and on various corrections needed in the voter cards.

“It is a popular medium to attract new voters above 18 years of age. The ECI has urged us to use Instagram and Twitter, so we thought of using reels. Those popular on Instagram reels have been roped in knowing people follow these six influencers to take the message of the ECI ahead.”

Laden said from November 1, people who turn 18 years as of January 1, 2022 can register themselves as new voters. The month-long sensitisation also involves changing voter constituencies and deletions of those voters who have died. Importantly, the month is also for corrections to be made in voters cards, addresses and also age.

The voter helpline and voter portals welcome online registration.

Nitesh Gurung (Instaman_gtk) urged other influencers to also have social messages in the content they create on Instagram. “I will try to come up with relatable content on my reels to ensure the message on voting goes out,” he said.

Bikram Bhattarai, who himself will be voting for the first time in the next election, feels “not voting is a big los”, urging the youth who have not enrolled to get it done at the earliest.

Deekila Sherpa, an influencer yet to register herself, welcomed the initiative claiming it to be a basic right.

The Election Commission of India has launched the Voter Helpline App, a mobile application to provide a single point of service and information delivery to voters across the country. The voter helpline app provides the following facilities:

  • Electoral search to help you search your elector details in the electoral roll.
  • Submission of online forms for new voter registration, shifting to a different constituency, for overseas voters, deletion or objection in the electoral roll, correction of entries & transposition within assembly.
  • Register complaints related to electoral services and track its disposal status.
  • The FAQ on voter, elections, EVM, & results.
  • Service & Resources for Voters & Electoral Officers.
  • Find the election schedule in your area
  • Find all the candidates, their profile, Income Statement, assets, criminal cases.
  • Find the Polling Officials and call them: BLO, ERO, DEO and CEO
  • Download the list of Contesting candidates in PDF format and take the print out.

The App can be downloaded from the Google Playstore.

Also read | Sikkim eases COVID-19 restrictions for tourists

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