“After I became eligible to vote in 2006, I voted for the first time in Kannur in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. That day, I realised the power of the vote,” he said. He was diligent, too, about sticking to his promise and says that although he pursued higher studies outside Kerala, he “bunked classes and came to vote for the local body and Kerala assembly polls in 2010 and 2011, respectively”.
But things changed when his parents moved to Kochi in 2012 and he landed a job at an IT firm in the city. Since then, Nair has not been able to vote as he couldn’t take leave on voting day to go to his home town, where he is still enrolled as a voter. As his personal and professional commitments increased, he found it increasingly difficult to travel 250 km “just to vote”.
Nair represents a group that can’t vote despite being in the same state: there are hundreds of such Malayali IT professionals who are unable to travel and vote, thus adding to the lost votes.
“I want to vote but circumstances are not in my favour at times. Voting is not top priority now. But if I get a chance to vote in Kannur while sitting here in Kochi, I would love that,” he said.
Nair thought about transferring his vote to Kochi, but felt that would be impractical as ‘one day’ he would like to return home. But he believes technology can solve the problem. “We can implement secure, transparent and foolproof systems that enable voters to vote from anywhere in the world. Many countries have that facility,” he said.