Voting Counts: Liberty and Equality for All

Democracy & Governance | Mar, 2014

There is broad agreement between policymakers, scholars, civil society and business that good governance is a fundamental ingredient of sustained progress and economic development. Good governance relies on effective policies and laws, and the institutions that implement them. These are in turn shaped by the people that a society chooses to represent it. Elections therefore are critical for good governance and effective policymaking. Voting Counts provides an overview of governance-related issues that India faces today. The report initiates much-needed dialogue and greater engagement on election reform.

Citizens must have faith in the way that elected representatives are chosen; elections are the basis of our democracy and it is imperative to ensure that they are free, fair and representative. In Voting Counts, Dasra outlines focus areas for election reform in India. First, the report recommends that access to candidates’ criminal, financial, and educational backgrounds is provided in order to get a true picture of the prospective elected official. In addition, more stringent monitoring of election-related expenses and donations to political parties and candidates is required, along with penalties for defaulters. Finally, it is important to empower citizens with information and facts to base their voting decisions on, and to follow up on campaign promises made by elected officials and political parties.

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