January 25th is observed as National Voters’ Day by the Election Commission of India (ECI). Does it include real voters? I doubt. As mentioned in my last blog post, sloganeering and “celebrations” have started on January 14th.
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Some reality checks on the rolls of Bengaluru Legislative Assemblies, published on January 11th 2016:
Was there an exodus in parts of Mahadevpura?
ECI rules require District Electoral Officers (DEO) to examine cases of deletions exceeding 2% and additions exceeding 4%. Deletion is more than 2% in 152 parts. Top 7 of them are from Mahadevapura constituency, with more than 20% deletions each. 266 parts have seen additions of more than 4%. Again, the top two are from Mahadevapura.
- Part No. 84 of Mahadevapura: 631 out of 927 voters are deleted – more than 68% – for having changed residence since October 2015. 260 voters, 28%, have been added in this period.
- Part No. 85 of Mahadevapura: 262 out of 1460 are deleted; again, for shifting residence. 640 voters, 78%, have been added during the period.
Why such a churn? Was there such an exodus? Are these deletions legal? We have the sad memories of illegal mass deletion of about 13.5 lakh Bangalore voters in 2012, which prompts one to think on these lines!
More voters than a booth can handle
- Capacity of an Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) is 2,000 votes. 32 parts in Bangalore have more than 2,000 voters each and no auxiliary booth is indicated in these parts. Though I have written several times to the ECI and several CEOs about the illegal practice of denial of voting rights by design, none has acted or responded.
- ECI has prescribed maximum of 1,400 voters per urban booth and 1,200 per rural booth. 1,257 booths of Bangalore have more than 1,400 voters. This would reduce voter turnout % due to inability of polling officials in managing the large crowd in booths and demotivation of voters seeing large queues and long waits.
About 1,000 electoral records of Bengaluru have unreadable text in the database. Other issues of duplicate entries, fake and duplicate entries, age errors, etc continue to plague the rolls.
Tamilnadu assembly elections are due this May. CEO-TN website shows unreadable garbage text labels for district and constituency names when we try to access pdf files. Also, though it is required that CEO publishes the electoral rolls of 16 constituencies of the state in English too, he has not been respecting this requirement.
ECI letter states that CEO Telangana has published new version of the rolls on January 5th. At the website, we find the old version. Though municipality elections for Hyderabad are due soon, we do not find the rolls for the elections in State Election Commissioner or GHMC website.
If we dwell on the poor state of Electoral Roll Management System of various states, the story would be similar.
In this Matadara Mahotsav and National Voters Day, even the President of India will honour some ECI/CEO officials for their ‘dedication’ and ‘professionalism’. However, the real matadara (voter) is frustrated and excluded from this tamasha.
This post was originally published on PG Bhat’s blog, and has been republished with due permissions.