Online voter roll registrations in Beengaluru were closed for sometime, on September 26, 2013. Those who logged in to the Karnataka Election Commission website received a message, saying that the voter registration will reopen after the publishing of the draft electoral roll.
Now it is that time of the cycle when the draft rolls will be out soon and registrations will re-open. Karnataka Chief Election Officer Anil Kumar Jha talks about the Election Commission’s plans, in an interview with Citizen Matters.
Voters registration was suppossed to be open from August 10 till November 11, 2013. Why did it close now?
Registration is a continuous process. It was closed during elections and now, because we are preparing the Draft Electoral Role (DER). This will be released on October 30, 2013.
The DER is the list of present electors. It includes the names of the voters, polling station and the constituency. It will be published on the website www.ceokarnataka.kar.nic.in. People can also see the list at the offices of the Registration Officers and ward corporation office. People can check their details. If they find any errors or if they do not find their name, they can re-apply or verify at the office.
From November 1, 2013, the voters registration will start again. This is a routine annual exercise. But before any general elections, registration and releasing the list is a rigorous process.
What did the EC do during this break? Any major reform expected?
In one month, the officers review new applications. Before publishing all the data as draft roll, we do printing and accounting of all database. During the printing time, we do not undertake registration. It is not because of staff crunch, but the staff is busy with back end works. During this one month, we were receiving applications physically. Getting applications and processing them is a continuous process.
Has the EC tried to rectify the mass deletions and wrong registrations and duplications? Or do the people have to register themselves again?
Duplications or incorrect registrations happen, when people shift from one constituency to another and do not get themselves updated or changed in the voters list. A person has to update his details, each time he changes his address by way of deleting and re-registering. When people don’t do this, it leads to errors. Changing and updating, by filing Form- 6 is the responsibility of the voter. Deleting is our responsibility. But we cannot force people.
Apart from this, there are miscreants. There are also many technical or manual errors which take place. This is everywhere.
Now to keep a check of duplication, we have started checking while registering the voter itself. This will happen at the constituency level. Here, once the name is entered, the system will run a search to verify. If the name and details do not appear, the voter will be registered. But to compare details with other constituencies in the state and nation, it takes time. So we are publishing the DER and will re-run all the list of 224 constituencies and check the list for new entries.
What is the EC doing now to see that everyone is enrolled this time?
At the time of revision, we communicate to people to use the online technology and register. Now people can search their name from anywhere on the website, as it is a centralised database.
We are planning to rope in the E-Governance Department, so that forms can be collected at all Bangalore One and Karnataka One centres. During the assembly elections, 20 Bangalore One Centres were used for this purpose.
In order to capture the youth, we are planning to have student coordinators, who will be assigned the task of encouraging students to vote. Help of NCC and NSS volunteers will be taken to create awareness. College principals, hostel wardens and student union heads will be made the coordinating officers to collect details for registration and re-registration.
In case of industries, a coordinator, either from the company or the union, will be made the coordinator. In case of apartment complexes or protected communities where entry of people is restricted even for government officials, we will notify one representative who will be made the coordinator. The same will also be applicable in all areas where going door-to-door is not possible.
These coordinators will be registered and recognised by the BBMP, which is the electoral office. The BBMP commissioner is in charge of Bangalore’s 28 constituencies. The coordinator’s name, address, EPIC number and mobile number will be registered with the BBMP and the Election office.
Massive advertising campaigns will also be undertaken to make everybody aware.
Which census data is the EC taking this time, 2001 data or 2011 data?
We are using the 2011 data. Upto the last election, we extrapolated on the 2001 data and added the annual growth rate. But now we have the census figures of 2011 with us.
What should be the electoral to population ratio? What should be the ideal number of voters in Bangalore, according to 2011 census?
Ideally 65% of the population should be the electors. For Karnataka, we have reached this figure. But in case of Bangalore, the figure should be 2-3% more than the average, because of the migratory population, large number of youth and and working population residing here. But the exact figures are difficult to say, as Bangalore houses a large migratory population.
Is there any plan to go to each house and verify the suspicious records this time? Door- to- door verifications?
Door-to-door verifications will be done, though difficult.
Which organisations can help people enrol for the voter list? Who are all the EC is tied up with?
We do not have to tie up with anybody. We encourage NGOs, industry associations, students, individual volunteers and resident welfare associations to volunteer with us for the work.
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