Elections are Coming: Search Your Name in Electoral Rolls

In my last post I had given a reference to check your name in electoral rolls. That link was pointing to an older version of voter database. The link is now corrected to point to the current database. In the CEO-KA home page left column, select ‘Search my Name in Voter List’ and then choose ‘Search Name Draft Roll – 2019’

The mismatch in the serial numbers between the search results and the PDF electoral rolls, mentioned in my last blog post, was due to referring to an older version of the database.

It is important that we voters verify that our names are still in the electoral rolls every time a new version is published as the names mysteriously disappear from the rolls, routinely.

In January this year, Prashant from Mahadevapura constituency went through a month-long agonising experience to get his and his family members’ names registered as voters.  They voted in the Assembly Elections 2018 as their names were in the voters list published in May. Now they have disappeared from the list! There could be many more such cases of valid voters being deleted from the rolls without any notice or rhyme or reason. An old practice followed by many CEOs of the country.

Do check if your names are in the rolls and if you do not find them, do register again.

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Elections are Coming: CEO-KA Publishes Draft Electoral Rolls 2019

On 10 Oct 2018 the Chief Electoral Officer, Karnataka, (CEO-KA) published the draft electoral rolls for 2019. In May 2018 Bangalore had 8,287 polling stations (parts). Since then, with rationalisation of polling stations, 227 new parts are added and now Bangalore has 8,514 polling stations.

English version of the Electoral Rolls are not published for 4 constituencies: Chikpet, Mahadevapura, Bangalore South, and Anekal.

For Voters: Your name may appear in a part different from the one in May 2018. In the past rationalisations there have been cases where names were removed from one part but not added to any other. Check your names in the electoral rolls by searching at CEO’s website to ensure that your name is in the rolls and also to know your polling station and voter serial number. This information is unlikely to change till September/October 2019 as per the recommended practice.

In some sample cases, the voter serial numbers we get on a search query do not match with the ones in electoral rolls. As per ECI policy, the voter database should be frozen before publishing the electoral rolls at CEO website. Now we have a disparity between the database and the voter lists. This indicates that the number of voters in the published electoral rolls are different from what is in the database. Some voters added/deleted from the database are not shown in the PDF electoral rolls.

NVSP continues to be out of sync: National Voters’ [dis]Services Portal has been reporting stale data (about 2 years old) for several years. We get wrong part/polling booth and the voter serial number If we search at NVSP site. In addition, deleted voters may still be in the list and voters added during the past two years won’t be found. Despite repeated requests to either sync the data or to discontinue giving misleading information, the ECI has not cared to act. However, if you find your record at NVSP site, you can be happy that you are two years younger as per ECI.

Do not trust NVSP.

CEO’s False Claim:

In a press note on 10 October 2018, the CEO-KA stated, “House to house visit by the BLOs to identify the dead and shifted electors, repeated entries, eligible persons who are yet to be enrolled as electors and also the persons who would be attaining the age of 18 years as on 1st Jan., 2019 has been completed.”

In my blog post of 15 Aug 2018 I have shown how the above statement is not true. Data on BLOs at CEO-KA website have never been correct. Non-existent BLOs do not verify the electoral rolls. As reported by Whitefield Rising, not a single BLO visit was recorded in Mahadevapura constituency.

I have sample cases of people shown as voters in certain houses who don’t live there for more than five years. BLOs have not identified the shifted voters even if they visited the houses.

In another blog post I had shown how we suspect about 20 lakh spurious entries in the electoral rolls of Bangalore. I have pleaded this case with the CEO-KA and the ECI. There was no response from the authorities, as usual.

Another press note of 10 Oct 2018 states that 1,83,111 voters of Bangalore have been deleted from the roll during the last revision. This still leaves a very large number of illegal entries in the electoral rolls of Bangalore.

Lying with Statistics and Lying about Statistics

The CEO’s press note states, “The projected population of the state as of 2019 based on census figures of 2011 works out to 69149544 and the estimated population aged 18 years and above is 48121635. The EP ratio as per the draft rolls is 72.80”

This makes the population below 18 to be 30.41%. Age Structure And Marital Status page on Census India website  states that 41.1% of the population of the country is below 18 years old. It is not possible that Karnataka has such a large variance in the age distribution compared to the whole nation. For this to happen, Karnataka should have had comparatively (a) much smaller birth-rate and or very high infant mortality (b) very long life for the elderly.

Either the census report is wrong or the CEO’s assumptions are wrong. If the census report is wrong, planning and budgeting activities of the country is farce. China’s great famine of 1960 was caused by the government acting on fictitious statistics. India cannot be on that path.

Even if the CEO is correct, his statement still proves a bloat in the electoral rolls. With 69.59% of the population (4,81,21,635 out of 6,91,49,544) being equal or more than 18 years old, the Electors to Population (EP) ratio can be 69.59 if every eligible citizen is enrolled as a voter. The CEO claims an EP ratio of 72.8.

Ironically another press note states that the EP ratio in Bangalore is 65.24. Why such a great variance in Bangalore compared from the state?

Unless we learn the references used and methods adopted to forecast the population, we are not sure of the truth. The numbers are not convincing.

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Elections Are Coming: Special Summary Revision of Electoral Rolls

Election Commission of India (ECI) approved Chief Electoral Officer, Karnataka (CEO-KA), proposal of a program for Special Summary Revision of Electoral Rolls. Of the 9 listed activities in the letter, we the citizens should note the following:

1. House to house visit by BLOs 16 Jul to 10 Aug 2018
2. Rationalisation of Polling Stations 27 Aug to 15 Sep 2018
3. Publication of integrated electoral rolls 10 Oct 2018
4. Period for claims and objections 10 Oct to 20 Nov 2018
5. Disposal of claims and objections by 20 Dec 2018
6. Final publication of electoral rolls 04 Jan 2019

House to house visit by BLOs

I an earlier blog post of 14 May I had argued that the electoral rolls of Bangalore have about 20 lakh spurious entries. I had written about this issue to the CEO-KA and the Chief Election Commissioner. Though there was no response to my letters and emails, CEO-KA has admitted in his statements to the press that the electoral rolls of Bangalore are bloated with illegal entries. He had also promised to cleanse the rolls. House to house visit by BLOs is expected to identify fake entries.

Have the BLOs visited? Whitefield Rising has complained to the CEO-KA today that not a single visit of BLO is recorded in Mahadevapura constituency.

As a pleasant surprise, Mrs. Hemavathi, claiming to be the BLO of my part (227 of Basavanagudi Constituency), visited me at home this Independence Day afternoon. BLO ID card issued to her by the District Electoral Officer  showed the part as ‘LAC,’ whatever it may mean. She had a copy of photo electoral roll of the part with her and I trusted her to be the BLO for the part. However, CEO-KA website shows one Mr. Narasimha Swamy as the BLO for the part.

Purpose of giving BLO details at CEO-KA website is to help citizens to reach out to them for help. The data there has been mostly fake for many years, irrespective of complaints from various NGOs and citizens.

Rationalisation of Polling Stations

This would result in addition of some polling stations and shuffling of voters across parts. Subsequently we may find our names in parts different from the current parts. There also have been several cases in Karnataka and other states where voters got deleted due to lack of diligence in the process.

Actions for Citizens

  1. If a BLO has not visited you or your friends/neighbours, complain to the CEO-KA about the lapse.
  2. When the new electoral rolls are published on 10 October, please make sure that your names are in the voter lists. If you find them missing, register again, filing Form-6. If some fake entries are found in your house, get them deleted using Form-7. If the data is wrong, get them corrected by filing Form- 8 or Form-8A. The EROs will accept these forms between 10 Oct and 20 Nov.
  3. If you file any of the above forms, they should be finalised by 20 Dec. Monitor the status at CEO-KA website.
  4. When the CEO-KA publishes the final electoral rolls at his website on 04 Jan 2019, please check that your name is in it and the details are correct. Data loss and data corruption happens with each new version of the electoral rolls. We have to check our records every time the CEO-KA publishes a new version.

 

 

Posted in eGovernance, Electoral Roll Management, Social Issue | 6 Comments

CEO-KA Statistics: Take with a pinch of salt and lakhs of voters

At his site, CEO-KA has published “Constituency-wise Report of Electors in the FINAL ROLL 2018.” He has also published ‘ CANDIDATE WISE VOTES DETAILS’ here.  CEO-KA published Draft Electoral Rolls for the year 2018 on 30 Nov 2017, a revised version on 28 Feb 2018 and the final version on 05 May 2018. Count of total electors in the 28 constituencies of Bangalore given in the CEO-KA report differs from what is in the electoral rolls he has published at his website:

  • CEO-KA report: 87,97,307
  • Electoral Rolls of 28 Feb 2018: 87,95,287
  • Electoral Rolls of 05 May 2018: 91,12,913

The counts in CEO-KA ‘FINAL ROLL 2018’ report are closer to the counts in the electoral rolls published on 28 Feb 2018 and short by 3,15,606 from the electors in the final rolls. However, the voter turnout % calculations are done using the counts in the electoral rolls published on 05 May 2018. Thus, what the CEO-KA calls final counts in his report is not final. The final-final is what is in the electoral rolls of 05 May 2018. Knowing the disparities between various reports by the  CEO-KA is important if we trust the reports for other analyses and possible actions.

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ECI, Stop Emotionally Blackmailing Bangaloreans with False Data.

Part 1: The Numbers are grossly wrong

Low voter turnout shames India’s IT city Bangalore states NDTV and others nod in agreements.  The authorities, politicians, noted citizens, all are aflame criticising the citizens for not participating in the elections. Newspaper have used highly derogatory phrases – especially Kannada newspapers – displaying cheap journalism and reporting wrong data.

Real voter turnout% in Bangalore was more than 70%. If it was to be larger than this with the shamefully poor electoral roll management, we should have grave concerns about illegal votes and rigging.

Crude Numbers First

In January 2018, District Electoral Officer, Bangalore, (Commissioner, BBMP) published District Plan 2018. The document gives various statistics for the28 assembly constituencies of Bangalore and states that the projected population for the election year is 1,31,11,500.

Age Structure And Marital Status page on Census India website http://censusindia.gov.in states that 41.1% of the population of the country is below 18 years old. That makes 58.9% of the population eligible to register as voters, which is 77,22,673 in Bangalore District. The electoral rolls of Bangalore have 91,13,095 people.

We know that lakhs of eligible citizens of Bangalore are not yet registered as voters. Various NGOs put dedicated efforts to get such people into the electoral rolls. CEO-KA accepted this fact by actions in programs like Minchina Nondani, a mass registration drive, conducted on 08 April 2018.

Even if we consider that every eligible citizen of Bangalore is registered as a voter, we still have 13,90,421 unaccountable entries in the rolls. Because we know that at least 6,00,000 eligible citizens have not yet registered as voters, we can suspect about 20,00,000 ingenuine entries in the electoral rolls of Bangalore. The genuine voters in the electoral rolls of Bangalore are only about 70,00,000.

http://ceokarnatakatemp.kar.nic.in/ceo1/GenELC_2018/GE2018_Voter_Turnout_End_Poll.PDF CEO Karnataka page gives the voter turnout% as 54.72 for Bangalore Urban constituencies, meaning that 49,86,685 people have voted. This number of the genuine voters of about 70 lakh people makes 71.24% turnout.

The bloat is not limited to Bangalore or Karnataka alone. It is a plague affecting the entire country. The then CEC told in a meeting on 25 Jan 2016, in the presence of the President of India, that the country had 85 crore voters. The population of the country should have been at least 144.31 crores to have 85 crore valid voters. The population of India then, as reported, was 129.52 crore. I had then written to the CEC showing how the electoral rolls of the entire country were bloated with illegal entries.

Bengalureans indeed turned out in large numbers to vote and the 54.72% announced by CEO-KA does not convey that.

Part 2: The electoral processes have been faulty on many counts

When the electoral system is insincere, voters get confused and frustrated. This would certainly cause a poorer turnout.

Abnormal Registrations and Subnormal Voter Turnout

ECI and CEO-KA slogans apart, most of the EROs (Electoral Registration Officers) in Bangalore have been most unfriendly to the citizens approaching them to register as voters. They spin new rules of their own and refuse to operate as per ECI rules and guidelines. In a visit to Mahadevapua on 20 March 2018 CEO-KA saw that most of the recommended processes for voter registrations were being violated by the officers and that the citizens were harassed. (See a sample news report here.)  This should not be a news to him because for years we have been reporting about the arrogant and non-professional behaviour of ERO staff in various parts of Bangalore.

Whitefield Rising was so frustrated with the treatment from the ERO staff that they filed a PIL in the High Court of Karnataka. During the progress of the case, the ERO of Mahadevapura has submitted an affidavit to the High Court, accepting that 66% of the online applications for voter registration were rejected without reason.

The other side of the story is that Mahadevapura constituency is one among the leaders in the number of new registrations. See my blog post here on the subject. Such high number of registrations even while the authorities desist from registering when citizens approach them raises a suspicion that the entries are not genuine and were done in bulk. The suspicion becomes stronger with the ugly example of Rajarajeshwari Nagar where thousands of Form-6 acknowledgments were found in one house.

On 26 Feb 2018, I wrote to the CEO-KA showing with numbers and bar charts that certain constituencies indicate very high addition of voters. As per ECI guidelines, if the additions are higher than 4% or the deletions are more than 2% in a part, the matter should be investigated. Such investigations were never done to the best of my knowledge. If only the CEO-KA had cared to inquire then, the possible fake registrations in Rajarajeshwari Nagar could have been discovered well in time. I suspect that such illegal registrations happened in a few other constituencies as well.

Data Denial

In an earlier post, I had written how CEO-KA makes data access difficult. Since then, accessing data on his website has become far worse with the pathetic slow response and navigation buttons taking the visitors to strange pages, suggestive of a hacked site.

CEO-KA was to distribute Photo Voter Slips. Many voters did not get these slips though he had assured in an email that he would ensure the distribution of voter slips. To know their polling booths before heading out to vote, people tried to seek the data at CEO-KA website. The site would not open.

Houses Divided by CEO-KA

The second pages of the electoral rolls give a map of the area covered in the part (booth). All the houses in that map should be in the part. This is not the case, alas!

My sister lives with her son and daughter-in-law. The three of them are in three different parts. Abracadabra! The CEO-KA has made one physical house to appear in three areas simultaneously. My daughter’s parents-in-law are happily married and live under one roof for the past 39 years – but not as per the electoral rolls. They are in different booths.

Errors lead to confusion and disenfranchisement.

Officially Fake Data

Because CEO-KA sight has been mostly not responsive for the past few months, it is natural for a citizen to look for other places to find his voter data. Search for ‘voter-search’ easily takes us to National Voters Services Portal (NVSP.in –> http://electoralsearch.in/) of ECI. Current data on this site is of Jan 2017. Lakhs of voters added since then do not appear on the rolls and those who are deleted show up as active. The part and voter serial numbers have since changed. To add insult to the injury, the results from the site also state ‘updated on ‘ making us believe that the data is the latest, hosted by the supreme authority on the conduct of elections.

This is not a new issue. Since Jan 2016 I have been writing to ECI and CEO-KA that their data are not synchronised. Several times during the past few months I requested the ECI and CEO-KA not to show any data for Karnataka electors at NVSP site if they cannot synchronise the right data. Even on the day of elections, NVSP continued to mislead the voters.


These are some of the issues reflecting KABBP (Knowledge, Attitude, Beliefs, Behaviour, and Practice – an ECI phrase aimed at the citizens) of the CEO-KA. In this situation, if the real voter turnout was higher than 70%, I would suspect some other malpractices.

Posted in Electoral Roll Management, Social Issue | 6 Comments

Elections are Coming: and almost here

Irrespective of the heat and dust created by the political parties and the candidates contesting the elections, the Met department has forecasted showers on Saturday the 12th. Let us hope the dust settles and the atmosphere cools down.

With only a day remaining for the elections, let us focus on how we all will cast our votes to a deserving a candidate – even if NOTA – and get our nails inked.

  1. ECI rules require the EROs to send you official voter slips containing Number and Name of Constituency, Part No., Name, Gender, EPIC No., Relatives name, Serial No., and the Polling Station details. If you have not received it yet, please call your BLO/ARO and ask for it. The slip will help us to find our voter record details and is not an identity proof. When you go to the booth, please carry EPIC card or any other photo ID card like Driving Licence or passport – a document with your photograph, issued by a government department.
  2. If you do not have the official voter slip, if a political party has given one, that would have the details as in the official voter slip.
  3. If you have neither of the above, try to find your details with a search on http://bpac.in/voter-search/. The data here is about 95% complete and 95% accurate. In the process of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) of data in the scanned PDF files published by CEO-KA, many typos are introduced and some data is lost. We have made our best efforts to get the data from the rolls published on 5th May.
  • All the fields are Optional.
  • Avoid initials. For K.J. Jesudas, use just Jesudas.
  • Don’t find your record? Try fewer letters from your First Name- any 3 consecutive characters.
  • Too many results? Enter data in more fields – like age, sex, house number
  • Many names are spelled differently in the electoral rolls. E.g.,: Try Swami instead of Swamy. Shanthi instead of Shanti.
  1. In some cases, you may not find the record at B.PAC site even though, it is in the electoral rolls. Call helpline 1950, search at CEO-KA website http://ceo.karnataka.gov.in/search2018/, call your BLO/ERO … The CEO-KA website is extremely slow. Links may take you to strange places, but not to your booth…  Have patience.
Posted in Electoral Roll Management, Social Issue | 1 Comment

Elections Are Coming: Sacked, Hacked, and Faked

Sacked

Today’s news reports state: “BBMP Commissioner Manjunath Prasad, was abruptly transferred on Thursday after an order passed by the Election Commission of India (ECI) … According to ECI officials, another reason was that polling officials in Bengaluru’s Yelahanka, KR Puram, Dasarahalli and Shanthinagar had raised complaints that there were around 7,000 fake names entered into the system. ”

“It is the EC’s prerogative to take a decision on shifting officials when he or she is found to have failed in discharging his or her duty. The transfer of Mr Manjunath Prasad is for cumulative reasons,” said Chief Electoral Officer [CEO] Sanjiv Kumar.”

The CEO-KA has accepted that there are cumulative reasons. Sad that the reasons have been cumulative – unsatisfactory functioning of offices under the CEO-KA for some time. Glad that the CEO, for once, has accepted the fact.  Functioning of these offices have been of very poor quality for decades and has got worse during the past couple of years.

Strange that the ECI has got a senior officer transferred just a week before the elections while they knew for years about the inefficient functioning of the machinery under BBMP. The tasks by the DEO, in this case by the BBMP Commissioner, are delegated by the CEO. A delegation of tasks does not absolve the ECI and the CEO of their responsibilities.

It is also strange that the ECI has chosen to punish an officer for lapses instead of rewarding like in the past. Very unfair.  E.g., In December 2012, High Court of Karnataka had found the CEO-KA guilty of wanton illegal deletion of about 13 lakh voters of Bangalore and asked him to restore them suo-motu. CEO-KA was given the President’s award for excellence of work in 2013. The next year the award went to CEO-MH who had also illegally deleted more than 4 lakh voters that year, leading to an apology to the public by the Chief Election Commissioner.

The inefficiency of the Electoral Registration Offices is mainly due to a bad system. Their work can be much simplified and made more efficient by a few simple changes to the procedures, and providing some software tools.  This responsibility lies with the ECI and the CEO. I have been offering help on this, which was rejected.

Hacked

Fake entries of electors were probably done by hacking the CEO-KA website. We have been reporting to the CEO for the past six months that his site is hacked. He denied it. Even today when we choose various options on his home page, we are led to strange sites. ECI has lately directed to make access to data difficult for common citizens in the name of data security. In addition, the CEO-KA site is pathetically slow.

Faked

Now, the authorities are talking of seven thousand fake voter records. We have been showing lakhs of fake entries in the rolls for many years. The CEO’s office has been defensive and did not act on cleansing the rolls.  In addition to the voter records, the CEO-KA site has a lot of other fake information dished out officially. ECI site NVSP.in has been giving wrong data on Karnataka voters at least for the past three years. They ignore the feedback and complaints.

Whom do you sack for the fake?

Posted in eGovernance, Electoral Roll Management, Social Issue | 1 Comment