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.

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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.
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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?

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Elections are Coming: CEO-KA Plays PEEKABOO. Site out of sight – not out of mind

Chief Electoral Officer, Karnataka, website has been playing Peekaboo with the citizens for some time. When we think that we have found it, at last, it misbehaves for a few days and hides again.  If you are a visitor without purpose, it could be entertaining to see various avatars of the site. Now I see the home page of  Drug Control Department when I try to see the CEO’s site. However, by entering http://164.100.80.163/ceo3/ we can get the CEO’s page. Peekaboo!

In addition to different websites appearing when we look for CEO-KA website, the data we get from different official sources also differ widely, confusing and misleading the citizens.

Hard copies and soft data.

As per the Manual on Electoral Rolls, October 2016, published by ECI, the final rolls once published should not be altered. Additions, deletions, and modifications are indicated in the supplements to the main part. The part, section, and the serial number of the voter should not change till the rolls are integrated, which is done once a year, mostly in October. Though this is not explicitly stated in the manual, we infer this from the procedures mentioned in the document. Also, such has been the practice by CEOs of various states and UTs.

Therefore, the voter records that appeared in the integrated rolls published on 30 Nov 2017 should have remained as the main part of the rolls without any change in the next version published on 28 Feb 2018. However, voters were further shuffled across parts in the version. More than 2,000 electoral rolls missed hundreds of serial numbers, creating confusion. E.g., AC1600118.pdf had starting serial number 6, and ending serial number as 1,888 for the 486 voters in the document. This part had 944 voters in the version published on 30 Nov 2017.

In a meeting on 19 Mar 2018, the Joint CEO, and Special Commissioner, Elections, accepted that there were such errors and they would be corrected.

Now, the CEO-KA has quietly corrected 2,558 of the 8,287 electoral rolls of Bangalore and republished on his website. Though these were published much later, the documents show the date of publication as 28 Feb 2018. When the organisation is not quality conscious, corrections come with their own set of new errors. Regression tests? What is that now?

The hard copies of the electoral rolls were printed in Feb and distributed to the recognised political parties. The political parties, however, don’t seem to care about the truthfulness and integrity of data.

EROs and their staff also get the hard copy electoral rolls, who use the documents in their work on electoral roll maintenance. Even when digital copies are available, they leaf over lakhs of pages of electoral rolls to find records, detect duplicate entries, inform voters, etc. Access to the digital copies, for them as well, is through CEO-KA website, which is difficult to access and has been taking people to wrong sites. To put an axe on your own foot!

The data in the PDF electoral rolls have now changed softly, but unknown to the people using the hard copies – officially using a wrong version.

Disparity and despair

We can get voter data from three sources – CEO-KA website, NVSP, and the voter list hard copies. Take the example of a voter record with EPIC number ZUI5475405

  1. EPIC number ZUI5475405 is at serial 14 of the officially distributed hard copy of AC16000118.pdf. The polling station for the part is Merry Mount Nursery, Primary, and High School, Devaraj Urs Road, Vekateshapura, KG Halli, Bangalore – 560 045.
  2. Search on CEO-KA website gives the record at serial number 2 of part 118 of AC160. This matches with the soft copy of the PDF electoral roll on CEO-KA website.
  3. Search at NVSP site gives the record at part 112 of the constituency, serial number 2. Polling station address is Sophia English Nursery Primary & High School. NVSP site also states that the record was last updated on the date of the query. NVSP has been out of sync with voter data of Karnataka for a few years. I have been requesting them to stop the disservice.

Three official sources and three different versions of the data. The principle of defect clustering states that if we find some defects in an area of the system, there would be far more undetected defects there.

Poor turnout? Voter apathy?

Educated urban middle class does not vote? I am from this section of the society and do not like the blame.

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Elections are Coming: deletion by modification and fake modifications

In 2013, thousands of voter records were virtually deleted by over-writing with someone else’s record while modifying the record in response to Form-8. This was accepted by the CEO Karnataka as a problem with the system/process.

Though such cases are rare now, some of the modifications are still suspect. E.g., the voter with EPIC number AKB1344886 has become IMTHIYAZ to SHAMA, male to female, 46 years to 35 year old, and the voter’s relative from IBRAHIM KHAN (father) to AJAZ KHAN (husband). Possibility? Yes. Probability? Don’t such cases deserve to be checked?

Also, thousands of voters deleted due to such over-writing have not been restored. They have lost their voting rights. I have offered help to CEO-KA to identify such cases.

In addition, 6.38% of the records marked as modified are not different from the original even by a character. CEO-KA should get the modification requests for such cases checked to see the reason for not modifying the records though marked as modified.

In the world of six-sigma, an error rate of 6.38% would be a disaster.

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Elections are Coming: get a duplicate voter record free

A large number of duplicate entries in electoral rolls affects the truthfulness of statistical observations. When people say that turnout % in an election is low in Bangalore, that calculation is based on electoral rolls bloated with duplicate entries and illegal entries like those of dead voters.

For the past 6 years, every time the CEO Karnataka published the electoral rolls, I have been reporting the counts of suspected duplicate entries by category. Whereas the occurrences of duplicate entries have reduced over the years, a lot of duplicate records remain in the rolls.

It is easy to identify and delete duplicate entries. I identify the suspected duplicate entries by fuzzy comparison of name and relative name strings. If the photographs of such short-listed suspicions are compared, we would have a list of most likely duplicate entries to field verify and delete. In 2013 I had submitted to ECI the software to find duplicates including photo comparison. The application can be refined and improved.

As an example, see the counts of suspected duplicate records of Basavanagudi constituency by categories (note: a set is of two records in serials 1 to 4 below):

  1. Duplicated with the EPIC number: 2 sets. These are sure duplicates.
  2. Duplicated within the same house: 426 sets. Mostly duplicates.
  3. Not from the same house, but from the same part: 1049 sets. Likely duplicates.
  4. From different parts, sets of two records: 10,046. Some of them are duplicates. When a person changes his part in some cases, it might not have been deleted from the old one.
  5. Like category 4, but with more than 2 records per set: 2,434 sets.

While old duplicate entries continue in the rolls, new duplicate entries are created with each new version.

  1. New entries are made even though records of these voters are already even in the same part.
  2. A new record is entered twice as contiguously.

Some example counts of freshly created duplicate entries between 30 Nov 2017 and 28 Feb 2018 are as follows:

Constituency Additions New Dupl OA New Dupl AA Total New Dupl Dup by Addn %
AC151 17,392 60 140 200 1.15
AC158 7,704 79 50 129 1.67
AC159 6,992 38 41 79 1.13
AC160 11,906 75 136 211 1.77
AC161 10,358 91 148 239 2.31
AC162 4,831 66 30 96 1.99
AC163 10,329 84 60 144 1.39
AC170 8,115 100 52 152 1.87
AC172 8,067 42 51 93 1.15

In the table above, column “New Dupl OA”  gives the count of records entered though the records already existed in the rolls. Column “New Dupl AA”  gives the count of records entered twice. 1.15% to 2.31% of new data entries have created duplicate records.

We can modify the data entry software to detect and warn when a duplicate entry is being made.

Duplicate records are one of several quality issues in the electoral rolls of Bangalore.  It may be too late to act before the Assembly Elections in May to cleanse the rolls. However, if CEO-KA desires, he can cleanse the rolls well before the Loksabha Elections 2019.

 

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