Are Muslims Being Excluded from the Electoral Rolls?

Abstract: Dr. Abusaleh Shariff has written a few articles and responded to questions in an interview stating that Muslim voters are being excluded from the electoral rolls and that the Muslims are losing interest in Electoral Politics. His views are based findings from his research. My analysis following similar methods as Dr. Shariff shows that Muslim representation in the electoral rolls is proportional to their population and that they participate in elections with the same vigour as the non-Muslims.

“Electoral Exclusion of Muslims Continues to Plague Indian Democracy,” is the title of a paper published in the Economic and Political Weekly (EPW), Vol. 53, Issue No. 20, 19 May 2018. See. The abstract states,”…nearly one quarter of Muslim adults in Karnataka were out of the electoral rolls [as against] about 15% of all adults … Evidence of non-listing of Muslim electorate in large proportions is found in other states as well …”

On 30 October, my attention was drawn to the paper in EPW. While I was reflecting on it, I found a few more stories based on this article. Khalid Saifullah, Abusaleh Shariff, and Mohsin Alam Bhat wrote a similar story in  Times of India, Edit Page, 04 November 2018, adding a few more arguments. Dr. Shariff’s interview with Scroll.in was more damning. See. An accusative version of the article also appeared in Vartha Bharathi epaper. Economic Times editorial wrote referring to the Times of India article.

Center For Research and Debates in Development Policy, New Delhi (CRDDP), has a website named missingmuslimvoters.com. They do research on missing Muslim voters and  CRDDP urges the community leaders, politicians and philanthropists to support this cause to politically empower the Muslims of Karnataka and seeks donations.

Mr. Wazaht Habibullah, the former Chief Information Commissioner of India, took up a case with the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) based on Dr. Shariff’s paper. The CEC referred the case to  Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Karnataka. The current status of the case is not known. Some learned and highly respected people appear to be supporting Dr. Shariff’s views.

Source of Data

CEOs of states and UTs publish the electoral rolls of their states/UTs at their websites in PDF format, generally twice a year. In election years, they publish the rolls 3 or 4 times. I have studied the electoral rolls of 13 states/UTs and have been analysing every version of the electoral rolls of Delhi and Bangalore since 2010.  This gives me a fairly good understanding of the Electoral Roll Management System (ERMS) of the Country. However, I had not checked for any community bias in the system.

The above findings by Dr Abusaleh Shariff et.al. are disturbing. If the findings are true, it is sad and I would work with people trying to correct this situation. It is equally bad if the findings are not consistent with the results of another analysis of the same data because misleading observations of such sensitive matters can affect communal harmony.

The authors state that the findings are based on electoral roll data published by CEO, Karnataka. Because I have 19 versions of Electoral Rolls of Bangalore District published between April 2012 and October 2018, it is easier for me to repeat their analysis to test the veracity of Dr, Shariff’s findings.

With Dr. Shariff and his IT specialist, I have shared my sample data, references, and source code used for the analysis. I have offered to work with them on this analysis task.

Sample Data

As stated in his interview with scroll.in, Dr. Shariff had chosen 25 constituencies of Karnataka for his research. He has stated, “Any statistician will tell you that an 11% sample is good enough to understand an all-pervasive event in the universe of 224 constituencies.”

As reported, Karnataka had 49,682,351 voters for the assembly elections in May 2018. My sample consists of about 90,00,000 voters of 28 constituencies of Bangalore District, with 18.12% of Karnataka voters.

Table-1: Comparison of Samples

Dr. Shariff’s Sample PG Bhat’s Sample
From rural Karnataka From urban Karnataka – only the voters of Bangalore
The sample has 11% of Karnataka voters A larger sample with 18.12% of Karnataka voters
1.       The population of Bangalore may not be much different from the rest of Karnataka in the % of Muslim voters and the voters’ beliefs and behaviour.

2.       Data quality of electoral rolls of Bangalore is poorer than that of the rural Karnataka as agreed by the CEO in some meetings.

3.       I consider that the two samples represent the factors under analysis equally.

 

Table-2 below has a summary of the findings in the two analyses – one by Dr. Shariff and the other by me. Details of each item are explained in succeeding paragraphs.

Table-2: Differences in the factors observed by Dr. Shariff and PG Bhat

Dr. Shariff PG Bhat
1 18% of applications for registration were rejected with a reason that the applicants are not citizens of India. As understood from the CEO’s office, the report generator software had an error which reported wrong reasons. The software has since been corrected and verified.
2 20% of the Muslims are excluded from the electoral roll. The electoral rolls have 12.94% Islamic names, close to their population %. Voters are not excluded from the electoral rolls with any communal bias.
3 Muslims are slowly withdrawing from electoral politics. Muslims register as new voters with the same zeal as non-Muslims.

Voter turnout% is higher in booths where the % of Muslim voters is high.

Muslims seem to participate in electoral politics more vigorously than non-Muslims.

4 Single-voter household indicates the exclusion of voters. 20% of the Muslim households have single-voters whereas only 12.3% of the non-Muslim households have single-voters.

This implies exclusion of Muslim voters in Karnataka.

1.       % of single-voter Muslim households is about equal to the % of Muslim voters. Similar is the case with non-Muslims.

2.       Electoral rolls do not have dependable house addresses. Many people living in one house are shown in different houses.

3.       We cannot group the electors by houses with unreliable data on houses.

We cannot conclude that Muslims are excluded from the electoral rolls based on the counts of single-voter households.

5 Up to 15% of the total electorate of around 130 million adult citizens is missing from the electoral rolls. Census report states that 41.1% of Indian population is below 18 years. CEO-KA reports an elector/population ratio of 72.8%. This indicates a bloat of 15% – not a deficit.

It is not possible to estimate the count of unregistered voters based on electoral roll data rife with illegal entries.

Applications Rejected on the Ground of Applicant Not Being Indian Citizen

Dr. Shariff: “… during 2017-18, a high 62% were rejected — as many as 18% were denied on the ground of not being Indian citizens and 24% for unspecified reasons.”

Analysis & Discussion:

It was later found out that applications which were rejected for reason ‘Shifted Residence’ were shown as ‘Not Indian Citizen’ in the report generated in response to queries on CEO-KA website. This was due to an error in the report generator software, which has since been corrected. Subsequent checks show these records as rejected for having shifted residence and not for non-citizenship.

Between January and October 2018, only 10.61% of the applications for registration as voter were rejected in Bangalore as seen from CEO-KA website. This is far lower than 62% rejections observed by Dr. Shariff.

Thanks to Dr. Shariff’s observation, the error in software was corrected promptly.

Islamic Names in the Electoral Rolls

Dr. Shariff: “I realised that the number of Muslim voters has declined over the years. This realisation became my motivation to study Karnataka’s electoral rolls. … A large number of Karnataka’s adults are not on its voters list. This number is particularly high for Muslims – 20% or 13 lakh Muslim adults are not on the electoral rolls. In comparison, 12.3% or 53.2 lakh non-Muslims will not be able to vote for the same reason. This finding should be seen in the context that Muslims constitute just 13% of Karnataka’s population.”

Analysis & Discussion:

Classification of voter records. From The Dictionary of Islamic Names and about ten websites giving Muslim baby names I collected the words in Islamic names. From each voter record, I checked every word in voter name and relative name to see if it is in the collection of Islamic name words. The % of words in the voter name and relative name identified as Islamic name word is the score for the record being of a Muslim voter  – ranging between 100% to 0%. Where the score is above 50%, the name is considered Islamic. Manual verification of this simple classification in 100 randomly selected electoral rolls showed that the classification is acceptable. False positive cases were lower than false negative cases, i.e., wrong classification as Islamic names was lower than wrong classification as non-Islamic names. A more detailed classification scheme can be employed. However, for the current analysis, a small margin of error is considered acceptable. This classification is similar to the one used by Dr. Shariff’s research team.

The electoral rolls of Bangalore used in the latest Assembly Elections in May 2018 have 12.94% Islamic names. It may even be a little higher considering that we have a little higher false negative cases than false positive cases. This is very close to the approximated 13% Muslim population in the state. Dr. Shariff’s claim that 20% of the Muslims are excluded from the electoral rolls compared with 12.3% of non-Muslims is not true in Bangalore. We cannot conclude that a larger number of Muslims are excluded from the electoral rolls of the state.

Do Muslims Participate in Electoral Process?

Dr. Shariff: “… It was a feeling that Muslims are slowly withdrawing from electoral politics and that their voting behaviour has changed from the past.”

Analysis & Discussion:

Registration as Voters. The CEO-KA publishes lists of applications for additions, deletions, and modifications and their status on his website. Between February and May 2018, 13.38% of the additions are of Islamic names, a little higher than the % of their population. The Muslims are as engaged as others in the electoral politics especially on the eve of an election.

Voter Turnout. Forms 20 give the election results at booth level, from which we know the total votes cast per booth. From the electoral rolls, we know the number of voters in each booth. From these two data, we derive voter turnout% for each booth. Having classified the voter names as Islamic and non-Islamic we also know the % of Muslim voters in each booth. If the Muslims are disengaged from the electoral process, turnout % should be lower where the % of Muslim voters is higher and vice-versa. This would be a negative correlation between the % of Muslim voters and voter turnout%. Studies show a clear positive correlation when the % of Muslim voters is above 25%, indicating that Muslims certainly participate in electoral politics, even with more enthusiasm.

Muslims do not seem to be disillusioned with the electoral process.

Appendix-1 has scatter plots to visualise the correlation between the % of Muslim voter in parts and voter turnout%.

Single Person Households

Dr. Shariff argues strongly that single-voter households indicate that other eligible electors from the house are excluded from the electoral rolls and with this logic states, “… the incidence of exclusion among Muslims is nearly 24 percentage points more than among All-Others…” He has also mentioned that CRDDP estimated net single person voter households as a percentage of total voters (%) is 20% for Muslims and 12.3% for others.

Analysis & Discussion:

From the electoral rolls of 28 Bangalore constituencies, I calculated the following for each part:

  1. Voters in the part.
  2. Count of voter records with Islamic names – Muslim voters.
  3. % of Muslim voters in the part.
  4. Number of houses in the part – unique value of (section number + house number)
  5. Number of houses with single
  6. Number of houses with single voter where the voter is Muslim.
  7. % of single voter Muslim households.
  8. Variance = item7 – item3. Positive variance indicates possible higher exclusion of Muslims and negative variance indicates possible lower exclusion of Muslims.

Finding: In 8,286 parts, the average variance is 0.20%. Dr Shariff’s statement that % of single person households is 20% for Muslims while it is 12.3% for others does not seem to be correct in Bangalore constituencies representing more than 18% of Karnataka voters. Dr. Shariff’s conclusion is for the entire Karnataka.

In Bangalore constituencies, the % of single-voter Muslim households are proportional to the % of Muslim voters in the part, similar to non-Muslim voters. This differs from Dr, Shariff’s observation.

One reason for a large number of single-voter households is wrong addresses in the voter records. There are many cases of members living in one house being shown in different houses. E.g., the corporator of BBMP ward 162 actually has 3 voters in her house. They are wrongly shown in 3 different houses. When 3 members of a household are shown in 3 different houses, instead of one household with 3 members, we may get 3 single-voter households. There are many examples where voters in one house are shown in different houses.

Dr. Shariff: “Our data for Karnataka shows that there are 66.2 lakh households in Karnataka, of which 13 lakhs are Muslim and the remaining 53.2 lakh All-Others.”

Analysis & Discussion: Dr. Shariff’s finds that 19.64% of the houses in the electoral rolls are of 13% Muslim population. However, in Bangalore, the % of Muslim houses compare well with the % of Muslim voters. House addresses in the electoral rolls are highly unreliable. Analysis findings based on them would not be reliable.

Low Elector/Population Ratio

Dr. Shariff: “Up to 15% of the total electorate of around 130 million adult citizens is missing from the electoral rolls.”

Analysis & Discussion:

Census India report states that 41.1% of Indians are below 18 years old. Hence, Elector/Population (E/P) ratio higher than 58.9% would mean fake and illegal entries in the electoral rolls – even if every eligible citizen is registered as a voter. In a press statement on 10 Oct 2018, CEO-KA stated that the E/P ratio for Karnataka is 72.8%. The electoral rolls are rife with duplicate entries. Many dead persons or the ones who have shifted residence are not removed from the electoral rolls.

With about 15% bloat in the electoral rolls, it is not clear how Dr. Shariff could conclude that the rolls are missing 15% of the voters based on the data from the electoral rolls.

In the past, there have been several cases of deletion of voters without due diligence. E.g.,

  1. In 2012, CEO-KA deleted 13.5 lakh voters out of about 65 lakhs voters of Bangalore. In response a PIL, the High Court of Karnataka directed the CEO to restore such voter suo-motu.
  2. In April 2014, admitting that there was indifference on the part of poll officers in Maharashtra, Election Commissioner HS Brahma told Economic Times that the large number of deletions from the electoral rolls in the state was unfortunate and the poll watchdog regrets the error.
  3. In December 2018, Shashidhar Reddy complained that about 68 lakh voters were missing from the electoral rolls of Telangana. CEO, Telangana, apologised for the lapses.

In the light of such occurrences in many states, it is important to investigate the reasons for such repeated lapses and also to see if there is a community bias. We have to study deeper to find the full facts.

Conclusions – Large Variance in Findings Between Two Analyses:

By repeating the analysis using the same approach as Dr. Shariff, I find contradicting results. I have offered to work with Dr. Shariff on this analysis and have shared the data, references, algorithm and source code. Exploring further – refining the analysis methods and working with different sets of data samples – may reveal truths we do not know. Inclusive democratic processes are very important and we cannot ignore symptoms to the contrary.

The inescapable conclusion is that Dr. Shariff’s analysis could be perceived as coloured based on extraction of convenient data


Appendix-1: Scatter Plots

Scatter plots are used to plot data points on a horizontal and a vertical axis in an attempt to show how much one variable (dependent variable) is affected by another (independent variable). Each row in the data table is represented by a marker whose position depends on its values in the columns set on the X and Y axes.

The relationship between two variables is called their correlation. If the markers are close to making a straight line in the scatter plot, the two variables have a high correlation. If the markers are equally distributed in the scatter plot, the correlation is low, or zero. However, even though a correlation may seem to be present, this might not always be the case. Both variables could be related to some third variable, thus explaining their variation, or, pure coincidence might cause an apparent correlation.

The following scatter plots with trend lines (line of best fit) have Muslim Elector % in X-axis as the independent variable and the turnout % on the Y-axis as the dependent variable. Data points, represented by dots on the plot, are the voter turnout% in a booth with the % of Muslim voters shown on the corresponding position on X-axis. The positive gradient of trend lines shows that voter turnout% improves when there are more Muslim voters in the part.

Fig-1: Voter turnout% against % of Muslim voters in the part

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig-2: Voter turnout% against % of Muslim voters where Muslim voter% is between 25 and 50

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig-3: Voter turnout% against % of Muslim voters where Muslim voter% is more than 50

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. If Muslims are not engaging in the process, we should expect voter turnout percentage to be very low in the areas with the higher Muslim population. It appears this is not so.
  2. Further, there are almost no Muslim dominated areas with very low turnout. It doesn’t seem like those areas are not engaged in the voting process. In fact, the problematic areas (low voter turnout) are areas with low % of Muslims.
  3. The big question is why is the electorate not turning up in some areas relative to the others. The variance in voter turnout is highest at low values of Muslim electors. So there is some other factor (and NOT Muslim elector %)  that may better explain why some areas have low voter turnout than others.
  4. We can run a regression of voter turnout % against all known attributes of the electorates. These include economic indicators (income), social indicators (caste %), education, and other factors. We can see what are the economically and statistically significant variables. It’s unlikely to be Muslim voter % based on the scatter plot.

Appendix-2: Other Points

Dr. Shariff: ” I have 40 years of experience in data collection and data mining. All the protocols through which any data has to pass were followed, including cleaning and setting. The procedures we followed were labour-intensive and often, meticulous matching of individual cases became necessary.”

Analysis & Discussion: Despite the experience and rigour, we find that some outcomes of the research do not match with the reality.

Dr. Shariff: ” Obviously, I wish to know the social identity of the missing voters in the All-Others category. My sense is that it would be marginalised groups like Dalits. I say this on the basis of the Muslim community being a marginalised group ”

Analysis & Discussion: Such statements, without evidence, can create social disharmony.

Dr. Shariff: “We did bring the issue of exclusion of Muslims from the voters list to the notice of the state’s minority commission and the Karnataka government secretary who liaises with the Election Commission. We also wrote to the Election Commission of India and the chief election officer in Karnataka”

Analysis & Discussion: Dr. Shariff’s analysis repeated with another sample of a larger size gives different findings. I hope that Dr. Shariff’s complaints won’t be taken on their face value without a deeper and more complete analysis.

Dr. Shariff:

” It could be a demand and supply kind of problem. For instance, over the years, Muslims have come to feel that it does not matter whether they vote. For instance, the Bharatiya Janata Party has not fielded a single Muslim candidate in many recent elections. It also says it does not want Muslim votes. This kind of discourse discourages or holds back Muslims from enrolling themselves in the voters list. This could very well be the psychology of other marginalised groups too.

Second, those entrusted with preparing the voters list simply go to a chauraha [crossroads], point at homes and ask who their owners are. Normally, the name of the person heading the household is noted and the other members left out. They do not conduct a house-by-house survey. Guiding the “enrolment officer” is often a person from a dominant social group.

Third, there could be a systemic bias against Muslims, a bias so strong that leads to the exclusion of an entire locality or area in a constituency.

The demand side of the problem is about the system not motivating or encouraging them to vote. There are politicians who suppress certain social groups from coming out to exercise their franchise. But the same politicians also motivate voters from their own communities to enrol and vote. Unfortunately, the Election Commission does not seem to have proactively stepped in to prevent such a manipulation of the electoral system.”

Analysis & Discussion:

The first point is not true with the electoral rolls of Bangalore – a sample larger than the one chosen by Dr, Shariff. % of Muslim voters seem to be close to the % of Muslim population. Also, Dr. Shariff’s statement gives a political colour to the argument.

The second point is different from my experience with the electoral registration process with which I am closely involved for the past nine years.

The data does not show any bias against any community though such a possibility is mentioned in the third point.

The last point is different from the fact because we see that Muslims turnout to vote better than other communities

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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.

 

 

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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