Voters from Cradle to Grave and Beyond

An old story: An American firm ordered for one million electronic components on a Japanese firm and told that a defect rate of one per thousand was acceptable. The delivery came with a note, “We have packed separately your 999,000 good parts and the 1,000 defective parts as per your orders. We are curious to know why you need the defective parts, to produce which we put in extra work.”

A recent story: A person known to my nephew Manu ordered for some components on three different Chinese companies to reduce the risk of poor quality if ordered on a single firm. He got consignments from all the three – all fake.

When all the parts are fake, rejecting is easy. Also, if the defect rate is higher than acceptable quality level, we can reject the supply. That is in industry.

A friend told me after door to door visit in wards 92 and 93 of Malleshwaram Assembly Constituency that about 50% of the entries in the voter lists are wrong. If not fake, many are stale and many incorrect. Those who have moved out of the houses have not moved out of the list. Those who have moved in have not entered the great voter lists. In some cases, people are in both the lists – in old and new addresses. If getting your name registered is not easy, so is changing address or deleting an entry. 

If we reject the voter list, we do not have a democratic process. What is our acceptable quality level? Some figures from the 27 Assembly Constituencies of Bangalore District, extracted from the published data at CEO’s website:  

  1. Total voters in these constituencies: 63,08,369. The current rolls are draft version and would be revised.
  2. EPIC number: Unique 10 alphanumeric character string is given as EPIC number to a voter. Old EPIC
    numbers are longer. The list has 
    12,72,877 voters records without EPIC numbers. In 49,287 other cases, the length of EPIC number is less than 10, suggesting that the number is not valid. We have 21% of voters without unique number to identify them. 1 in 5 defect on this count.
  3. The voter lists have several records where the voter’s name is blank whereas other details are available.
  4. Some records have ‘Husbands Name’ as the value entered against ‘Father’s Name’ label and vice versa.
  5. In some English lists, a few records are in Kannada.
  6. As per Sec 19 of R.P. Act, the minimum age for registration of a voter is 18 years. These voter lists has 1,741 voters whose age is less than 18, of whom 524 are age zero. Voter apathy?
  7. Zeenews reported that at 120 Kareng Teronpi is India’s oldest person. But, she is from Assam
    – not Karnataka. In Bangalore District voter lists we have 191 people older than the oldest
    person of India.

Mr. CEC, just born infants are eager to get in to your electoral rolls and the dead and gone are reluctant to get out of the list. Demonstration of Democratic Spirit from cradle to grave and beyond! Voter from the heaven league with ghost voters known to us. And, you talk of voter apathy!

A friend who visited most homes in two wards of Malleshwaram tells that 50% of the people in the list do not live in those addresses. People currently living on those addresses are not found in the list. They may be elsewhere. In many cases, people are found in both, the old and new addresses. Getting out of the list is probably more difficult than to get out.

http://www.voterreg.kar.nic.in/ opens a page for online registration. You have to register as
a user before you can register yourself as a voter. If you try to register as a user, it rejects you telling that the mobile phone is incorrect. I do not know which government rule mandates that a person should own
a mobile phone to qualify as a voter. In addition, even when a mobile number is entered, the system rejects it. People who have registered tell me that they get a message “This portal is closed only for Bangalore District.
It will be opened after 17 July 2012.” A day after or an year after or a decade after?

Many kinds of errors in the current voter lists can be avoided by good client and server side data validation. If and when the site opens for registration, we have to see what care the CEO has taken despite repeated suggestions from us and offers to help.  

Online registration of voters is a welcome feature and we want it to succeed. I have offered help to CEO in this and any other tasks. Waiting for his response.

A good carpenter measures twice before cutting once. Data entered once is used often. It is impossible
to prevent every data entry error, but we can easily stop simple errors while entering the data and later detect and correct errors that escape. Defect prevention and regular correction can help greatly to improve
overall data quality and instill some confidence in the system

We do not want to complain and distance from the issue; many of us want to help the system. We have not been successful yet in convincing the CEO to accept our offer of help. 

Here are a few sample records from the PDF files published by CEO:

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About pgbhat

A retired Naval Officer and an educationist. Has experience with software industry. A guest faculty at different institutes and a corporate trainer with software development companies.
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