Voters List – the root or rout of democracy: Muda, Mura, Muri

Muda, mura and muri are three Japanese terms about continuous improvement. The terms refer to waste, inconsistency or unevenness, and strain. Their avoidance is the main focus of Toyota Production System (TPS.) We say TATA to Toyota.

Working with the voter lists, I have been subjected to some muda, mura and muri.

The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) had published pdf files of Bangalore district assembly constituencies in April 2012. It was a good learning experience to analyse the contents and share some of the findings with the CEO and readers of my blog.

As I was progressing with the analysis, and planning to build a prototype application to demonstrate how we can improve the electoral rolls with the help of software, Chetan, a Senior Principal Correspondent of Bangalore Mirror, on 19 July told me that the CEO had published a new set of voter lists. Wow! I hoped to see many corrections.

Over the past one week, I worked long hours to extract information from the voter lists published on 20 July – termed as final list. With 6,389 documents, it is a non-trivial task, especially when the patterns and formats vary a little from one document to another. In the process, I found several inconsistencies in the count of records in the summary table and the count of records in the documents. From the summary tables in each of the documents, I calculated the total number of voters to be 57,41,488. On extracting all the voters from the lists, I could get only 56,84,122 voters. To cross-check this, when I see the latest documents in CEO’s website, many final documents dated 25 July have replaced the ones published on 20 July. CEO’s site still states Final Electoral Rolls as on 01-01-2012 of 27 Assembly Constituencies of Bangalore City Published on 20-07-2012 in PDF Version . It would be truthful and helpful to state the actual date of publishing the documents rather than this misleading inconsistency.

Now I have to re-start the entire process!

The Election Commission has asked the CEOs to make the electoral rolls available to voters by various means, governed by public conveniene rather than administrative facilities. I have experienced many inconveniences in accessing the information which is expected to be free and transparent. The CEO could have avoided many of these inconveniences. Also, I am greeted with silence for my repeated requests seeking information and help.

Though it will take some time to analyse the electoral rolls again, some raw information extracted from the documets published on 20 July indicate alarming reduction in the count of voters in mere 3 months:

  • Original voter count (April 2012): 63,33,299
  • Additions: 3,99,576
  • Deletions: 9,92,262

When 15.67% of the voters are deleted in 3 months, it is prudent to check if our names are still in the list. We have been complaining about fake and duplicate entries in the voter lists and hope that the deletions are of such entries, though we still find thousands of duplicate entries.


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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