Don’t break the brake when you fix the light

Some friends and relatives have advised me against “wasting time” in analysing the Electoral Rolls of Karnataka. When I discussed the findings with a very knowledgable and highly respected friend and sought his opinion, he wrote, “None of your findings have caused any surprise to me or for that matter to anybody.”

Muralidhar Rao wrote, “I would have said I find goings on at the CEO’s office most amusing, had it not been for its being the very fulcrum of our democratic functioning.” Such concerns keep me going. Regularly I discover strange and shocking errors due to gross callousness at the CEO’s office and grave non-professionalism by the by the professionals (?) who build and maintain the system.

This is an update on the “Corrected in Supplement” records in the voter lists of Bangalore Districts. In the 6,389 voter lists, I found of 1,00,812 “corrected” records. I could not extract 56 records as they were badly formatted in original.

Summary of corrections:

  1. House number changed: 17,141. In some cases, only the format is changed. E.g., E/221 has become E-221. 
  2. Voter name changes: 21, 698. Some changes are cosmetic, like moving the initials from the beginning to the end and adding or removing some punctuation marks. Some changes are serious. E.g., AC1560101, Serial 101, voter ID YTQ4364147, showed Puttalakshmi, Female, Age 26, wife of K Ravikumar, in the original record. After corrections, at the same serial number and voter ID, the name is Kumara Swamy, Male, Age 0, no relative.
  3. Relative names have changed in 22,344 cases and relationship has changed in 4,159 cases. In 854 cases where the original records  had relative names, after the corrections the fields are blank.
  4. 310 people whose ages were between 19 and 102 before corrections are all now zero years old. Voter ages have changed in 19,825 records.
  5. 2,877 voters have changed their sex in the records.
  6. 356 voter IDs (EPIC No.) that were in correct format – 3 alphabets followed by 7 digits – are changed to non standard formats or blanks. Total 57,571 voter IDs are corrected. Most of them are cases where blank IDs have been replaced with IDs in correct format.

Strange Cases of Sex Changes: AC 1500018, Serial #558, Nanjesh Kumar G, S/O Galappa, age 39 was a male. He did not have voter ID. Now he (she?) has a voter ID XTE3849577. All other details remain the same, except that he is now she – a female. HN Muniyappa, Narayanaswamy, and such other people have become male to female. Roopa (STZ3778446) and Usha Pothi (STZ3778412) have not only become females to males, but also have become zero in age and have lost their relatives. They went back to the time of their birth for a sex change where many others changed their sex mid-life. There are hundreds of such unbelievable corrections. 

How will the booth officer deal with voters whose sex is different from what is recorded in the voters list? How will he or she deal with people whose records show zero age, but they look like adults or even senior citizens, say at ripe and respectable 102? It is not funny. 

“After the mechanic fixed my car’s horn, its brake stopped working.”

We expect corrections to improve the system, and not to degrade. In software development process, we use regression testing to find unintended side-effects and new software errors  in existing functional and non functional areas of a system after changes.

We want the brake to continue working even after fixing horn or light. 


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.
This entry was posted in eGovernance, Social Issue, Technology. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Don’t break the brake when you fix the light

  1. Pingback: Sniff the Electoral Roll | PG's Pensieve

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