CEO, Karnataka, published a new version of Electoral Rolls on 03 November at his website. My observations here are limited to the electoral rolls of 28 constituencies of Bangalore. Data quality of the rolls has improved compared with the version published in May 2013.
- 240 of the 370 voters below age 18 were infants at age 0 and age 1. They have all grown up and become 18 to 98 year old in the new list. Interestingly 57% of them are 23 year old now, ready to register in matrimonial sites. Did the AEROs check the actual ages or arbitrarily assigned some?
- Of about 100 voters above 120, only 6 are left with the illegal ages.
- Now there are only 503 male voters having husbands.
There are several inconsistencies in the published PDF files like missing records, blank documents, repeated records, jumbled text, etc. These are probably errors in PDF generation and easy to correct.
This does not mean that we have an acceptable quality of electoral rolls. The biggest problems are:
- About 13.5 lakh voters were deleted in Jul and Dec 2012. Some of the deletions were restored and some of us registered again. However, CEO organisation has not taken steps to see such deletions and to restore the voters. The citizens are not aware of the deletions, either. Extrapolating results of a sample survey, we suspect that about 2,00,000 illegal deletions not yet restored.
- As admitted by the CEO, about 18,000 records were corrupted during online modifications. This resulted in deletion of these voters and creation of equal number of duplicate entries. CEO’s claim that these records were corrected before the elections in May 2013 does not pass scrutiny.
- Electoral rolls have about 23 lakh entries that match in voter name, relative name, age(±2), and sex with some other records.
Comparing the metaphones of voter name and relative name, age(±2), and sex, we find the following:
|2||One EPIC# assigned to several records||
|3||Same part, section, house||
|5||Different parts, and same age||
|6||Different parts, age ±2 years||
I have reported the findings to the CEO and ECI. I have also demonstrated that if voter database with photographs is given, we can match photographs of suspected duplicates and create a report of sure duplicates. This will significantly reduce human efforts.
CEO-KA has indicated some encouraging actions in response to my input on quality issues and difficulties faced by citizens:
- 91 Bangalore-One centres can now register voters online and also accept applications for offline registration. AEROs will collect the forms from Bangalore-One drop boxes and sort them.
- EROs will verify and restore incorrectly deleted voters. It is not clear if the restoration will be suo-motu or the citizens will be asked to fill Form-6.
- Ward offices will clearly display the required proofs and conditions to register a voter. BBMP will issue instructions to ward offices to make registration process hassle free.
- Duplicate entries will be checked and deleted.
- Data entry software will be improved to give various warnings if an error is suspected. If the operator still enters such data, the record will be marked for verification by his superiors before approval. CEO will get regular status report on such cases.
- Registration process for teachers’ constituency will be improved.