In a BBMP Ward Office, I manually compared photographs of 33 sets of suspected duplicate records identified by software.
- In 22 sets, the photographs matched as also verified by the staff in the ward office.
- Four records did not have photographs though these records had EPIC#. In a few meetings with CEO-KA his people told that software would not generate EPIC# if the database did not have photograph. Not having photographs led to wanton deletion of 13.5 lakh of voters without diligence in July and December 2012.
- Record of a female voter Deepthi has a photograph with moustache – unmistakably of a male. The same photograph is seen in the record of a male voter Sudhindra from the same house.
- One record has photograph of a hill, sex male, age 59, name Venkat Das. Times of India reported on 31 May 2013 “in the Aadhaar card enrolment process, some cards have ended up with pictures of an empty chair, a tree or a dog.” Now we have mountains moving to vote.
Macbeth said, “Till Birnam wood remove to Dunsinane, I cannot taint with fear.” Is there a Karnataka MP boasting that till a mountain enrols to cast vote he cannot be defeated?
De-duplication process in CEO Karnataka ERMS is grossly unsatisfactory. 22 of 33 cases checked are duplicates with matching data and photographs. Software could easily shortlist these records by comparing photographs. In September 2013 I shared with ECI sample de-duplication software which includes photo comparison. Because a common citizen does not have access to soft copies of electoral rolls with photographs, we cannot provide this service to CEOs.
I am very sad about the current deplorable situation. I renew my offer to help improve the quality of electoral rolls. I hope that one day the CEOs will realise the value of trusting well-meaning citizens to serve a larger cause.