I gave the following text to Times of India, which is also in a mail I sent to ECI and CEO-KA:
Typical reactions about reportedly poor voter turnout in Bangalore on 17 April 2014 have been:
- People who have migrated to Bangalore do not participate in the city’s activities.
- Being sandwiched between holidays, many people have gone out of station.
Most of the people working for social causes in Bangalore have come from outside Karnataka. Turnout is not lower because of cosmopolitan nature of Bangalore. My sample checks show that not many people have missed voting because of holidays.
Karnataka has the worst Electoral Roll Management System (ERMS) among the 13 states/UTs I have analysed. I do not trust CEO-KA numbers because the basis on which they are calculated are wrong. Take an example quoted by Anand Yadwad. He checked 20 houses in his complex and found the following flaws in the electoral rolls:
– 15% of entries were duplicated
– 33% of people had moved out
– 5% had expired
Wrong data in the rolls also lead to disenfranchisement. E.g., voter list AC1600169.pdf at CEO website shows serial 114, L.C.N. Velu, EPIC# BCW6606073, as male. She is a lady. The polling booth officials did not allow her to vote. We have been reporting thousands of such absurd errors for years, which CEO-KA ignores.
The sample check above shows 48% genuine voters in the list. Not all the parts are as bad. However, our electoral rolls have lakhs of fake entries while genuine voters are deleted regularly. CEO-KA and ECI are deaf to regular feedback with evidences. CEO-KA is ridden with very poor quality ERMS software and non-adherence to processes specified by ECI.
Using simple technology, we can improve the quality of Electoral Rolls and also significantly reduce human efforts. CEO-KA has so far ignored feedback and rejected offers of help.
Turnout calculated based on these inflated rolls are expectedly low, demoralising citizens and leading to wrong actions. In reality, voter turnout was much higher. Apathy is not with the voters, but with the authorities.
TOI printed an opposite opinion on people, stating wrongly, “people who have migrated to Bangalore do not participate in large numbers in the cities activities and others are holidaying”. Based on my interactions with various social groups, I think that people who have migrated to Bangalore are more active in democratic duties and social issues than those who are originally from Karnataka. You can see the contradictions in the first and second paragraphs published in TOI.