Today’s headlines tell us that BBMP Elections would be held on 28 July – a month from now. State Election Commission (SEC) is responsible for the conduct of elections including management of electoral rolls. Unfortunately, even now the rolls are not published at SEC website. Will they be freely accessible when they publish? Will they be analysable? I doubt.
SEC borrows electoral rolls from CEO and creates its own repository in which it is free to add, delete, or modify voter records. A few years ago when I showed differences between records in CEO and SEC electoral rolls, CEO stated that such differences were expected. SEC told that the errors were from CEO.
At CEO site we find large number of new voter registrations since CEO published the rolls on 05 Jan 2015. The rolls published by SEC in April 2015 did not include these new voters. Also, these electoral rolls were image files, violating the spirit of open data. Even search for a name is not possible in these documents. Since then, the rolls have been removed from the site and a message “We will be uploading shortly” appears when we search for voter lists.
In an effort to work with SEC, I visited the office with an appointment to meet the State Election Commissioner. He made me wait for 90 minutes and then walked away without meeting. I met the secretary and explained data quality issues in the electoral rolls. That person was transferred out in a couple weeks. I had also met his predecessor and explained the issues. Four different secretaries occupied the chair in one year, I think.
I have been calling SEC office, unable get past the PAs. They do not respond to emails like most other government offices.
Elections are due in a month. The voter lists are not yet published. SEC has closed its doors for citizens and hidden the most relevant data for conduct of elections.