As per a news report, the Chief Election Commissioner said, “Enrollment of 18-19 year age group has always been a matter of concern. Commission is pleased to inform that 50 per cent of total voters of this age group have now been enrolled which is a remarkable progress compared with earlier 10 to 15 per cent a few years ago.”
Census report 2011 for Karnataka shows that 13,81,362 citizens are of age 18 and 11,22,590 are of age 19. Population of age 18 and above in Karnataka then were 4,17,01,247. Hence, 18 year old are 3.31% and 19 year old are 2.69% of the population. Together they are 6% of the citizens eligible to vote. Voter lists of Bangalore have 0.05% of the voters of age 18 and 0.46% are of age 19. Bangalore voter lists show that only 0.5% of the voters are of age 18 and 19 – not 3% if CEC’s statement was to be true. Till the age of 26, percent representation of citizens in the voter lists is below what is expected. This is true of other states and union territories, based on analysis of voter lists available in English.
Poorer representation of younger voters itself shows that a good part of the population is not registered as voters.
In several states, large number of registered voters are deleted from the voters lists without due diligence. Some deletions also occur due to poor quality software and faulty processes.
When large numbers of eligible citizens are not part of the voter lists, but the electoral roll already has about 5% more voters than expected, it is a cause of serious concern.
President Pranab Mukherjee was present at the function as chief guest where the CEC spoke with a tone of pride rather than concern about the poor state of Electoral Roll Management System across the country.
“On the occasion of NVD, citizens of this country and all political parties deserve our special gratitude for reposing total trust and confidence in the Commission. We in the Commission have always strived hard to enhance this confidence by our sheer neutrality, fairness, transparency and professionalism in election management,” said the CEC. I am not one of the citizens who trust the Election Commission for efficiency or for commitment to quality.