Today’s newspapers report that the Central Government has decided to stop announcing booth-wise detailed results of polls and would use totalisers to give results by constituency. This corrects a lapse in the system. Since the EVMs were introduced, CEOs were expected to publish Form-20, which give counts of votes polled by candidates by booth. Looking at these forms, the candidates could know the booths (areas) where people supported them and where they did not. This could have led to victimisation of people in some areas. I am not aware of reported cases, though.
While I welcome this move, I lose some data with which I used to analyse some aspects of electoral process.
- Though the count of voters in rural booth should not exceed 1,200 and the urban booth 1,400, about 30% of booths in several states exceeded this limit. I have been reporting the correlation between lower voter turn-out and booth sizes beyond the recommended. Now I won’t be able to show this correlation.
- I could also analyse correlation between effect of voter demographics (age and sex) and reservation category on turn-out. In future, this report will be based on more coarse observations.
Though I have been reporting various cases of violations of ECI rules, there was no response from the ECI or any CEO. Also, most of the CEOs did not publish Form-20. Hence, totalisers are totally welcome.
Another welcome development is an initiative by ECI to create centralised voter database, which is currently maintained state-wise. I hope that several anomalies would be corrected in the process of consolidating the data.