Elections are Coming: a Drive Without a Driver

Chief Electoral Officer, Karnataka (CEO-KA), Press Note No. DPAR 05 MC 2018 dated 02 Apr 2018, had announced a special registration drive on 8th April and that all the Booth Level Officers (BLOs) had been directed to be at their respective Polling Booths to receive applications from citizens. He should know that many BLOs listed on his website do not exist in reality. I had reported this issue to the ECI and CEO-KA several times in the past.

Times of India published on 3rd April: “The special one-day camp will be organized from 10am to 5pm this Sunday,” Karnataka chief electoral officer (CEO) Sanjiv Kumar told reporters on Monday.

At the polling stations in Girinagar (Ward 162) I did not find any official doing voter registration even after 1100. There was no notice or any arrangement for the registration process. Some citizens were still waiting at 1100 and complaining. When I called the CEO-KA, the phone number was out of reach and that of Mr. Ramesh, Joint CEO, was ringing but he did not respond. Then I sent email to CEO-KA and various BBMP officials concerned with voter registration. By about 1200 officials grudgingly reached the polling stations and I received a few calls to confirm that.

Today’s Times of India report titled “Hiccups mar BBMP’s voter enrolment drive: citizens fume at apathy” gives the story of the drive and drivel across the city. However, it is heartening that 1.2 Lakh applications were received despite the apathy shown the officials in the conduct of this registration drive.

Numerous well-intentioned policy letters and directives of ECI and CEO-KA remain on paper and don’t get done on the ground. Where stops the buck? The buck gets shot and none is caught.

The quality of electoral rolls is deteriorating, access is becoming more difficult, and the response time of CEO-KA website is dismal. An ERO told me that his team’s efficiency is affected due to the slow response of the site.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Elections are Coming: Trust Not The National Voters’ Services Portal

Among other useful features, The National Voters’ Services Portal (NVSP) allows us to search for voter data by entering the EPIC number or voter name. Unfortunately, the data we get with this query refers to an older version of the electoral rolls, though the result claims to have been updated on the date of query – misleading us further. This is an old (and ignored?) problem. Exactly two years ago, I reported to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), his Director, IT, and the Chief Electoral Officer, Karnataka (CEO-KA), about this issue. Since then I have written to them on the issue several times. The dissonance in data between NVSP and CEO-KA website continues.

CEO-KA organization has shuffled the voters across parts in the version of the electoral rolls published on 30 Nov 2017 and on 28 Feb 2018. In the latest version, part number and serial numbers of lakhs of voters have changed, which does not reflect in the query results at NVSP because even after 22 days of publishing the new version of the rolls.  NVSP refers to the previous version.

For example, consider serial 1 of AC1690156.pdf published on CEO-KA website on 30 Nov 2017. Its EPIC# is LRJ0993428.

  1. Search by the EPIC Number at NVSP website shows a result of the record at AC1690156, serial 1. The site also states that the record is updated today,  22/3/2018.
  2. We do not find this record in the electoral roll for the part AC1690156 published on 28 Feb 2018. It is not indicated as deleted either.
  3. Search by the above EPIC Number at CEO-KA website shows a result of the record at AC1690128, serial 883. It indeed is in that part now.

If the voter refers to NVSP site of ECI and visits the polling booth at R. V Teachers Training College, Room No-4 for part 156 of Chikpet constituency, he will not find his name on the rolls and would not know what has gone wrong. If he trusts the data at NVSP, he will lose his voting right though his name is on the roll elsewhere and his polling booth is Sri Saraswathi Vidya Mandira Room No-4.

Such error can disenfranchise thousands of voters. ECI byline is ‘No Voter Left Behind.’

It is unlikely that NVSP data will be synchronized with ERMS Karnataka before the assembly elections. I have requested the EC and CEO-KA that NVSP should not provide any link to the data on Karnataka voters till the elections are completed. It is unlikely that they will consider this request either.

Also, as accepted in writing by a District Electoral Officer, more than 66% of the applications submitted online through NVSP are not processed. The reason for the forever-delay or rejection is not communicated to the citizens who submitted the applications.

In the interest of voters, please do not trust the data and various services at NVSP. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Elections are Coming: CEO-KA Quizzes and Confuses the Electors

Following is a glimpse of voters’ woes in Karnataka ahead of the assembly elections. They are created by the apathy of CEO-KA organisation despite regular feedback and offer of help to improve the system during the past ten years. The system is getting worse in some areas though there are improvements in other few areas.

Data on voters of Karnataka are officially available at the following links:

  1. Electoral rolls published at CEO-KA website. Being published in scanned PDF format since Nov 2017, they are not searchable though they are required to be in text PDF format as per ECI rules mentioned in Manual on Electoral Rolls, October 2016, Document 10, Edition 1, published by The Election Commission of India.
  2. Search by EPIC Number/Name at CEO-KA website.
  3. Search by EPIC Number/Name at National Voters Service Portal website.
  4. Link to CEO-KA voter lists from ECI website.

We expect the data to be the same when we access them from these four links. Unfortunately, they are not.


Consider serial 1 of AC1690156.pdf published on 30 Nov 2017. Its EPIC# is LRJ0993428.

  1. We do not find this record in the electoral roll for the part published on 28 Feb 2018. It is not indicated as deleted either.
  2. Search by the above EPIC Number at CEO-KA website shows a result of the record at AC1690128, serial 883.
  3. Search by the EPIC Number at NVSP website shows a result of the record at AC1690156, serial 1. The site also states that the record is updated on 14/3/2018.
  4. Searching for PDF electoral rolls of Karnataka from ECI website shows us the electoral rolls published on 31 Mar 2014.

Claims and objections data published by CEO-KA at his website does not show any form-8 data (request for change of address) for the example voter record. When the delimitation was done in the rolls published on 30 Nov 2017, why have some voters been shuffled subsequently?

In this quiz, any choice made by the elector would be a wrong answer and the price would be the loss of the right to vote.

Adding to the chaos and confusion, some electoral rolls miss several serial numbers. E.g., AC1600118.pdf has serial numbers in the order of 8, 14, 15, 16, 26, 27, 28, 35, … etc. If there are valid voters at the many missing serials, they can’t cast their votes. ECI has a byline reading “No Voter Left Behind” and here is an effort to exclude them in troves.

ECI publication ibid states that

  1. An integrated roll per part will be published once a year.
  2. Subsequent additions, deletions, and corrections will be indicated in supplements to this basic roll. The records contained in the basic roll are not changed except stamping the deleted records with a text ‘DELETED’ and prefixing ‘#’ to the serial numbers of modified records.

A summary table on the last page of the rolls gives the counts of voters in the original roll, and the counts of additions and deletions in various supplements. The “counts of voters in the original rolls” shown in the version of Feb 2018 should not change from what it was in the previous version published in Nov 2017. If these counts are reduced, it is an indication that voters have been excluded from the electoral roll indiscreetly, resulting in the denial of voting rights to valid voters. In the electoral rolls published on 28 Feb 2018, in more than 2,000 samples we have seen the count of voters in the original part to be lower than the count of voters in the rolls of the same part published on 30 Nov 2017. This is a serious lapse.

Several electoral rolls start with serial numbers greater than 1. E.g., AC1690156.pdf starts with serial 131.

The voter list PDF files are referred by all the candidates and are also used in the polling booths. If there are errors in this list or names are missing in the list, such voters will lose their right to vote.

In view of the elections in a couple of months, CEO-KA does not have much time to correct these serious errors. Quality audit of the electoral rolls by a competent and independent person or organisation is a need of the hour.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Elections and Coming – claims and counter claims

In the Electoral Roll Management System, claims mean citizens claim to be included as voters, by filing Form-6. Objections are requests to delete certain voter records by filing Form-7. Forms 8 requests to edit voter details and 8A is used to effect change in address. Together, these four forms are called ‘claims and objections.’  CEO-KA shows the status of these applications on his website.

Based on input from some EROs, claims and objections received till 15 Feb 2018 have been considered for the electoral rolls to be published on 28 Feb 2018. The last version of electoral rolls in complete was published on 30 Nov 2017 though some parts were published on 03 Nov 2017. Considering this, I have studied the claims and objections data for the 28 constituencies of Bangalore District for the period of 30 Oct 2017 to 20 Feb 2018.


  • The succeeding bar graphs show the count of received applications and percentage of approved, rejected, and pending applications. They would help to compare the activities of EROs across Bangalore. While some of the constituencies show good activities in updating the electoral rolls, others show very little changes in the rolls.
  • In case of deletions, graphs are included to show reasons for deletions. Though the authorities have been claiming that deceased voters have been deleted by checking the names from register of births and deaths, percent of voters deleted demonstrate that only a few EROs might have done so. While one constituency shows more than 1% of voters deceased in 3 months, some others show less than 0.01% deaths in this period.
  • The percentages of approved, rejected, and pending applications vary widely across constituencies. While some constituencies have rejected about 30% of applications, some have accepted about 98%. Factors leading to such disparity may be investigated.
  • Two constituencies have a large number of applications under verification.
  • Most of the similar anomalies observed in earlier studies and reported to CEO-KA are not corrected. CEO-KA has not even acknowledged the receipt of the reports. Non-response to feedback is usual for all the authorities in the organisation, from the ECI to BLO.

Further analysis and investigations can lead to actions to correct anomalies and improve the system.

Random checks also show that thousands of duplicate entries created during Jan to Nov 2017 and reported to CEO-KA are not deleted yet.

Form- 6

Form-6 data for Bangalore South constituency is not uploaded on CEO-KA website.

Total applications in 27 constituencies: 3,36,110. Approved: 2,85,957. Rejected: 48,692. Pending: 1,461

Of the rejected applications,

  • 20,264 are given the reason as “Eligible for Inclusion.” The logic of rejection is not understood. This point was also reported to CEO-KA a few times earlier.
  • 6,204 are rejected with reason “not Indian citizen.” It is strange that as many non-Indians have submitted Form-6. This may be investigated.


Form- 7

Applications: 1,20,968.  Approved: 1,13,521. Rejected: 7,386. Pending: 61

7,367 of the rejected applications have remarks reading “may be deleted.” If the records may be deleted, why are the applications for deletion rejected?


Reasons for Deletion

Of the deleted voters, a wide variation across constituencies is found in the count of deletions for death and shifting. Whereas common sense tells us that the rate of death would be even across constituencies, the percentage of voters expired varies widely, indicating that only some of the constituencies have deleted deceased voters. Similarly, studies show even distribution of suspected duplicate records. But only a few constituencies have deleted duplicate records.



Applications: 33,234. Approved: 32,267. Rejected: 932. Pending: 35



Applications: 7,361. Approved: 7,045. Rejected: 274. Pending: 42

272 of the rejected applications show reason as “may be deleted.” It is not clear if these records are deleted. Also, when an application is for the change of address, how is a decision taken to delete the record?



Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Elections are Coming – Death in the Saddle

A Times Now investigation report has exposed cases of live voters deleted as dead in Mysore. The electoral rolls in Karnataka also seem to be rife with really dead voters. To some, it is difficult to die if enrolled as a voter and for some others, it is difficult to live there. Jeena Bhi Mushkil, Marna Bhi Mushkil.

BBMP officials stated in a press conference (Times of India report on 29 Oct 2017) that a special drive helped them delete the dead voters from the rolls of Bangalore.

Mrs. Rajamma expired on 26 Dec 2012. Her name (with EPIC number XHL0386011) appeared at serial 226, part 219, Basavanagudi constituency in the version of electoral rolls published in Jan 2017. Her name is not deleted from the rolls as per the List of Claims and Objections published by CEO-KA. She lives on in the rolls, aged 99 now. Querying or searching data in CEO-KA website now gives erroneous and misleading data.

The data from CEO-KA website for the period from 01 Jan to 30 Oct 2017 show total 89,697 deletions of which the reasons are 53,046 for shifting of residence, 22,089 for death, 11,662 for being duplicate records and 804 for “other” reasons. “Other” reason is not a reason as per ECI rules as well as by common sense.

The pattern of the death of voters widely varies across the constituencies. This observation can help in checking the activities of EROs.







Deleted as dead as a percentage of total deletions vary by constituencies. Some seem to find the much larger percentage of dead voters while one does not find any.  







Here is a picture of the count of death as a percentage of total voters in the constituencies.

Posted in Electoral Roll Management, Social Issue | 1 Comment

Elections are Coming – ERMS: Electoral Roll [Mis]management System of Karnataka

Data Delayed

Election Commission of India (ECI) guidelines require all the Chief Electoral Officers (CEOs) of the states and union territories of India to publish new versions of electoral rolls in January and October every year. Most of the CEOs practice this, most of the times. This October, even with the assembly elections expected in May 2018, CEO Karnataka is yet to publish complete electoral rolls as on 12 November. He has published Kannada version the rolls for some constituencies of Bangalore on 03 November 2017. The rolls of 28 constituencies of Bangalore should be published in English as well, as per ECI rules. CEO-KA is expected to publish them by mid-November.

Delay in getting data and delay in justice both hurt.

Data Denied

There are two issues with the few electoral rolls Kannada version published on 03 November:

  1. The voter lists are PDF image files and not text files. We cannot search for data in image files and also cannot extract data from them. This is against ECI rules and is a serious limitation.
  2. To open a file, the user has to enter a CAPTCHA. This increases difficulties in accessing and downloading the files for analysis.

As per ECI, electoral roll PDF documents published on the websites of CEOs should be text PDF files (not images ) and are public documents.  They are so in the websites all other CEOs.

Because the voter lists at CEO-KA website were text PDF files in the past, we could extract the data and analyse since 2009. Feedback based on the observations have helped in improving the quality of the electoral rolls. CEO-KA has orally accepted so in several meetings.

By analysing the data in electoral rolls, we could detect illegal deletion of about 13.5 lakh voters of  Bangalore in 2012 – about 6 months before the last assembly elections. In 2015 we could detect exclusion of about 3 lakh voters prior to BBMP elections.

After the Karnataka High Court judgment of Dec 2012 on a PIL about the mass deletion of 13.5 lakh voters, in Jan 2013 the CEO-KA published the electoral rolls as image files with CAPTCHA protection.  Then I argued with the three Election Commissioners (ECs) at their office in New Delhi on 08 Feb 2013 that the action of CEO-KA was arbitrary, discriminatory, and contradicts ECI rules. I requested the CAPTCHA to be removed and the documents to be published as text PDF files.  Again I pleaded the same with the three ECs during their visit to Bangalore on 02 Mar 2013. CEO-KA was present at both these meetings. After a directive from the CEC, since 02 March 2013 CEO-KA website has been publishing voter lists as text PDF files without CAPTCHA.

When I spoke to the Joint CEO on 03 November, he told me that the rules have now changed and they can publish the rolls as image files. He did not give me references to the rules and was not free to discuss more. I doubt if the rules have changed because other CEOs publish the documents as text PDF files. The English version of the rolls to be published in mid-November would also be CAPTCHA protected image files, I suspect.

New parts are introduced in the current version of the rolls. E.g., Basavanagudi constituency now has 9 more parts. Such changes would be in other constituencies of Bangalore as well. This would result in a change of parts and polling booths for lakhs of voters, causing some confusion. In this context, it is even more important that the voters have easy access to the voter lists to check their data.

Data Lost

In 2012, CEO-KA had wantonly deleted about 13.5 lakh voters illegally. This was corrected by High Court order. A couple of months prior to the BBMP elections in 2015, about 3 lakh voters were excluded from the rolls. After complaining to various authorities and publicising the story, these voters were included in the rolls just a week prior to the elections.

Subsequently too, there have been illegal deletions of voters in small numbers.

I suspect such exclusions in the current version of the rolls. In the past lakhs of voter records were lost when new parts were formed in Delhi as well as in AP. This is due to poor process and low-quality software. Without getting the English version of the rolls in a format that will allow text extraction, thorough analysis about missing voters is not possible. We can only find a few sample cases.

However, I have a reason to suspect such deletion of voters. In the latest rolls, I do not find my entire section with 202 voters in the rolls. There could be several other such cases.

Wrong Data

Search for documents and voter records at CEO-KA site, Election Commission of India (ECI) and National Voters  (NVSP – from ECI) give us wrong data in some cases.

Some Examples:

  1. ECI website has links to PDF rolls of states and union territories. When we choose Karnataka on the search page, we get the electoral rolls published on 30 Jan 2014.
  2. At NVSP, procedures to access various data and to submit several application forms differ from those at CEO-KA website, which is often more restrictive. The results we get on queries also often differ, with the NVSP site giving stale data.
  3. When I search with EPIC for my data in electoral rolls, the record is found in part 219, polling station Shanthinikethana English School.
    1. This booth is not even listed in the version of rolls published on 03 November.
    2. My name does not appear in Part 219 or in any other part.

Such results from searches from the above three sites will mislead and confuse the users.

Messed Up Website

  1. If we try to enter CEO-KA website with his URL, the home page of Karnataka Public Services Commission flashes for a moment and then we get ‘page not found’ error. On entering <ceokarnataka.kar.nic.in/hm_ec.aspx> we get the home page of CEO-KA. This is not intuitive. Most of the users won’t know this.
  2. Search for electoral rolls of some constituencies (e.g., Mahadevapura) gives a message “Data will be uploaded shortly….!” Top of this page gives a link to the homepage, which again flashes Karnataka Public Services Commission home page and then gives “page not found” message. Even the links within the CEO-KA website lead to wrong pages.

These issues were reported to CEO-KA and ECI in early October.

Blocked Entry, Blocked Exit

CEO-KA website home page has a link to “List of Claims and Objections”   which gives the status of various applications:

  • Form-6 to register as a voter in the constituency. This could be a new voter or for a voter who has shifted residence from a different constituency anywhere in the country.
  • Form-7 to delete an entry in the voter list, either for shifting residence or death.
  • Form-8 to correct data in the voter record.
  • Form-8A to change address resulting in a change of part within the same constituency.

The status of an application could be one of

  • approved
  • rejected
  • being verified

When an application is rejected, the list gives reasons for rejection. Thousands of these reasons are illogical and confusing. Following is a summary of reasons for rejection of applications in the 28 constituencies of Bangalore.

  1. 11,073 Form-6 are rejected with a comment “Eligible for inclusion.” Applications for registration are rejected though eligible for inclusion!
  2. 6,060 Form-6 are rejected with a comment ” Not eligible – otherwise disqualified.” Based on Representation of People Act, ECI defines a disqualified voter as a person who is certified by a medical authority to be of unsound mind or a person who is convicted of certain classes of crimes. Do these applicants belong to these categories? I doubt.
  3. 12,982 Form-7 are rejected with the comment that the voter records may be deleted for 7 different reasons. If they may be deleted, why reject the requests to delete?
  4. 177 Form 8A are rejected, 175 with reason that the records may be deleted. It is not clear if they are deleted. Also, 2 rejections are with a comment that they may be included. The logic for all the rejections is not clear.

Active and Inactive EROs

On the paper, various initiatives were taken by the CEO’s organisation to increase voter registration. The ‘List of Claims and Objections’ indicate that only a handful of EROs have been active in registering new voters and deleting the shifted and dead ones during 01 January to 30 October 2017.

A few constituencies have received a large number of applications while others have received very few. E.g., max applications for enrolment in a constituency was 23,636 and minimum was 2,929. The table below shows some statistics. This could indicate a poor involvement of some of the EROs in registration drive and cleaning up the rolls.


KR Pura has rejected a large number of requests for deletion. Mahadevapura and Bommanahalli have rejected a large number of requests for registration.

The following bar graph visualises the above.Total_Applications

Some EROs were more aggressive in rejecting applications for illogical reasons.Rejected_Claims__Obj

Some EROs have a large number of applications pending to process.Pending_Claims__Obj

More applications in a constituency would be a result of active EROs cooperative and encouraging citizens to register as voters and active voluntary organisations.

Mismatch in Voter Counts

During 01 January to 30 October 2017, the 28 constituencies of Bangalore received 6,38,801 applications in forms 6, 7, 8, and 8A. Their status is given in the table below.


The above numbers would mean that the electoral rolls of October 2017 would have  89,697  more voters than in the rolls published in January 2017.

Voters in Jan 2017:          84,91,017

Expected increase:              89,697  (Added 1,86,492 – Deleted  87,697)

Expected total voters:   85,80,714

On 29 October 2017, a report published in Times of India stated that Bangalore has 84,97,192 voters. This count is 83,522 less than what is calculated as per the data published at CEO-KA website. The TOI report, based on the numbers they got from CEO-KA offices is accurate to the last digit, it may not be correct. The numbers don’t match with what is published in CEO-KA website. If the count of total voters reported by TOI is correct, then, 83,522 approved applications are not registered as voters. Another loss of trust in the system.


Posted in eGovernance, Electoral Roll Management, Social Issue | 6 Comments

A Healthy Birthday

Many people wished me today on my 68th birthday, by calling, mailing and posting on Facebook and Linkedin. Thank you for caring and for the kind thoughts, friends.

The year that has gone by has been wonderful in many ways.

My grandson Dhruv, who will be three in three months, keeps me entertained.  Watching him grow has been wonderful and emotionally the most rewarding experience of life. Today when he wished “Happy Birthday,” I was choked with joy.

Teaching two subjects at National College – Software Testing and Data Analytics – has been an excellent learning experience. In the class I discuss the technology I apply and my applications improve because of what I teach.

I have read more books during the last year than earlier, averaging 3 per month. Today my daughter gifted me two books by Michael Pollan – The Botany of Desire and The Omnivore’s Dilemma. She chose these books for a reason; they talk about food.

I had no dilemma being an herbivore, vegetarian. I never craved for any kind of food. Dieting to reduce weight was not my need any time as I have mostly been underweight or just the right weight. I ate without restriction or guilt, but I have been a poor eater.  But, the restrictions on sweets, fruits, and carbohydrates came from my doctor eleven years ago when I was found to be diabetic.

After discovering that I was diabetic, scores of papers and books I read indicated that it would be a condition for the lifetime. Doctors told me, “Once you are diabetic, you are so for life.”  So be it. Many of my aunts,  uncles, and cousins, paternal and maternal, were diabetic and it is in my genes. My echo chamber confirmed this for years. With minimal medicines, I maintained the blood glucose levels within limits. My life and work were not affected.

Then, Sumir gifted me a ticket to a daylong workshop by Dr. Nandita Shah of SHARAN, held on 6th Feb 2017. Dr. Shah, President’s Nari Shakti  Awardee this year, explained how we can reverse diabetes and heart diseases by eating what we should and by avoiding what we should not eat. That changed my idea about the irreversibility of diabetes. My previous thoughts about, and practice of, a healthy diet was not healthy enough. I turned into a vegan, adopted oil-free cooking, ate more vegetables and much more fruits of all varieties.

I read dozens of books on the subject and visited scores of websites talking about food for health. Again, they echoed my new found guidelines for Low-Fat Plant-Based Whole Food (LFPBWF). Carbohydrates and fruits, considered bad for diabetes, came back to my meals. Fat and milk (and all the milk products) went out.

After taking medicine for diabetes for ten years, I stopped them 7 months ago. My sugar level now is below what it was with medicine. The cholesterol counts are better too, well within limits.

More than anything, it is a wonderful feeling to be free of all medicines. I feel more energetic and cheerful.

Dr. Nandita Shah will conduct her next workshop in Bangalore on 28 Jan 2018. See the details at <https://sharan-india.org/events/reversing-diabetes-and-hypertension-29/&gt;. I have benefited from her workshop and recommend it.

Below are some references you can explore:

I also recommend the following books from which I have benefited, in the order of my preference:

  1. Program for Reversing Diabetes by Dr. Neal Bernard
  2. How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Greger
  3. Power Food for Brain by Dr. Neal Bernard
  4. Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman
  5. The China Study by Dr. Colin Campbell
  6. The Food Revolution by John Robbins (son of Robin of Baskin&Robins )
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment