Revision of voters’ rolls in State to start on October 30

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Anil Kumar Jha

BANGALORE, Oct 23: The process of preparing the revised electoral rolls to publish the final list on January 6, 2014, is all set to begin in the State on October 30. The office of the chief electoral officer will have a month’s time to carry out the corrections, additions and deletions.

The last major revision of the rolls was done before the Legislative Assembly elections in May this year. A lot of new measures were taken to make it fool-proof though discrepancies and deletion of names were reported in Bangalore.

While the publication of draft electoral rolls is scheduled for October 30, fresh claims, objections and inclusions will be done till the end of November. In December, decisions regarding all the claims and objections would be taken. And, as per the Election Commission’s direction, the final updated rolls will be published on January 6.

Delay in updating rolls

In an interaction with Deccan Herald, Anil Kumar Jha, Chief Electoral Officer, Karnataka, said, “There has been some delay in updating the rolls as the Commission was busy in conducting the Assembly elections. But, we have to complete the process before January 6.

This is a routine exercise which has to be carried out in all states before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls,” he said.

The officer said there were lesser complaints regarding the missing names in Bangalore during the recent Assembly polls as compared to the earlier elections.

However, going by the analysis of outcome of the revision, it has been decided to focus more on covering women, youth and urban population in general during the proposed revision. “We have identified the weak links. The state’s average voters’ coverage was 65 per cent.

This is good, but we want to improve. In areas where the coverage is below the state’s average, we will hold vigorous campaign to ensure that voters register their names. The gender gap has to be addressed. Making urban voters, especially those in Bangalore, to come under the electoral rolls still remains a challenge. Our aim is to ensure flawless rolls,” he added.

Help from other sources

The Commission, like during the Assembly polls, is going take extensive help of the media, non-governmental organisations, educational institutions, industry associations, government departments like Youth Services, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj and residents’ associations and cyber space to reach out to the voting population to ensure that they register their names.

Filled in forms from citizens will be collected even at BangaloreOne, KarnatakaOne centres and ward offices.

“Last time, Bangaloreans had problems in identifying their respective wards to submit applications. But, now people will be allowed to submit their applications in any ward and, the sorting will be carried out later.

This would help people not to go in search of their wards in Bangalore. Anyhow, we have built a data base during the Assembly polls. We have to weed out duplications and errors,” Jha said.

Though applications for rolls revisions may be done online, signature of the applicant is mandatory. Hence, in addition to submitting the forms online, the copy of the same has to be submitted to the authorities concerned.

Receiving bulk applications (more than 10) at a time online would not be entertained. “There were complaints regarding online submissions last time. We are getting extra servers make our website user-friendly,” he added.

Last button on EVMs to be NOTA

An electronic voting machine (EVM) has provision for having names of 16 candidates and symbols against their names. But, in the ensuing Lok Sabha polls, each EVM will have 15 names and the 16th and the last button will have an option of ‘None of the above’ (NOTA).

In the existing electoral system, a dissatisfied voter may not turn up for voting. Even if they come, they can only sign in a register and state that they do not wish to vote. But, in the next election, they can press the NOTA button in the EVM. “There will no technical changes in the existing EVMs. The last button in an EVM will serve as NOTA button,” Jha said.

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