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Voter lists - issues and possible fraud

Voter list issues to the fore. From Mysore

  • 54 to 56 per cent voting could have been actually 60 per cent voting but for deletions of names - there was enthusiasm - people held EPICs - residents of same address for decades - voted in previous many elections - stilll.....?? 
  • Thousands of names were found rubber stamped with one word "DELETED" in the voters list
  • When questioned - how the name was deleted, under whose authority, no attestations under the word deletion, whether the poll personnel had documentary evidence to prove there was justification for deletion - a million questions have arisen and need logical answers - otherwise, let there be Repoll after updating the voters list on a crash programme basis, where sizeable names have been deleted.
  • Lists with polling agents differed from lists with Poll Personnel
  • Polling official with alphabetical order list caught sitting with BJP help table - Mr.Sandesh Swamy caught her in Mysore city.
  • Mr.Sandesh Swamy - a JD-S leader - went into the both to vote - but he had been  'DELETED' - He created a furrore -finally was allowed to vote - he had an EPIC.
  • Udayagiri-predomenantly minorities area - more than 300 names were found 'DELETED" but they all held EPICs
  • Former mayor Ayub Khan was confronted by 'deleted voters' at a booth in Mysore city

Will our system ever improve?  - Time for citizens to become proactive - correct the flaws

ravi's picture

Again, funnily, I learnt

Again, funnily, I learnt just a while back that the entries marked "Deleted" was allegedly a handiwork of the local corporator(Ward no. 32) in Mysore.

Find out about his antecedents. The subversion of the democracy is done by every damn politcal party. :(
Naveen's picture

An Alternate To Booth Capturing ?

Booth Capturing, the old style of gerry-mandering during elections has given way to this new form of manipulation !

This needs to be RTI'd to find out more & bring the culprits to justice.

Mani1972's picture

Electrol Roll and CTRL-ALT-DEL

Dear friends,

Greetings to you all!

At the outset let me make it clear that i am not trying to defend those govt officials (including me!) who are/were responsible for the deletion of names of the genuine voters. I fully recognise the agony and disappointment of the voters when they can’t vote. I am also aware of the other consequences of denial of vote in a democracy like ours.

I just want to bring before you the different aspects involved in this 'deletion of votes'. Kindly have an open mind when you read further. THIS IS WRITTEN IN THE INTEREST OF BRINGING IMPROVED AWARENESS IN THE GENERAL PUBLIC AND IS NOT DIRECTED AGAINST ANY INDIVIDUAL/S, POLITICAL PARTY/TIES OR ANYONE REMOTELY INVOLVED IN THE ELECTROL PROCESS.

The revision of the roll is done by the district administration under the orders of the ECI. The district administration doubles as Election administration also. (It is like the Geography teacher taking Geology; can manage it, but doesn’t have the expertise!)

As mentioned, the district administration is not an expert in data management, but it manages a database of 21 lakh voters (records), having 10-15 fields!  Apart from this, the district admn also allows for 'continuous updation' of the Rolls, as and when the citizens apply for addition/deletion, thru the Taluka office/corporation offices.

The Roll registration officer for the city is the Commissioner of the MCC, while for the rural areas it is the Tahsildar.  The officers have to appoint one official per booth, called the Booth level Official (BLO). This has been the recent initiative by the ECI. Earlier we had one official for 3-4 booths!

At the field level there are inefficiencies, as in the case of any huge organisation. The BLOs are normally primary school teachers, water man, bill collector etc. At that level they do not realise the importance of the roll completely.  As we all know, quite a number of them are also inefficient, demotivated and do not take the job seriously. Thus the deletions at times may not be genuine.

One may ask, 'what are the senior officers doing? And why can’t the system is devised in a way that it doesn’t allow the subjectiveness of the BLO?’ The answer is: The senior officers are so few (1 DC, and 12 senior officers to manage 21 lakh records, that too part time!).

Regarding checks and balances, the ECI came up with beautiful system of asking the Political parties to appoint one agent from their party for every polling booth, called as Booth Level Agent (BLA).  Apart from that, the additions/deletions are accepted ONLY after it is displayed in the notice board, and objections are called for.

In reality, the political parties are so far not serious about appointing BLAs. Nor the citizens take pains to check the notice board in the Taluka office.  The general apathy about the Roll during non-election time is palpable. It is just left to the official machinery!

One might ask, what to the senior officers do? What if his mistake is caught by the senior officer, as it happens once in a while? Maximum is that the BLO is suspended for a month or so. Everybody feels that it’s a too harsh a punishment for just making an 'error' in his part-time job. And he goes scot free!

The electoral system can't escape the general inefficiency in the governance on in any organisation. One might ask, 'But it appears that the problems are more in Election'. I beg to differ. Indeed the mistakes are far less in Election process, which in any other field of governance, thanks to the sword of ECI hanging over the head of all officials!

The case of Mysore:

Lets take Mysore for example. Mysore has 21 lakh voters. How many mistakes in that? The deletions in the last 6 months (November to April) are around 43,000 in the city. But the additions are around 63,000. Thus the net is positive. Among the 43,000 'deletions' only around 3,900 are real deletions, and balance is 'shifting' the voters from one polling Booth to another. (Read, Ravi's article in Praja.mysore on how his parents were shifted from one booth to another!)

Why shifting? That is done to rationalise the polling booths, and also during the delimitation exercise. In an ideal situation, we need to do go for a spatial study of combining various logical parameters.  But, currently, in absence of a detailed spatial data, it is done manually by the BLOs. Now you know how the manual errors have crept in. Adding to this is the mistakes encountered in data entry of this huge data. The errors can be minimised only when we get the best in the market, but then it cost a lot!

Considering all these constraints, the error of margin, 0.18% is seems to be not away from the mark. The number of deletions for the city of Mysore are neatly tabulated in the presentation available at: <>

The ratio is approximately 0.18%. (3,900/21,00,000). The deletions are arranged in descending order. You will notice the huge deletions; more than 100 are only in 10-20 booths. So it is not right to say '1000 are deleted'. But, yes, 100s are deleted, of which many of them may be incorrect deletions.  We may note that, the figures make it very clear that there are no biases in the deletion like 'minority' etc. In Mysore, the maximum deletions are in Chamaraja constituency, which has fewer minorities and fewer slums.)

I am not supporting any mistake made by the govt officials. But just want to make the facts very clear. Also, the opinion that 'deletions' are responsible for low percentage of polling, is taking things too much. The 'deletions', as explained, matter only 0.18%. But, yes, incorrect deletion is bad, because, it robs the citizen of something which is priceless.

Now, what is the solution? Needless to say, it involves improving the governance in general. As short term solution, we may go for more VFCs round the clock, as planned in B'lore. May be dedicated officials, to take care of the Roll, rather than part time staff, who are always hard pressed for time.

Notwithstanding anything, I sincerely regret the inconvenience caused to the voters in this regard. I empathise with them and will do all to reduce such errors. I attended almost all calls that day; 135 calls, of which 90% are about deletions.

It is the responsibility of all of us to ensure a correct Roll. The admn has to take the lead. We are ready. Are you ready? Will there be more persons like Dr. Mysoremath, or Dr. Bapu Sathyanarayana, or Erram or Maj. Gen Vombatkere, or Bhamy Shenoy or Muralidhar who are ready to give their time and energy for such activities? Can the citizen committees give their input?

In any election process, there appear to be three main stake holders. The citizens, who vote; the political parties who require the votes; and the admn which enables and regulates the process. We, from the admn are ready to have a brainstorming session on this. Will the other two stake holders volunteer?

Warm regards,



Mani1972's picture

Electrol Roll and CTRL-ALT-DEL



Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Hats off to you, Mani Sir and let us go ahead, we are with you

Dear All

Your analysed report to Prajegalu is highly appreciated.  During my 40 years of central government service and having interacted with umpteen number of high level officers, I never had an occasion when a bureaucrat had ggiven a straight forward reply.  But yours is a total exception.  Keep up the good work Sir and you have miles to go.

Mr.Mani has served a volley to the court of Prajas.  It is our duty to play the ball within the ambits of the democratic game.  Shall we? 

Life could be beautiful (conditions attached) !!   

With such practive administration that is requesting for citizens help, any condition can be overcome and we can make Prajas' life that much beautiful.

Let us respond positively.

-Vasanthkumar Mysoremath

ananth.bangalore's picture

Buck does not stop with anyone. Who is responsible?

Dear Mr. Manivannan,

Thanks for your time and effort to explain issues from a different perspective. However, going further, in the essence of the true praja initiative, we need to identify measures to be taken to resolve the existing issues.

a. Clearly, you say the district administration revises the electoral roll.- Where is the Geology teacher, why is no government/administration concerned about this? What can the citizens do about this? Is there anything that the citizens can do at all?

b. Why are there no right people to manage the database of 21 lakh voters? What is the ECI/government doing about it? What can the citizens do about it? I also disagree that the district administration should be let to manage the database as it wants- as that might only bring in more unnecessary problems arising out of non-conformity to an agreed system.

c. For any effective administration of the database, the instructions cannot come from both the ECI and CEO. What can be done about this? Can someone do anything so that the information flow is regulated and one body takes up the responsibility of the database administration methodology?

d. If the district administration has to manage the electoral roll database as per the strict instructions from ECI or the CEO, who is auditing the systems and instructions? Does it go through any approving authority? (Pardon my ignorance of the system- if the answer to my question is pretty obvious to most). If it does not, what can be done towards this?

e. If most of the forms (i dont understand why on earth any form is needed) were designed in 1951, is there any provision in the constitution for review and amendment by a competent, neutral, scientific body?

f. Looks like the revisions happens because of instructions from ECI, CEO, through taluka office/ corporation offices. This is typical of our government- looks like someone has made very hard effort to make sure there is no accountability. Or whoever formed these systems must have been a bunch of completely incompetent nincompoops. What can be done?

g. All senior officers, BLOs, and their system of working sounds like there is a lot of apathy within the governance. In tis age of information, some info is stuck to the back side of some notice board in some tahsildar (who on earth is a tahsildar?) office. God help us. Well, he is not going to, so what can we do? Anyway, what is the use of there being a roll registration officer? Does any buck stop with him on anything?

h. Yeah, we dont have funds to notify in a better manner- but all the money will be spent by all the parties in getting votes in the next election. Nobody is asking for any individual notification- but some notification keeping in mind the target audience will help. This amount of apathy will not help in any case. So if one has to identify the body responsible for the proper book-keeping of all electoral rolls, is that possible at all? what can be done?

i. Also, the discussion about whether the mistakes are far less in the election process or in governance is irrelevant. So what was the point of your pointing it out?

j. The % of error not being so bad is very subjective. Considering the context in question, considering the after effects of such mistakes, 0.18% may not be very small as the number looks like. Anyway, whether 0.18% is a lot or not - does not make the issue eligible to be shamelessly swept under the carpet. Who is responsible for this 0.18%? We need names.

k. "....The reason could be the general disinterest in Parliamentary elections, coupled with the summer vacation and 30th being an auspicious day, which kept the people busy with marriages etc...". So there is nothing, nothing at all to indicate what is the reason for the low turnaround? nothing? nobody in power is interested to know? how re-assuring. What does 'general disinterest in parliamentary elections' mean? why is there any 'general disinterest'? Do we know? If we dont know, how do we know? If the CEO/ECI/government thought there might be compounding issues because of 30th being an auspicious day, why have the elections then? Was this designed so that people did not vote?

l. "... It is the responsibility of all of us to ensure a correct Roll...."??!!?? How is that everyone’s responsibility? For all you know, if the system works well, if on day 0, a birth certificate has been issued, on year 18, the EPIC had to be issued. What are taxes for? 

m. You made a general statement like- "Now, what is the solution? Needless to say, it involves improving the governance in general." That, all of us know, is like say "People should not lie, should behave like they were taught in their moral studies classes during their 2nd standard school." Yes, you are right, but how will that happen?

n. Short term solution- More VFCs round the clock- are they the eligible candidates for such a job? 'Dedicated officials' sounds like oxymoron- maybe not all officers are not dedicated, but many will bet most of them are. Part time staff are hard-pressed for time? Tell me, how many days in the past week they would have gone home at 3 in the morning and come back to work at 9? while many in the corporate offices do it in time of need, do we have Government (with a capital 'G') officers do it?

o. You ask for volunteers. Tell us that you will work with a greater picture in mind and not just the short term solution- which will not work anyways, if it is independent of the bigger scenario-  i am sure you will get an effective group. Or you can get the group which believes in short term solutions.

But nevertheless, Mr. Manivannan, thanks again for the post. It is people like you who still let us believe that there is still some sense in someone to speak to. Thats what makes us reply to your post. Please be assured that this post did not intend to point fingers at you personally, but was an expression of anger at the short-sightedness. Hope you will appreciate our position and hence the necessary tone of the post. Please keep writing.

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Hold it, hold it Ananthu..

Ananthu avare

I hope you have completely let out your steam against our system that has always been under attack, rightly so.  But "Yadaa, Yadaaapi dharmasya, glanirbhavathi Bhaarathaha....  Sambhavaami Yuge Yuge..." still holds good in Mera Bharat Mahan.

Mr.Manivannan is modest enough in seeking cooperation from citizens - Enough of criticisms and stating the obvious - let us not continue to swim in a sea of pessimism; for once, just for once, let us feel optimistic and become proactive, help the administration, as sought by the man at the help of affairs to make his ambition of enabling citizens (see his profile) come true and at the same time make our life also that much comfortable and put an end to this voting misery once and for all.  Participatory democracy is the need of the hour for the sake of posterity; otherwise, our children and grand children will curse us as to why we did not make an online course correction when things were getting hell out of control.  

You have asked what can be done by citizens?  See post:

Please consider this successful story as a bench mark (may be with modifications required) worth emulating at grassroots level.  Feedback welcome.

I spoke to Mr.Manivanna today morning and he said he is likely to call for a conclave of RWAs, Citizens Groups and all those concerned citizens to attend a meeting to find ways and means of making the voters list with minimum error emanating from the grassroots level. 

Prajas at Mysore/Bengaluru may like to participate and help Mr.Manivannan for creating a module at official level that will ensure citizens in all walks of life like voters list, infrastructure etc., and may be for drawing up a vision statement for future of Heritage City of Mysore.

At any cost we, Mysoreans, would not allow Namma Mysoru to become a Hell Hole like (Yellara) Bengaluru.

-Vasanth Mysoremath

murali772's picture

Dear Mr Manivannan It's

Dear Mr Manivannan

It's great to find a bureacrat ready to engage with the public to find solutions to their problems. Way to go, Sir!

As to the matter of preparation and maintenance of voters' lists, Sir, I have never quite been able to appreciate the need for this exercise called 'enumeration', going door-to-door. And, from my understanding, this appears to be the source of all the problems. Instead, why can't the onus be on the adult population of the country to bother to register themselves as voters by going over to notified location/s in the ward? If approached that way, and the job entrusted with reputed companies (like the Passport office - TCS deal - check:

, and

), can not the problem be solved once and for all, and have error-free voters' lists?

Or, am I missing something? Please enlighten me.  

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
Public Agenda's picture

Manivannan Sir ! Is the Bureaucrat accountable

In the present elections case 23rd and 30th April  the irregularities have occrrued in various ways in Mysore, Mumbai and Bengaluru etc. While filing form-6 repatedly for inclusion of  my relatives names has been done over a period of two years I persisted after a helpline was set up in Blr and two days before election on April 23rd I got a call that names were included and they were able to cast vote and excercise their FRANCHISE  in the polling booth close to residence which took only 5 minutes and it was a big relief.

Many others who have lived for over 25 years in the same place did not find their names like Basavanagudi, Banashankari , KG Halli and Chamaraja etc but the reasons could be different

In my case the names are now in two places even though I left that area three years ago so I will have to get it deleted there myself which i will do.

Where does the buck stop with the administration and governance? 

Will the top official involved at any level like district or division ever be found accountable

Is it only the politicians who must resign based on moral responsibility?




ananth.bangalore's picture

Vasanth Avare, Did not mean

Vasanth Avare,

Did not mean to come across negative, but i am also not going to overtly optimistic and waste effort and time on unfounded solutions. All i am asking for is for one to figure out if the solution fits into the grand order of things. If it does not, one can either trust me that the solution will only solve today's problems and will end up complicating tomorrow's problems more or one can learn this the hard way. So is someone getting up and saying - yes, we will work together to put down a system (well, who gave us the power to do that in the grand order of things in Indian constitution?), prototype it, review and revise it,  and this one body will assume full responsibility of maintaining it without passing the buck around. Can some organisation stand up and say that? Well, all the good will shown by the likes of Mr. Manivannan, i am afraid to note is in vain if not approached like approaching a management problem. Afterall, Karnataka is not the only state with such reduntant, obsolete systems- all of India is like that. I again dont want to come across negative, but the reason for my tone is becasue i cant seem to be able to emphasize enough of getting down to the bottom of things.  LOCAL, TEMPORARY, SHORT-TERM SOLUTIONS dont work any more. Anyone is welcome to try it. It can give an illusion of temporary success but let us see if there are good examples in the past - where short term temporary solutions have become key (unless everything else was worse and there was nothing to compare to). Local, temporary, short-term- these are bad words.

silkboard's picture

Mani sir, I am game for a meeting

If nothing else, I am game for a meeting to understand the process and the system.

A word of caution to fellow members. Not saying you don't attack and point out the the problems of the system etc. But it is always advisable to at least take the effort to understand the constraints or situation at "their" end.

A meeting with SEC, or local level senior official like Mr Manivannan will help develop that understandings, without which, we would just go on a needless ranting trip here (that I certainly don't like to participate in).

murali772's picture

many possibilities!

Here's an interesting comment by responsible member of the Bangalore civil society  (posted in a yahoogroup of which I am a member) - looks like many things are possible the way things are:

I came to learn of an interesting fact yesterday.  Lower middle class and lower class people vote with impunity in more than one state.  There is a person residing and working in Bangalore, with a valid ration card here and therefore a voter ID.  He hails from AP or Tamil Nadu since his bigger family is from there and owns property there.  He grew up there and therefore has a ration card there too and a voter ID there.  He travels to AP and casts his vote there and in Bangalore casts his vote here in the same election.  There are others who have families in 3 states, viz. Karnataka, AP amd TN and are registered in all 3 states.  They vote in all 3 states.  This obviously needs coordination between all state governments to ensure that nobody is registered in more than one location.  Computerised records properly shared between all states and monitored centrally could help to eliminate this problem.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
Mani1972's picture

Interim response!

Dear Friends,

Thanks for the responses. I will again revert back once i get to read all opinions. Meanwhile, as an interim response, I agree partially with Anand. Micro solutions do not add up to solving Macro problems. We need to understand the issues involved completley, and may have to think of a comprehensive solution. The proposal to outsource, by Murali needs to be explored further.

My humble opinion is that, we should not miss making local attempts, while waiting for the Macro solutions. Who knows, tommorrow, our attempts may throw good ideas which may be used at National level.

And, for the information of 'public agenda', the buck stops at Manivannan's table, as far as Mysore district Rolls are concerned. As the District Election officer (DEO), it is my duty to ensure a correct Roll. I take responsibility for the errors in the Rolls of Mysore District.

As i had clearly mentioned in my note, my intention was/is not to defend any offcial or to deflect the issue. It is to share the information with committed citizens like you, so that we can collectively make an attempt to provide actionable suggestions to improve the Roll.

With warm regards,



psaram42's picture

Grass root level of understanding

 Dear Mr Manivannan

The electoral rolls should be valid for the whole nation. In this context the possibilities of the same person voting at different states, should not arise.

As SB points out it is very important to have inputs at grass root level like what you are facing at District level. The basic issue being discussed in this thread concerns primarily the electoral Rolls for the city of Mysore in Mysore district I assume.

You have been kind enough to have agreed for a meeting earlier before the election fever took over. It would be really great if we could meet you as and when you become free from the current busy schedule.

We have a good five years to sort out the current problem of correct national Electoral Rolls for the next election.

Thank you once again sir.



Naveen's picture

Manivannan Sir - A Big Thanks


Sir - greatly appreciate yr post/s on this thread. It is very heartening to see an official comment here & to make attempts to inform us about reasons as to why the electoral rolls have errors. This is not an isolated case & is perhaps a pan-indian issue.

I strongly feel that EC /SECs & citizens getting into the act only when elections are around the corner is the main reason for all this lacuna that result in erraneous voters' particulars & the avoidable malpractices & fraud/s. I quote below a post that I had made earlier on another thread on this subject :

We have heard enough complaints related to deficiencies with electoral rolls. It is now time for a complete overhaul.

The old system of waking up at the last minute & trying to meet the demands of updating the rolls just a few months before elections has not worked.

What is needed is a system that works throughout the year, irrespective of whether elections are scheduled or not since the numbers are too large to cope with in a few months.

Though EC & the various SECs are full-time bodies, their work begins in earnest only when elections are scheduled & this is perhaps where the problem is.

If these bodies have sufficient staff strength all through the year on a permanent basis, one can get his EPIC anytime & also, the rolls will be up-to-date at any time, similar to a PAN card or a driving license.

The move toward a full-time operation can be a formidable task for the SECs & to do this, some actions & investments are necessary. Round the year staff with salaries, office network/s, a secure database management would all be necessary, but I think this is already overdue now.

Mumbai's voter turnout is also very poor - even in a city dominated by slums with over 70% population. So, it's no different anywhere in the country, & this is very telling.

ananth.bangalore's picture

Any further action on this-

Any further action on this- meeting or otherwise will be good now, after Mr. Manivannan said the buck is going to stop with him and will not be passed around. It was imperative to understand that any further work would make sense only after we also understand the initiative and the motivation is strong enough, as expressed by Mr. Manivannan in his later post.

Also, i do not see any ranting trip here as pointed out in an earlier post and i am sure all of us will agree the discussions have led to understanding commitment levels and mutual respect and have led us to believe there will indeed be some positive result.

Wishing ourselves all the best .


Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Mr.Manivannan has posted a thread

Ananthu and Dear All,

have a look at Mani Sir's posting on Electoral Rolls - posted on 8-5-09 

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