Enrol till April 7 to vote this time

Enrol till April 7 to vote this time

Those who have not registered their names in the voters’ list so far, may do so till April 7 to be eligible to exercise their franchise in the Assembly polls to be held on May 5.

According to the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer (OCEO), Karnataka, all those who have crossed 18 years of age as on January 1, 2013, can submit the filled-in Form 6 and enrol their names online or by visiting the nearest ward office or the Voters’ Facilitation Centre. All applications (Form 6) received till April 7 will be verified and displayed on public notice boards for 10 days, calling for objections, if any.

They will be finalised on April 17 and included in the voters’ list that will be made use of in the polls. Though applications will be received for enrolment even after April 7, the names will not be included in the voters’ list to be used in the coming elections.

But the OCEO has stopped receiving online applications for deletion of names (Form 7) and modification (Form 8) after the announcement of the polls.

Tech way to reduce errors

The OCEO has taken steps to minimise errors in the electoral rolls using technology. Error-detection software is being used to identify common errors like duplication of names and blank rolls.

So far, about 43,000 errors of various kinds have been set right in the last few days in 28 Assembly constituencies in Bangalore, Chief Electoral Officer Anil Kumar Jha told reporters on Thursday.

Besides, the OCEO has been conducting field verifications to identify errors and take appropriate corrective measures.

“I agree that there are errors in the voters’ list. Errors are bound to be there in the database of such a magnitude. As many as 4.18 crore citizens have enrolled themselves in the voters’ list in the State,” he said.

Nearly 13 lakh names have been deleted from the voters’ lists in the last one year.

The deletion exercise was not taken up in the last five years, and hence a sizeable number had to be deleted due to various technical reasons. However, the additions made to the lists are about 7.54 lakh since December 10, 2012, till now.

Voting percentage

The CEO said the OCEO will conduct a Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation campaign in the State to exhort the people, especially the first-time voters (18 years), to participate in the poll process.

Focus will be on Bangalore where the poll percentage in the 2008 Assembly elections was not impressive.

As part of the campaign, special activities will be conducted for enrolling young and female voters and ensuring their participation in the electoral process.

The main purpose is to inform, motivate and facilitate every eligible voter to cast their votes.

Resident welfare associations and educational institutions will be involved in the campaign.

Jha said the Electors-Population ratio of Bangalore is 62 per cent. The OCEO is now targeting a 65 per cent ratio. About 7.45 lakh new names have been added to the electoral rolls in recent days, he added.

Voter ID slips

To help the voters know their polling station and serial number in the voters’ list, the OCEO will be distributing the voter slips to them, ahead of the polling on May 5. The slips will be handed over to the voters at their doorsteps three or four days before the polling. The slips contain all details of the voters and the Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC), including the photo of the voter. It will be convenient for the voters to know their polling booth and they can also be sure that their name figures in the voters’ list before going to the booths, Jha said.

Hitherto, agents of all political parties used to issued voter slips near the polling stations or used to deliver them to voters’ houses.

It used to be a tough order to cast the votes for all those who did not know the polling stations and those who did not possess EPIC cards. Each slip is likely to have a hologram so that duplicate slips can be curbed, he said.

He said the slips to be distributed to voters would be in the form of stickers. Block Level Officers will be entrusted with the task of delivering the slips. In Gujarat, the distribution of ID slips contributed to increased voting percentage, Jha said.

Cost of polls

Guess, what is the estimated cost of the upcoming Assembly polls? The allocation by the State government is Rs 200 crore, but the actual cost could be less than that. Gujarat, which has lesser number of constituencies than Karnataka, recently spent about Rs 150 Rs 160 crore for the Assembly polls.

The government has already made provision in the budget for the poll expenses. The OCEO had spent Rs 66 crore and Rs 90 crore for conducting the 2008 Assembly elections and the Parliamentary elections in 2009 in the State, respectively. The cost has shot up due to steep rise in fuel prices, official sources said.