257 voters get EVM papers, instead of postal ballots

257 voters get EVM papers, instead of postal ballots

Officials admit faux pas in Honnali; EC validates the votes

In a major flaw, the poll officials of the Davangere Lok Sabha constituency had dispatched Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) ballot papers, instead of the postal ballots to armed forces personnel and officers deputed for election duty.

As many as 257 voters registered for the Honnali Assembly constituency in Davangere Lok Sabha constituency were sent the wrong ballot papers.

Admitting that it was a human error, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Anil Kumar Jha said, “The Chief Election Commission (CEC) has permitted the office of the CEO to accept these EVM ballot papers as valid votes.”

The postal ballots have names of the candidates (both in Kannada and English) contesting the election, but do not have their party symbols. However, the EVM ballot papers have party symbols of the candidates against their names.

The BJP had earlier lodged a complaint with the EC alleging that there was discrepancy in the ballot papers.

Jha said that as soon as the discrepancy was brought to the notice of his office, a special permission was sought from the CEC to ensure that the votes were not invalidated.

The error occurred on March 29, when the poll officials at Davangere Parliamentary constituency were to approve and dispatch the postal ballots. According to the CEO, the primary reason for the mix-up may have been the addition of government personnel on election duty to the already existing list of service personnel, who were eligible to cast their vote through postal ballots.

Further, there was a delay in getting the addresses of these election officers and dispatching the postal ballots to them. This added to the pressure on the poll officials in charge of the postal ballots, Jha said.

“The postal ballots and the EVM ballot papers were never to be kept together. We will inquire into this error,” he added.

The CEO said the EC would inquire into the matter and fix responsibility on the officials guilty of the blunder.

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