The Election Commission in Karnataka is gearing up for the state polls that will take place in the first half of 2018. As a first step towards that, the draft electoral rolls were published on November 3. However, concerned citizens led by #UnitedBengaluru have found certain illegalities and limitations of the draft rolls published on the official website of Chief Electoral Officer, Karnataka.
Today they submitted a petition to the Election Commission, Karnataka to rectify discrepancies in the electoral voter list.
According to them, Rule 18.104.22.168 of the manual provides for the manner in which publication of draft rolls must be made by the State Election Commission. This has not taken place and hence, they met V Raghavendra, Deputy Chief Electoral Officer and requested that such changes be brought in as per the set manual.
ISSUES THEY WANT ADDRESSED
- The draft rolls that are currently published are in the form of a PDF image. This is in contravention of Rule 22.214.171.124 of the Manual which requires the draft rolls to be published on the official website of the Chief Electoral Officer in a PDF format in text mode.
- Access to the published rolls is CAPTCHA controlled. Though the rules do not specifically mention about CAPTCHA, they do state that the electoral rolls are public documents and in spirit suggest free access.
Srikanth Narasimhan, General Secretary, Bangalore Apartments Federation (BAF) told India Today that clean and accurate electoral rolls are the first step in the voting process. Adding that need of the hour is an easily searchable electoral rolls, Narasimhan said, "One big problem we are facing today is that we are not sure who has registered or not."
Likewise Suresh NR, Convenor, #UnitedBengaluru says the purpose behind the publication of electoral rolls in text format is to enable the citizens to easily search for their data in the rolls. However, the publication of the draft rolls in an image format as opposed to text format disables the voters from easily accessing the draft rolls and prevents them from easily searching for their respective names.
"If you want to search one name in one assembly constituency, you have to download all the parts and sub-parts and manually search which is a violation of the existing acts and rules," he added.
V Raghavendra, Deputy Chief Electoral Officer after accepting the petition from the concerned citizens said that the commission will certainly look into the issue and do the needful as per law.
With inputs from Aparna Jayachandran