Electoral officer suspended after 5 voter ID cards in name of single person found generated in system

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(Eds: rpting after adding words in headline) Thiruvananthapuram, Mar 22 (PTI) An electoral officer in poll bound Kerala was on Monday suspended, pending enquiry, after five voter identity cards in the name of a single person was found generated in the computer sytem at Uduma in Kasaragod district.

Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena said the Assistant Electoral Registration Officer in Uduma was suspended after the cards in the name of Kumari, a 61-year-old voter, was found in the system.

However, only one of these was issued to her and the other four were cancelled, he said.

On the charges of Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala about irregularities in preparation of voters lists, he said they had conducted a detailed probe into the 'multiple entries' flagged by him and found there were 590 double entries, which was nothing new and was there in many states due to a variety of reasons.

'As of now, we were not able to find any political motive. If it is there, I can't say much about it. That doesn't come under my purview,' Meena said.

He warned that strict action would be taken against such officers if foul play was detected in the voter card issuing exercise.

Meena said multiple entries was nothing new and was there in all states and might happen while applying for the cards.

'Applying for voting ID card is an online process and many people may apply several times by mistake.

Sometimes your application will be processed three or four times. Another reason is that many people shift their constituencies and addresses and apply at the new place.

So they will apply for voters ID card, but their names will be still in their earlier place. It will come as double entry,' Meena said.

The CEO said such Demographically Similar Entries (DSEs) are normally removed before the election notification and not after it.

'Over 60,000 DSEs were removed before January this year.

But after January, over nine lakh applications reached us. As of now, we cannot remove it while the state goes for an election.' Meena said the exercise will be done after the polls.

Booth wise lists were being prepared and these would be handed over to presiding officers, he said.

'We have ordered a detailed investigation in all the 140 constituencies,' Meena said.

He also said the C-VIGIL mobile application received over 67,000 complaints on violation of the model code of conduct, following which over six lakh posters and banners were removed across the state.

The Chief Electoral Officer said there are 290 third gender voters this time among 2,74,46,039 voters in the state.

Out of the this number, 1,32,83724 are male voters and 1,41,62,025 are female voters.

'As many as 290 third genders have identified themselves.

This is a great achievement.They are normally very shy but this shows their confidence in the system. They are ready to make use of their electoral right,' Meena said.

He said a total of 1,061 nominations were found valid after scrutiny out of the total of 2,180 nominations received on March 19, the last date of submitting them A total of 957 candidates are currently in the fray on Monday, the last date for withdrawal of nominations, the Commission said.

The results will be announced on May 2. PTI RRT APR ADMINISTRATOR APR ADMINISTRATOR