Election Commission Expands Data Transparency amidst False Narratives
Moneylife Digital Team 27 May 2024
Election commission of India (ECI) has taken decisive steps to expand the release of voter turnout data in a bid to enhance transparency and combat misinformation surrounding the electoral process. This move comes amidst a backdrop of false narratives and attempts to disrupt the sanctity of the electoral process.
ECI, in a press note released on 25th May, reiterated its commitment to upholding the integrity of the electoral system. It emphasised that the absolute number of voters for every parliamentary constituency will now be made available to the public. This decision, the commission asserts, is in line with its dedication to serving the cause of electoral democracy with unwavering resolve.
The absolute number of voter turnout for the first five phases is 507,297,288.
In the first phase of the Lok Sabha polls, the turnout was 110,052,103, the second phase witnessed a turnout of 105,830,572 voters, the third phase 113,234,676, the fourth phase 122,469,319 and the fifth phase a 55,710,618 turnout.
The release of voter turnout data has been a subject of scrutiny, with concerns raised over the possibility of data manipulation. However, ECI firmly stated that no alteration in the number of votes polled is feasible. The rigorous, transparent and participative process of collecting and storing votes ensures the accuracy and reliability of the data.
From the commencement of polls on 19th April, ECI has diligently disseminated voter turnout data, adhering to statutory considerations. Detailed processes have been communicated to political parties and made available in the public domain. Form 17C, which records the total number of votes polled in each constituency, is accessible to authorised agents of all candidates, ensuring accountability and transparency at every stage.
ECI debunked any allegations of delay in releasing voter turnout data, emphasising that such information has always been available 24/7 on the voter turnout app. Recent facilitative measures include upgrades to the app, such as the inclusion of aggregate phase-wise turnout figures and the enabling of a screenshot feature on the android version. Additionally, constituency-wise elector data and voter turnout data have been released promptly, further enhancing transparency.
Despite these efforts, ECI acknowledges the persistent challenges posed by false narratives and attempts to undermine the electoral process. However, it remains steadfast in its commitment to the highest level of transparency and the involvement of stakeholders at every stage of the electoral cycle.
“The commission publishes estimated voter turnout on two hourly basis till 1730 hrs (5.30 p.m.). After 1900 hours (7 p.m.) when the polling parties start arriving, data is continuously updated. By midnight on the poll day, the Voter turnout app will show the best estimated 'Close of Poll (COP)' data in percentage form," it added.
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