Following businessline’s report on the non-disclosure of data regarding polling percentages, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Tuesday released the figures that reveal that voter turnout was over 66 per cent in the first two phases of voting in the ongoing general elections. This is nearly 6 per cent higher than the preliminary number made public on the date of the polling.

The first phase of polling took place on April 19 for 102 seats in 21 States and Union Territories. On that day, the Commission reported approximately 60 per cent polling until 7 pm. The second phase of polling was held on April 26 for 88 seats in 13 States and Union Territories, and on that day, the Commission pegged voters’ turnout at around 61 per cent.

However, 10 days after voting in the first phase and 3 days after voting in the second phase, the Commission had not given the final figures and had made only “approximate” data available.

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In its Tuesday edition, businessline reported that the Commission was yet to give final polling data for 2 phases, days after voting. This caused a huge uproar on social media. The report, quoting the top official of the Commission, said that the final polling percentage for two phases was 66.14 and 66.71 per cent respectively, although this figure was not released officially at the time. The long delay in releasing the final figures was not explained. 

Talking about data collection, the Commission said that Parliamentary and Assembly constituency-wise data is updated regularly on the voter turnout app as well as in the IT system by returning officers through Form 17C. A copy of Form 17C is also provided to every polling station in a constituency for all candidates through their polling agents. Final turnout is only made available post-counting with the counting of postal ballots and its addition to the total vote count. Postal ballots include those given to service voters, absentee voters (85 years of age or older),, PwD (persons with disabilities), Essential Services, etc., and voters on election duty.