The Election Commission on Saturday made its final voter turnout figure for third phase of polling at 65.68 per cent. Though there is no difference between the updated figure announced on May 8, but this is lower than 68.4 per cent recorded in the 2019 general election. With this, polling percentage in all three phases have been lower than 2019 general election.

However, the commission is yet to give the absolute number of actual number of people who exercised their right during the third phase. Data showed that around 67 per cent males exercised their voting right, while for females it was over 64 per cent. In terms of each state, Assam had highest percentage of female voters, followed by West Bengal and Goa. Also, West Bengal, Goa and Bihar saw more female voting than male.

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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.

Last month, 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. Also, voter turnout in the first two phases of voting in the ongoing general elections was nearly 6 per cent higher than the preliminary number made public on the date of the polling.

On Friday, ECI issued a point-by-point rebuttal to Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge’s charges of glaring mismanagement and delay in release of voter turnout data in the ongoing 2024 Lok Sabha poll, and advised him to “exercise caution and refrain in making such statements”.

In a cryptic remark, the commission said the congress president’s letter, made public through social media platform X, was ‘unwarranted’ and ‘reflective of a biased and deliberate attempt to spread confusion on credibility of electoral steps.

“A trend of irresponsible statements attacking or attempting to degrade the credibility of elections in terms of men and material by a national political party is disconcerting,” the ECI lamented.