National

Kerala CEO issues strict guidelines on bogus voters’ list

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on March 24, 2021

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) in Kerala Tikaram Meena has issued strict guidelines to prevent bogus voting based on multiple and erroneous entries in the voters’ list. This follows a series of exposing by Ramesh Chennithala, Leader of Opposition in the outgoing House, a former minister and senior Congress leader.

A preliminary probe conducted by District Collectors has found many discrepancies in which names of voters have been repeated, and in some cases, multiple entries made using a single photograph. Instances of varied voter information/profile against a single electoral ID number too have been detected.

Separate complaints filed

Chennithala had filed five separate complaints about voter frauds to the office of CEO. District Collectors have been instructed to check such fraud in all 140 assembly constituencies. Special teams headed by Electoral Registration Officers have been told to check the electoral rolls by March 25.

Multiple entries and doubtful credentials may be detected by employing the ‘logical error method’ using special software. A list of voters whose names figure more than once would be prepared at the booth-level and handed over to Booth Level Officers (BLOs), who will conduct a field visit to identify genuine voters.

Doorstep delivery of slips

This will be done during doorstep delivery of voters’ slips when voters would be instructed that they can cast only one vote even if their names figure in multiple lists. BLOs will note down cases of repetition in the list and submit it to Returning Officers (ROs) before March 30. The ROs will pass this list to the presiding officers of polling stations.

On the polling day, presiding officers will have the list of double entries in the electoral roll. Such voters will be allowed to leave polling booths only after the indelible ink on their finger has completely dried up. If more errors are detected in the list, the concerned will be put under webcasting or CCTV surveillance.

To be shared with parties

The list of multiple entries will be given to political parties as well. Even if polling agents do not complain, ascertaining the voter’s genuineness is the duty of the polling officer. In case impersonation is detected, strict action will be taken against the polling official concerned.

The CEO has recommended action against officials who also commit lapses in identifying multiple entries. He has asked District Collectors to submit a status report on the action taken as per the guidelines by March 30.

Published on March 24, 2021

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