Civil groups raise concerns over missing voters’ names | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times

Civil groups raise concerns over missing voters’ names

May 25, 2024 06:26 AM IST

Concerns rise over missing names in Mumbai's voters’ list, leading civil society groups to address the state election commission before the upcoming assembly elections.

Mumbai: Concerns have arisen over the hundreds of missing names from the voters’ list, prompting civil society organizations and citizen groups to approach the state election commission. They have already begun preparations to rectify this issue in time for the upcoming assembly elections, expected to be held before or after October 2024.

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Tushar Gandhi, the great-grandson of Gandhi, expressed frustration at a press conference on Friday, “My son’s name was distorted beyond belief. My surname is all I have - and it was made gibberish. His gender was also wrong. If he was in the country, he would have had a hard time voting.”

Many prospective voters were turned away on voting day due to their names being absent from the electoral rolls.

Dolphy D’Souza from the Bombay Catholic Sabha highlighted that at least 25 people’s names were missing from the list at every booth in Bandra West and beyond, indicating a widespread issue. Despite efforts to rectify the situation, including informing voters to check the deleted list, few could benefit due to uncooperative polling officers.

The Sabha and other citizen groups have begun collecting names of those missing from the electoral rolls, with plans to help them re-register to vote in the state elections. AGNI, another citizens’ group, is also collecting names and planning a registration camp.

Another citizens group in the area, AGNI, also followed suit with a similar campaign, meeting the additional chief electoral officer on May 22. “We’ve collected a list of 20 names as of yet which we handed to Kulkarni. With the ECI, we’re planning to hold a camp for the registration of these voters,” said Karan D’Lima.

What is strange, D’Lima continued is the possible reasons given by Kulkarni. “He said names are deleted if the person is dead, moved away, or not at home. But the last reason is absurd; why would they remove names if someone is not at home?”

At a press conference, concerns were also raised about the delayed updating of voter counts after voting day. Teesta Setalvad from Citizens for Justice and Peace emphasized the need for cross-checking voting figures on June 4 during vote counting.

Kulkarni explained that names are deleted from the list if individuals are absent, have moved, or are deceased. He also mentioned the possibility of names being shifted to different polling booths as part of routine reorganization before each election.

He urged citizens to check their names on the electoral roll well in advance of voting day and start the process for rectification if necessary, emphasizing the importance of proactive engagement in the electoral process.

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