Delegation Submits Petition to Election Commission, Demands Transparency in Voter Turnout Records

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14th May, New Delhi: Today, a delegation consisting of Anjali Bhardwaj, Ashok Sharma, Shabnam Hashmi, Navsharan Singh, and Amrita Johri submitted a petition to the Election Commission of India (ECI). The petition demands that the ECI disclose the authenticated records of voter turnout figures as documented in Part I of Form 17C.

Endorsed by more than 4,000 individuals, the petition highlights discrepancies in the reported voter turnout for the first two phases of the elections. On the day of the first phase of polling (April 19, 2024), the ECI’s press note estimated the voter turnout at over 60% by 7 PM. However, the final voter turnout figure released 11 days later on April 30 was 66.14%, showing an increase of more than 6%. Similarly, for the second phase of polling on April 26, 2024, the ECI initially reported a voter turnout of 60.96% by 7 PM, which was later revised to 66.71% in the April 30 press note. The petition raises concerns over the significant delays and substantial revisions without adequate explanation, causing doubts about the accuracy of the voter turnout figures.

The petition emphasizes the importance of public trust in the electoral process for the healthy functioning of democracy. It urges the ECI to promptly upload a scanned, legible copy of Part I of Form 17C (Account of Votes Recorded) from every polling station involved in the first three phases of the elections. Furthermore, it calls for this information to be made publicly available on the ECI website within 48 hours of the close of polls for the remaining phases. Additionally, the petition requests that the ECI publish a tabulation of voter turnout figures, broken down by constituency and polling station, in absolute numbers.

Despite the completion of polling in four phases, the ECI has yet to release voter turnout figures in absolute numbers.

This call for increased transparency in the electoral process is supported by a wide array of transparency activists, lawyers, information commissioners, retired civil servants, and concerned citizens. Notable endorsers include Prashant Bhushan, Najeeb Jung, Tushar A. Gandhi, Jagdeep Chhokar, MG Devasahayam, Yogendra Yadav, Vrinda Grover, Shailesh Gandhi, Jayati Ghosh, Vipul Mudgal, Anand Patwardhan, Meeran Chadha Borwankar, Syeda Hameed, Henri Tiphagne, Madhu Bhaduri, Annie Raja, E A S Sarma, T M Krishna, Prof. MM Ansari (former Central Information Commissioner), M Sridhar Acharyulu (former CIC), Rahul Singh (former State Information Commissioner, MP), Venkatesh Nayak, Maimoona Mollah, Arundhati Dhuru, Sandeep Pandey, Nivedita Menon, Mridula Mukherjee, K P Fabian, Meera Sanghamitra, Kavitha Kuruganti, Aditya Mukherjee, Nandini Sundar, Nikhil Dey, and Dr. Sunilam.

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