~shree me and my passions…

20Apr/148

Polling Day Voter List Search Service!

The whole of Karnataka (actually a little more than half) voted on the 17th. So did I.

Chetana (my wife) and me have always voted in different polling booths. This time, these were in different schools. The voter turn-out was expected to be higher this time. So we were keen to cast our votes as early as possible.

I dropped off Chetana at her assigned polling booth. Looked like a lot of people waiting there. So I immediately rushed to the school where I was supposed to vote. There were a lot of people 100 meters away from the polling booth. Surprise -- very few queued up outside the polling booth itself ! A middle aged lady & her daughter were struggling to figure out where they were supposed to vote. With my mobile, and their voter ids, I quickly figured out that they were supposed to vote in the next polling booth.

Walking back to my car, I noticed that the number of people waiting to lookup their names in the voters list had increased. Political parties typically put up benches 100 meters away from polling booth. Party workers are stationed here with voter lists. By searching the voter lists, volunteers figure out which booth they need to go to vote. These serve as a last ditch campaign effort, in the name of service. Apparently, this service is also used to track who voted in a lot of areas, many a time resulting in bogus voting.

Searching the list is a cumbersome manual process. One improvement this time was the presence of laptop toting folks with an internet connection. These guys would use the election commission's website to search for the details. The website provided search option with an "EPIC number", as well as by name. The EPIC number is printed on the voter id card. Searching by name sucks; I haven't seen it yield any result till now. If one were lucky, the search would finish in a few seconds. More often than not, the website just wouldn't work ! The website must have been overloaded. The bottlenecks for the search turned out to be the internet connection, as well as the election comission's website. The number of people waiting to search the list kept growing. Chetana and me helped a few people with our mobiles. But this was clearly not enough.