Elections 2024: Peaceful polling, sporadic glitches 

Elections Karnataka Top Story

Bangalore recorded an average voter turnout of approximately 56.4 percent.

Missing names in voter list. Dysfunctional EVM machines. Drinking water unavailable. As Bangalore went to polls today, several polling booths reported discrepancies and non availability of basic facilities for voters. However, polling went peacefully across all polling stations, Karnataka state police said.

M.D. Anwar, a voter from Al – Mubarak Nursery Primary and Girls English High School polling station, J. C. Nagar said his name was changed in the voter list.
Two other voters, Anwar Pasha and Siraj from the same polling booth said their names were missing in the voter list. “I have been voting since the past 40 years. This is the first time I am facing such an issue,” Siraj said. Both of them were waiting outside the polling station to find if they could cast their votes.

Nikita, 18, a first-time voter from Rajarajeshwari Nagar said she had registered herself online to vote and had carried all the required documents to the polling station. However she was barred from voting as the returning officers told her they did not find her name in the registered voter list. “I was told to come back next year to vote,” she said.

But young voters were not the only ones who were facing issues with voting, Alok, who said that he had been voting for the past 15 years, also reported issues with finding his name in the voter’s list.

Credits: Saradhi Sankar and Teams SoftCopy and CityCast.

Veena, another long time voter said that she had to change polling booths and go somewhere else because of an address change that put her name in a different polling booth in Rajarajeshwari Nagar.

Returning officers said delay in printing the slip by the Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machine was delaying the polling process in booth 6 at the same polling station. Unaid Ibrahim, Assistant Presiding Officer at a National College polling station, who cast his vote at Al-Mubarak School, said, “Once a voter casts his vote, the slip should be generated within five to 10 seconds. But here, printing of the slip after the voter casts his vote is getting delayed which has delayed the whole process.” He however added that the VVPAT would not be replaced unless it stops functioning.  

Following this, a complaint had been noted and the EC sent a team to investigate, Girish, an official from the EC, said.  Later voters said that the issue had been resolved.

Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPAT) were missing from polling booths at K. Golahalli and Devagere taluks. The polling booths saw moderate voter’s turnout since the morning.

In the morning, around 300 people could not vote in a polling booth in Panchsheela, Rajarajeshwari Nagar, due to dysfunctional EVM machines. However, the issue was resolved immediately, Jagadeesh, a Polling Officer said. “Voting has been going smoothly since then,” he added.

Party members from both Indian National Congress (INC) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were seen persuading the voters to vote for their respective parties outside the B.E.T School in Rajarajeshwari Nagar as voters entered through the barricades. Juice and water were handed out to the voters while party members manned tables to provide directions.

No shade to stand under and non-availability of drinking water were two major issues in a Vijayanagar polling booth. Some voters said it would have been convenient if drinking water facilities were available at the booth, and the shade under which the queue stood was longer.

“It was really hot outside and the tent in front of the booth was so small that only a few could use it. The rest had to stand in the scorching heat. It would have been better if the tent was a bit larger, and had drinking water facility,” she said.

Polling booths in Bangalore Rural saw many elderly voters and one common demand made by them was arrangement of special vehicles to commute to and from the booths for senior citizens.

Ten units of Manipal Hospital made an initiative to take patients out to cast their vote. As of 4 p.m., 41 patients were taken. Karthik, a member of management team of Manipal Hospital said, “Some patients are reluctant to vote due to their poor health. We are trying to take maximum number of patients out to cast their vote.”

Karnataka recorded 12,90,373 first-time voters, Jediyappa, senior assistant director at the EC said. Abhay Surya, a first-time voter from Gandhinagar said, “It was an amazing experience to vote, and I feel like I fulfilled my responsibility towards my country.”

Over 17 thousand senior citizens over 100 years of age will also vote this time, according to data from the EC.

About 1120 all women managed polling booths have been set up for Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka, out of which 560 are set up in Phase 2.

Meanwhile, an FIR was registered against BJP candidate K. Sudhakar in Chikkabalapur constituency on the accusations of bribery and undue influence on voters. About Rs. 4.8 crores in cash has been seized. The Election Commission reported in a tweet (link) that the Flying Squad Team (FST) of Chikkabalapur seized the money.

Kathyayini Chamaraj, respresentaive of Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) Karnataka said missing names in voter list prevents one from exercising their universal adult franchise, which indicates a loss of democratic values enshrined in the Indian constitution. “Drinking water facilities at all booths should have been ensured by local authorities. The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) should have checked thoroughly if drinking water was available at all stations,” she said.

She further said VVPAT machines and EVM machines should have been inspected thoroughly in days leading up to the polling day, and delays could have been prevented.

Polling ended at 6 p.m.

Arunima Pal compiled this story.