August 20th, 2015
Image Source: Younews.in
Allegations of wrongful entries in the electoral rolls have always been a cause of worry for the voters, but few have come up with measures to rectify it.
PG Bhat, former HAL software engineer is not a new name to the voters of Karnataka. Down the line, he formed Smart Votes in 2009 elections, a not-for-profit organization to urge people to vote. While doing this, he and his friends realized the electoral rolls were riddled with errors.
“A woman was listed as male, a person who had been dead for years was still on the list, photos on the voter ID cards were wrong,” says Bhat who in 2010 wrote software that could detect obvious and logical errors in voter lists.
He paid Rs 2 per sheet to get the electoral rolls as per the rules, and began testing his software. At that stage, the election office did not have a system for verification. Bhat claims his software detects more errors than the election office.
If a person name appears twice, the age is below 18or above 100, or the photo does not match the gender, the system throws up an alert. He has found some patterns, in the errors that could be fixed automatically and for the errors that the system could not fix are detected by him, one by one.
Bhat, is in much demand among the citizens who look up to him to find their names on the voter lists and check if the details are right. He compiles cheerfully, and does not charge anyone for his services. Despite having flawed system, the Karnataka election office refused to use his software.
“The chief electoral officer (Karnataka) has said that they deleted 58,110 names during the revision of the rolls. However, many of these deleted names are still in the voters’ lists,” he says as said to Times of India reporter