This has been introduced for the first time by the Election Commission

For the first time, the Election Commission (EC) has introduced “criticality analysis and liability mapping” of polling booths to reduce electoral malpractice.

Parameters

Officials on election duty will analyse each booth in a district using data of earlier elections and identify those that meet any of these parameters: 100 absentee voters, very low percentage polling, over 75 per cent polling, and one candidate getting more than 75 per cent votes. The recent directive issued by the EC entrusts the district electoral officer and assistant electoral officers to analyse the problem and look for solutions.

“If there are absentee voters, electoral rolls revision officials will start checking database for technical errors. Then they will visit houses with absentee voters. If the voter has moved and wants to vote in another booth, we will ask him/her to apply for change of address,” said P.C. Jaffer, Deputy Commissioner and district electoral officer.

Similarly, awareness programmes will be conducted in booths where the polling percentage is lower than the district average. Officials will also organise meetings with resident welfare associations to find out if there are any specific problems.

Extraordinarily high percentage of voting will be clinically studied to see if it is due to higher voter awareness or irregularities. Special focus will be on booths where a candidate has got three-fourths or more of the votes cast. Each case will be studied to rule out malpractice. Options of shifting polling officials will be explored to avoid irregularities.

Database

Once the candidates in all the constituencies are finalised, each booth will be mapped for liability. A database will be built on the general law and order situation in the town or village, its history of violence and the criminal background of candidates. Police inputs on these issues will be used to assess the level of liability.

Special focus would be on areas with dense population of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, minorities and nomadic communities, Mr. Jaffer said.

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