Three engineering postgraduates from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, have come up with a new way to weed out multiple and duplicate names in voters’ lists with new software to suit Indian needs.

The three technocrats, who wish to remain anonymous, told The Hindu that in a sample test of Assembly constituencies in Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, where victory margins ranged from 200 to 500, there were over 5,000 multiple and duplicate entries.

The Chief Electoral Officer of Andhra Pradesh has entrusted them with the responsibility of removing duplicate names of voters in the electoral rolls in Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy, Nalgonda, Medak and Mehboobnagar districts.

The technocrats said that multiple entries of a single voter’s name in the electoral rolls were achieved by introducing slight spelling mistakes, interchanging the last and the first names and rearranging vowels. Their software is designed to detect and identify multiple entries of the same voter’s name in electoral rolls.

One of the conditions stipulated by the officer is that the exercise be completed in the Chief Electoral Office, and before February-end.

The technocrats said they had undertaken similar cross-checking of electoral rolls in several constituencies, such as Jewargi in Gulbarga district and Kumta in Uttara Kannada district, among others, where the victory margin was in double and triple digits, and have found large-scale irregularities in the electoral roll. The verification of the electoral rolls in Karnataka was taken up as a sample test, to understand the extent of this irregularity, they said.

They now propose to approach the Chief Electoral Officer in Karnataka and other States to take up similar exercises, after completing their task in Andhra Pradesh.

Their software can weed out multiple and duplicate names from the electoral rolls