What explains the extraordinary delay in sharing of polling data by the Election Commission? | In Focus podcast

In this episode, MG Devasahayam delves into the Election Commission’s data-sharing practices, timelines, types of data, and the validity of concerns about vote manipulation during the counting process.

Published - May 08, 2024 03:25 pm IST

The delay by the Election Commission (EC) in sharing the aggregate polling data of the first and second phases of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections has evoked sharp questions from the Opposition and civil society. The EC released the final voter turnout figures for phase 1 after 11 days, and for phase 2 after four days. Moreover, it has only released turnout percentages – 66.14% in Phase 1 and 66.71% in phase 2. It is yet to release the actual numbers of voters who cast their vote.

The Election Commission has also not put out the absolute number of voters in each constituency, raising disturbing questions about the possibility of manipulation at the counting stage. Another issue that has been flagged is the sizeable difference in turnout figures between the close of polling day, and the date of announcement of final voter percentages.

So, what has traditionally been the EC’s practice with regard to sharing of electoral data? How much time is it supposed to take? What kinds of data does it share as a matter of course? And are the concerns about vote manipulation at the counting stage valid or misplaced?

Guest:  MG Devasahayam, a former IAS officer who is also Coordinator, Citizens Commission on Elections.

Host: G. Sampath, Social Affairs Editor, The Hindu. 

Edited by Jude Francis Weston

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