While the Election Commission of India (ECI), State Election Commission (SEC) and Maharashtra’s civic bodies continue to make excuses with regard to the large scale chaos and lakhs of names missing from voters’ list, it appears that a software malfunction may have caused the fiasco. The SEC used the software (developed by Mahaonline) for the first time to divide the list of 92 lakh voters according to wards and booths. The original voters’ list is prepared by the ECI and is based on Assembly constituencies. For the civic elections held this year, about 227 wards and over 7,000 polling booths were set up in Mumbai. While the move aimed to curb errors in the process, it proved to complicate the process. Sources claim that the software glitch led to a faulty separation of voters’ names according to wards and booths. The software was used by 10 civic corporations under the guidance of the SEC.
Apart from the software malfunction, ‘wrong data entry’ by the state’s civic corporations could have also added salt to the wound. Sources claim that the software crashed on election day due to heavy traffic, prompting poll officials to locate voters’ names on polling day.
JS Saharia, Maharashtra State Election Commissioner, rejected the charges, saying: “There was no issue in the software. We tested it before using it.”
Shiv Sena said the incident was a deliberate attempt by election officials to remove the names of Sena supporters from the list. The party also claimed that 11 lakh names were “deleted” from the Mumbai list.