A voter displays his inked finger for a photograph after casting his vote at a polling station. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan)

Elections 2019: Are Nearly 13 Crore Voters Missing From India’s Electoral Rolls? 

With barely a month to go for the general election, a Hyderabad-based technology company claimed that names of 12 crore eligible voters are missing from the electoral rolls.

Of these, three crore are Muslims and four crore are Dalits, according to Khalid Saifullah, founder of Missing Voters app—that allows users to check if they are present on the voters’ list.

But that may be because most Muslims and Dalits are economically backward, Saifullah told BloombergQuint during an interaction. “About 42 percent Muslims are illiterate as per census data and the same goes for Dalits,” he said. “Because of their economical background, they don’t stay in the same location for more than four years and hence, can be missed out at the booth level verification.”

Still, how big is the issue of missing voters and what can the Election Commission and individual voters do?

The number looks unusually high and the Election Commission is duty-bound to deal with it urgently and transparently, said Jagdeep Chhokar, founder member of Association for Democratic Reform.

The whole process of electoral roll is complex. We should be willing to accept a certain degree of omission and commission. But 12 crore is a huge number. Maybe there is something going on which is not known to people at large.
Jagdeep Chhokar, Founder Member, Association for Democratic Reform

Agreed Former Chief Election Commissioner TS Krishnamurthy. “The issue is concerning, and the commission must carry out tests to verify the claims,” he said.

In each district, 60-70 percent of the population is above 18 years of age. So, when such complaints are received, the election commission tries to verify it and if the total number of voters in each constituency approximately reaches 60-70 percent, it’s concluded that there may not be a major omission, according to Krishnamurthy.

Watch the full debate here: