The district election office on Monday swung into action after rumours surfaced that voting machines in some polling booths were defunct, which resulted in a low turnout for a certain period of time. “There was information that voting machines in Vidyanagar and Chinchwad became defunct in the morning and there was no polling. Verification revealed that it was a rumour. There were 20 votes cast in the polling booth from 7 am to 9 am,” said Naval Kishor Ram, district collector and district election officer.
There was a similar complaint in Maval but that too was found to be a rumour, he said, adding there were problems when such rumours were spread in rural areas. “If the machines are defunct, it takes half-an-hour to replace them and restart polling,” said Ram. “It is difficult to check the spread of such rumours immediately. However, we have asked the election officers concerned to inquire into the sources of such rumours,” he added.
The district collector said there were no major cases of voting machines becoming defunct. “Around 1.7 per cent of total machines used were found to be defunct during the mock poll so they were replaced before the actual polling began. Around 0.78 per cent of total machines had problems during polling but there was no problem in the polling process as they were replaced immediately,” he said.
The collector said polling in the district was extended by an hour, till 6 pm, as voting was on till the last minute at some centres. “It was expected that the use of VVPAT machines would increase the time taken to cast a vote by seven seconds…so the time was increased,” he said.
Polling in Maval and Shirur parliamentary constituencies was largely incident-free, though Rs 48,000 in cash was recovered from a person in Pimpri, said the district election officer. The collector said a video had gone viral of a voter recording the voting process on their mobile phone. “We have directed to file a police complaint against the unknown person…” he said.
The district election officer said there had been no large-scale complaints about names missing from the voters’ lists.
“In fact, I don’t have a single official complaint on missing names. There is a manual problem as names are found later on. Some complaints about missing names are expected as the problem is bound to persist to some extent despite purifying the electoral rolls repeatedly,” he said.
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