If you look for “authenticated data” on the number of votes polled in the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections on the Election Commission of India’s website… you will not find it!
If you look for authenticated data on the number of votes counted in the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections on the Election Commission’s website, again, you will not find it!
Because even four months after the declaration of the results, the EC still describes the information and data on its website as ‘provisional’.
Well, now you may ask what’s the difference between ‘provisional’ and ‘authenticated’ data, and why is it significant?
The answer is simple. Results for each constituency are announced by the Election Commission on the counting day, as they come in.
In 2019, by the end of 23 May, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had been declared the winner in 303 Lok Sabha seats. However, on that day, all voting data recorded by lakhs of EVMs across the country, on the EC’s website, is still deemed to be ‘provisional’.
In the next few days, the EC follows a crucial process of re-checking all its election data, and once it is satisfied there are no errors, it declares the election data on its website ‘authenticated’.
But in the case of the 2019 elections, this has not yet happened, and we, at The Quint, are wondering why.
EC’s Process To Authenticate Voting Data
In a press release issued on 1 June 2019, the Election Commission explained that for every Lok Sabha constituency an ‘Index Card’ that gives the final break-up of voter turnout is prepared by the Returning Officer.
Once the EC gets the Index Cards from all Returning Officers, this is compiled, checked and the final authenticated data of election result is made public.
The EC added that all Returning Officers had been told to submit their Index Cards within 15 days after counting day. Since the results were declared on 23 May, the EC should have received all these Index Cards by 10 June.
EC Replaces Mismatched Figures After The Quint’s Report
In its 1st June press release, the EC had also said that the authenticated data would be released in two to three months. But four months later, that is yet to happen.
Incidentally, the Election Commission's 1st June press release was not published voluntarily.
In fact, it was a response to an article published by The Quint on 31 May that revealed a mismatch in the number of EVM votes polled and counted on the EC’s website in over 370 Lok Sabha constituencies – of which in 220 constituencies surplus votes were counted and in the rest, deficit votes were recorded.
The Election Commission in its press release explained the mismatch by claiming that “All these figures are provisional… the data is estimated and subject to change.”
And then, mysteriously, a few days later, all the mismatching figures had vanished… and matching figures had been uploaded in their place.
If the mismatched figures that The Quint had seen on 30 May were part of the provisional data, are the matching figures posted on 1 June on the EC’s website authenticated?
If yes, why was the Election Commission still describing these matching figures as ‘provisional’ data? This also raises several other questions:
- Why is the EC providing only state-wise voting data and not constituency-wise voting data?
- And what was the reason behind the mismatched data in over 370 constituencies? All serious questions linked to the reliability of our election process.
- So, we ask again, why hasn’t the EC uploaded the final results of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections on its website? What is the holdup?
- Why are the people of the world’s largest democracy being deprived of authentic election results?
- Is it just ‘sarkari’ red tape, or is there more to it?
The Quint has asked the Election Commission ALL of these questions – but have got no reply as of yet.