With assembly elections in Bihar likely to be held later this year, the Election Commission is dispatching four special teams of ‘auditors’ to the state on Monday for weeding out duplicate entries from electoral rolls.
The four teams comprising six officers each are part of the Commission’s newly-set up Regulatory Audit Division and Bihar will be their first assignment, official sources said.
The Audit Division has been mandated to detect specific instances of non-adherence to the Commission’s guidelines or legal provisions required to be followed by the field election machinery. Maintenance of the quality of electoral rolls is its other task.
"The teams have been mandated to carry out an in depth study of the electoral rolls, including removal of duplicate entries, correction of names, distribution of electoral photo identity cards (EPIC) and disposal of various forms submitted to the electoral registration officers (EROs) by voters," an official said.
The teams, which would cover all 38 districts, will commence their Bihar visit on Monday and remain there till June 13. In the next phase, they will be in the state again from June 14 to July 15 and finally between July 16 and July 3.
Elections to the 243-member assembly are likely in September-October.
During their visits, the auditors will also meet general public and representatives of political parties to listen to their complaints and receive representations.
On April 22, EC had deputed a team of Deputy ECs and DG (expenditure monitoring) for ground level assessment.
The Commission has launched its special summary revision from May 15 to July 15. The draft electoral rolls were published recently for people to make claims and raise objections up to June 13. The exercise will conclude on July 31 with the publication of the revised rolls.
During the special summary revision, the state election machinery is undertaking a detailed exercise, going down to the polling booth level.
A large number of multiple entries will be verified through a door-to-door process and deleted following the due legal process, sources said.
An image assessment software has now been employed to detect multiple entries and it will be used in Bihar also.
The Commission would use voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) in 36 of the 243 assembly constituencies. The number of such constituencies could increase, they said.
VVPAT is a method of providing feedback to voters using a ballotless voting system. An EVM will have a small attachment to it which, after the button has been pressed in favour of a candidate, will print his name on a paper. It will be stored inside the machine and can be used in case of any dispute over the final result.