No issue with voting at St Anne’s Halasuru, Bengaluru poll officials confirm after viral audio

The voter had alleged in the audio that he pressed the button on the EVM, neither did the slip appear in the VVPAT machine, nor did it make a beep sound.
St Anne's degree college
St Anne's degree college
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The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Friday, April 26 denied claims made by a voter from Bengaluru Central Lok Sabha constituency that the VVPAT machine did not appear to record his vote and that the ballot button on the control unit was not activated by the polling officer when he was casting his vote. 

An anonymous audio shared widely on social media suggested there were discrepancies in the voting in booth number 17 under the Shantinagar assembly constituency in St Anne’s school in Halasuru. However, Election Commission officials denied any discrepancy and said that the number of voters entered in the register tallied with the votes recorded on the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM). 

According to the audio, the voter said the first official took down his PAT number to locate him on the register, after which he signed the register. A third official in the booth inked his finger. The voter alleged that this official was supposed to press the button on the master control unit to activate the voting machine.

The voter said that when he pressed the button on the EVM neither was there a long beep nor did the VVPAT slip with the picture of the party symbol appear. He waited for 10-15 seconds and pressed the EVM button again, but still nothing happened. “I got a little bit annoyed and I went to the third person, the guy who actually puts the ink on the finger and whose job it is to activate the voting machine by pressing the activate button on the control panel. He gave me a sheepish grin and I spoke to the presiding officer also. I asked, "Do you think I've come from a village or something?” He then urged people to make sure that the machine was activated when they get their finger inked.

Election officials TNM spoke to said that the Bengaluru resident was one of the first to cast the vote at 7 am.

The Chief Electoral Officer of Karnataka clarified that when they received the complaint, the Assistant Returning Officer of 163 - Shantinagar assembly constituency directed the Sector Magistrate to reach the polling station and report the issue. 

“It was found that the total entries in register 17A and the Control Unit perfectly tallied, indicating that no such case of non-activation of the ballot button had been reported from the said polling station… In consideration of the aforesaid, the narrative in the video recording is totally rejected,” according to a statement released by the ECI.

TNM spoke to three other voters at St Anne’s who cast their votes from the same booth in the morning and all of them confirmed that the VVPAT machine did display the slip and make the beep sound. 

A Congress team led by Shanti Nagar MLA NA Haris also visited the St Anne’s school and told TNM that there was no discrepancy and that what transpired with the voter could have been a stray incident.

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