The Election Commission of India (ECI) has doubled down on deleting duplicate entries in the electoral roll and removed or corrected nearly 10 million of them over the last seven months, officials familiar with the matter said.
Voter identity cards have been corrected through the elimination of demographically or photographically similar entries. The removal of duplicate entries has been a major focus for ECI as it seeks to create a comprehensive digital database of electors.
ECI allowed voluntary linking of Aadhaar with voter identity cards from August 1 to make the process easier. The Opposition has criticised the move saying it will allow demographic mapping of voters and also raised concerns regarding data privacy.
The officials said 1,191,191 demographically similar entries were identified and 927,853 of them were eliminated. "DSE [demographically similar entries] computation is carried out by CEOs [chief electoral officers] of respective states...," said an official, requesting anonymity.
Verifications are subsequently done at the booth level . ECI does not suo motu delete any entries, the official said.
ECI identified 31,889,422 similar photographic entries and deleted 9,800,412. "PSE [photographically similar entries] computation was carried out in two phases. In first phase, PSE for five poll going states were computed...before draft publication in 2022. In second phase, PSE for remaining 32 states were computed... ," the official said.
"Total PSE identified were 3.18 crores [ over 31 million across both phases] and 98,00,412 electors were deleted.... Around 20 lakhs [two million] ...corrections were also processed..."
A second official said the corrections in the electoral roll will happen at a greater pace with the voluntary Aadhaar linking. There are currently nearly 940 million voters registered in the country.