Poll officers: 'We must digitalise the electoral list. This process takes ages and people get angry with us'
The process of checking list needs to be simplified as it takes time to locate a person's credentials on the list. Often, if a poll officer can't find a name, a potential voter flares up.
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The poll officers spread on duty across our huge electoral landscape are indeed nothing less than information officers. Some of them are teachers, working in administration or other government jobs.
'Why doesn't the govt link the Aadhaar card to the voter ID?' (Source: Author)
Why hasn't this work been digitalised?
The job of a poll officer is going through lists is to ascertain whether the person’s name is there in the voting list or not. It sounds easy but in fact, it's not simple work.
Shweta Chaudhary, poll officer, said: “Since morning, people have been coming to the polling station and they have been asking us which room they need to go to — but we need to see if their names are on the list first or not.”
Party workers do stand outside the poll booths, with lists of voters, but they are not allowed to come inside the booth area. This puts enormous responsibility on every poll worker.
“Why doesn’t the government digitalise this process? It’s so hard to go through so many papers, check the names of voters individually. Ideally, the voter card should be linked to the Aadhaar card. If we are given tabs, then we will be able to know at ease who is the right voter and whether their names are on the list or not,” said Jitender Kumar, poll officer who works in the Noida administration.
Two-three minutes are spent on each and every query. (Photo: Author)
Training does help — but too many people to handle!
Every poll worker is given special training before they can go out on duty.
Urvashi, a teacher, says: “The training is fine — but the number of people who come at one booth is enormous. If the digitalisation of electoral tickets takes place, this will surely save our time.”
Most of the people who come to the temporarily put up help desk ask if their names are on the list or not.
“Ideally, this check-list should be done before the polls take place, so that there is less chaos at the polling booth. Sometimes, when people can’t find their names in the list, their tempers flare up. We only tell them to calm down. The government should seriously look into how they can make this process of electoral checking easier. It easily takes two-three minutes going through a person's credentials in the electoral list,” said Guddi, a poll worker sitting under a tree as the day's heat blazes around her.