Malfunction in the electronic voting machine at Dr Kalmadi Shamrao school, Prabhat Road stalls voting
The electronic voting machine at Room No 4 of centre no 263 at Dr Kalmadi Shamrao High School on Prabhat Road was yesterday replaced due to a malfunction. The voting started at 7.15 am, and at around 7.50 am, it was observed that no matter what button the voter pressed, their votes were going into the count of the Congress party. This issue came to light when 28 voters had cast their votes.
Disappointed: Angry voters argue with cops.
Citizens Bimba Nagarmath first came to know of the glitch. With the intervention of local corporator Madhuri Sahasrabuddhe, the machine was replaced after around one and half hours, following a complaint.
Sector officer Gyanaba Zagade reiterated, “We verified the glitch and found that the complaint was genuine, so we replaced the machine.” He, however, rejected the possibility of recasting of the 28 votes. “If a situation arises wherein the votes of these 28 voters are a crucial deciding factor, we will take a printout and find out who they have voted for actually.”
The polling booth remained out of order for this time. Many including senior citizens were seen waiting in a queue which was far stretching, biding time for their turn. Others who could not afford to wait – due to time or health concerns - returned home without voting. Those waiting complained of suffocation due to the narrow passages and the heat.
“Many senior citizens suffering from blood pressure and diabetes had to wait here for almost two hours till the machine got repaired. Many lost patience and went home. They are unlikely to come back,” Sahasrabuddhe said. A demand to relax time limits and increase the number of machines was turned down by the sector officer. Sources said it was surprising that after a trial run for 60 votes, the machine malfunctioned.
Narayan Omase, head of the centre, said, “We had conducted a trial poll of 60 votes a night before. In the morning, in the presence of all-party representatives, we conducted a mock poll of 50 votes and everything was fine. The problem was encountered at 7.49 am. So we informed our seniors and within 10 minutes, the sector officer came to the booth. We again verified the error, and after making sure, replaced the machine.
When the news spread, those who had cast their votes got angry and returned to the polling booth to demand another go, but to no avail. Sushama Kibe (65) came back along with her daughter Shilpa to cast the ballot again but had to return without any success.