Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Lok Sabha polls | Voter turnout reduced by at least two percentage points in 30 constituencies in T.N.

T.N. recorded a lower polling percentage in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, compared to the 2019 elections. A scene at the Virudhunagar Lok Sabha constituency on polling day, Friday, April 19, 2024

T.N. recorded a lower polling percentage in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, compared to the 2019 elections. A scene at the Virudhunagar Lok Sabha constituency on polling day, Friday, April 19, 2024
| Photo Credit: MOORTHY G

Nearly 30 Lok Sabha constituencies in Tamil Nadu recorded a dip of at least two percentage points in voter turnout in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, compared to the previous general elections in the State.

According to data provided by the Election Commission (EC) late on Friday, April 19, 2024, 69.46% of the electorate came out to exercise their franchise, to elect 39 representatives from Tamil Nadu for the 18th Lok Sabha. Despite several awareness programmes organised by the EC and non-governmental organisations, the polling percentage this time is relatively low: voter turnout was 72.47% in 2019; 73.74% in 2014 and 73.02% in the 2009 elections.

An analysis of polling percentages in the 2019 and 2024 Lok Sabha polls shows that there is only a marginal change of nearly one percentage point, either an increase or a decrease, in seven Lok Sabha constituencies. There is a two percentage point increase in voter turnout in the Vellore Lok Sabha seat, where polling was held three months after the original schedule in 2019, due to the alleged excess use of money power.

The Dharmapuri constituency, which topped the polling percentage this election, has witnessed a more than 80% voter turnout for the third consecutive time during a general election.

However, nearly 30 Lok Sabha constituencies recorded at least a two percentage point reduction in voter turnout this time around, compared to 2019. All the Lok Sabha constituencies in the Cauvery delta and southern districts witnessed lower voter turnouts in terms of percentage points.

The Thoothukudi constituency recorded the maximum reduction of nearly 9.5 percentage points compared to the previous election. Other Lok Sabha seats that witnessed around five percentage points reductions include Sivaganga, Theni, Nagapattinam (SC) and Chennai Central.

According to former Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami, duplication of names in the electoral rolls could have played a considerable role in the reduction of polling percentage. “Attempts were taken by the Election Commission before the polls in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, more than a decade ago, to verify the voter list using various conventional methodologies. But now, the Election Commission has the Aadhaar as a common authentic source to verify the electoral rolls, provided the voters link their Aadhaar number with their voter ID.”

Mr. Gopalaswami also observed that conducting polls on Mondays and Fridays in metropolitan cities and the scorching heat could have had an impact on voter turnout. “The ideal duration to conduct polling would be between the last week of February and the first week of April,” he said,

Asked whether the reduction in voting was indicative of the absence of anti-incumbency, Mr. Gopalaswami said: “That is just speculation and cannot be ascertained with minimal changes in polling percentages.”

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