Monday 14 February 2022

Names In The Voters List

Today, our relative and neighbor shared an important document with me via WhatsApp.

He asked to check if my family’s names were there in the “Directory” – actually the “Voters' list” pertaining to our ward & locality.


The document was 257 pages and I felt it would be pretty challenging to fish out our names.

Many thoughts crossed my mind and I learned some lessons too in my quest to search.


First things first.

I first thought- Is this the correct list?

Assuming that our relative, who has political affiliation, knows better and thus he has shared, I confidently started searching in the “Names” column.

My strategy was- Search for “Sabat” in the list.

There are a few surnames ending with “t” in Odia language viz. Rout, Mohanty…

The search was on for “Sabat”.


As I scrolled pages after pages, I realized that so many people are there in my locality, and hence in the list.

I admired the neat work of all our Govt officials and teachers, who had sincerely undertaken the Census study and enumeration, and had painstakingly documented particulars.


I felt technically challenged while handling the document in my mobile phone. I did not know how to use Control+F- that is used to find something in Word file while using the computer.

It came to my mind- Had I known how to find, searching would have been easy and I would not have to go through the grind!

Names were listed along with relation and age and also the Voter Id Card details. There were 9 columns in all! There is so much data about us in the public space! 

They have so much info about us!

Anyone can know and maybe, misuse. Anything is possible in the information age.

To check the existence of our names in the voter’s list, it is safer and better to give a missed call and get an automated response thereby maintaining privacy. We can also search our details online on the dedicated website.

But, here, the entire document is at fingertips! We know who all stay in which home. But, it is true that many children are staying in other cities; but have their names in the voter’s lists of their hometowns. Not everyone visits home simply for Election Day, just so that they can vote.


If system is not in place, fraud elements ensure the high probability of dummy people being set up to cast vote in another’s name. In case someone does not turn up, is she/he aware if a similar aged person has voted by impersonating them? With a country as vast as our India and with such a huge population, how can we ensure probity and ethics?


Voting happens and in some instances in the past, genuine voters have turned up to find that votes had already been cast in their names! I remember a story that I had heard- A man visited the voter’s booth and found that the female’s name right after his name had been marked, which meant that she had already come & cast her vote. He asked the officials manning the booth about that lady. They said that she had visited an hour ago. The man expressed his sadness that why did he have to arrive late at the venue? He could have met his dead wife had he come early!


I was still searching the names list. So many minutes had ticked by.

My hope was still alive that our names would be there somewhere- if not at the beginning or the middle, perhaps towards the end of the list? The hope is always there.

Plus, there should be at least three names with the same surname together- my father’s, sister’s, and mine.

I was not sure if my brother’s and sister-in-law’s name would be there. They stayed in another city. In case they were registered, which in all probability they were, their names too would be in the same list. That would make it five names together.


I kept on scrolling.

Had I perhaps missed our names?

I remembered the story of a man who was looking for a pearl. He had been punished and out of all the oysters that lay on the seashore, just one had the pearl. The task given to him was to locate that lone precious pearl. He was at work for many days. Each time he would open an oyster’s shell and when he did not find anything, he would toss the empty oyster back to the sea. This continued for thousands of oysters.

Then, he finally came across the oyster that had the pearl.

He opened the shell, he realized it was the pearl he was to search and hand over.

His quest should have been over then.

But, as he was so habituated of throwing oysters, he simply threw it! Reflex action triumphed instead of his senses.

I reminded myself- Be aware, be present.

Sometimes our very actions can act against what we have set out to work for!


I increased the font size. I was reminded of the title of a book- “Read Better, Read Faster!”

Last few pages remained. The hope diminished when I reached the end of the Directory.

The initial question still remained- Is the Directory of our ward number?

How can we find something anywhere? Something can be found somewhere – where it truly belongs. Sometimes, we belong, but still our names are missed- either knowingly or unknowingly. Accidents can happen. But, sometimes, planned exclusions also happen. I ruled out the latter in this case.

Either there had been an unintentional miss or this was not our ward number.

I wondered- What is our ward number? I had no clue!

I racked my brain for answers; then remembered that, during each election time, candidates of different political parties gave us slips of our names and booth number with the address of where we had to go to cast our vote. Such slips also had additional info- the name of their party’s electoral candidate along with the symbol of their political party!

After I reached the end, I again scrolled up to the top of the document.

That’s when I saw the other names of columns. Looking for the house number (instead of the individual’s name/surname) would have been better and easier and perhaps taken less time to locate!

A quick scan and I now know- our house number is not in list even though we stay in that locality. I can see the house-numbers of other neighbouring houses along with familiar names- of neighbours and friends. There has been a miss, unless there is a Part-2 of the Directory that is coming up. Need to check!

In case there isn’t a Part-2 and this is the one and only one Directory for our ward, we need to get our names included.

I am reminded of a famous dialogue of movie-star Shah Rukh Khan from the Hindi film- “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge”-

“Bade bade deshon mein, aisi chhoti chhoti baatein hoti rehti hain!”

"Such small incidents happen in big countries!"

Have you checked whether your name is in the Voters' List?


  1. I live in Calufornia, the most liberal state. The voter list is so messed up - any one can walk in and vote. No ID asked. Even non citizens and illegal immigrants vote.


Your words mean a lot to me.

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