Lok Sabha Elections: False claims on election procedures surge on Whatsapp amid election preparations 

Prohibitory orders in place in Pimpri Chinchwad for Lok Sabha elections in Shirur and Maval Constituencies

Prohibitory orders in place in Pimpri Chinchwad for Lok Sabha elections in Shirur and Maval Constituencies

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A group of fact checkers have thoroughly verified these claims being made in a message going viral on Whatsapp. The claims talk about challenged vote and tender vote with regards to election procedures.

19 April 2024

By Payoshi Bisht

A message is being circulated on Whatsapp containing false and fictitious claims with regards to the process of elections and voting in India. The two main topics the message addresses are, “challenge vote” and “tender vote”. 

Here is a screenshot of the viral message:

When such messages are circulated on social media, they are usually run through a fact-checking process to verify their authenticity. When each of these points were broken down, fact-checkers provided clarification for the same. 

Claim 1: “When you reach the polling booth and find that your name is not in the voter list, just show your Aadhaar Card or Voter ID and ask for “challenge vote” under Section 49A and cast your vote.” 

Fact Check: The concept of “challenge vote” has been explained in the wrong context. The correct usage of the term is “challenged vote” and when this situation occurs, the pling officials are required to challenge the voter’s identity and organise an enquiry. There is no relationship between challenging and the voter’s credentials. 

Secondly, as per Sheyphali Sharan, spokesperson of the Election Commission of India (ECI), a person whose name is not registered in the voter’s list simply cannot vote. 

Claim 2: “If you find that somebody has already cast your vote, then ask for “tender vote” and cast your vote.”

Fact Check:  This statement holds true under Section 42 of Conduction of Election Rules as per the confirmation given by the ECI spokesperson. 

If a person represents themself as a voter after someone has already voted under the same name, then after satisfactorily answering questions about their details, they may be allowed to cast a vote under their name. A ballot paper will be marked in their name. The person has to sign against their name in the list pertaining to Form 15. A tendered ballot paper is the same as other ballot papers, except that it is kept serially last in the bundle. 

Claim 3: If any polling booth records more than 14 percent of tendered ballot voting, then re-polling will be conducted in the area. 

Fact Check: This is false information as tendered ballots are only considered in the counting of votes if they can be responsible for changing the result, that is when the margin of the victory is less than the tendered votes. There is no mention of re-polling as such in the ECI handbook nor is there any specified percentage of tendered ballot votes. 

Therefore, two out of three of these claims made in the viral message are deemed false by fact-checking authorities.