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Voter turnout 70%, figures likely to increase

New Delhi [India], May 12 : The Election Commission on Saturday noted that so far, the voter turnout is 70 percent, compared to 71.4 percent in 2013 elections in Karnataka.

Addressing a press conference here, Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha claimed that the figure is likely to increase, as polling is still underway in some areas.

"Except few polling stations, where people are still standing in line to vote, polling has been completed in almost all polling stations. As of now, the total turnout figure received is 70 percent. However, we expect this number to increase, and hope it surpasses that of the previous elections," he said.

While urban voting percentage remained significantly lower than that of rural areas, Sinha stated that the final figure would be released shortly, post completion of the voting process in all constituencies.
In a bid to curb the distribution of cash, liquor and other items to swing electoral process, the EC, in the run-up to the elections, had deployed three flying squads in every constituency, 154 general observers, 136 expenditure observers, 34 police observers, 10,000 micro observers, 3.2 lakh polling personnel and members of the Central police forces in all polling stations.

As per available data, the EC said an 'alarming' Rs.186 crores worth of cash, liquor and other items had been seized from the state as of today, which, it said, was more than eight times the seizures made in the last assembly election.

However, the election-governing body noted that a marginal percentage of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) and Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) failures were reported.

"Voting was suspended in polling station Number 2 of Hebbal constituency, as the machine there was malfunctioning due to a short circuit. Apart from this, the majority of EVMs and VVPATs functioned well across the state," said Sinha.

The Assembly polls, which began at 7 a.m. at 58,546 polling stations earlier in the day, was scheduled to conclude at 6 p.m.

A total of 2,654 candidates, including 216 women candidates were in the fray for Assembly Elections this year.

While Belagavi district had the highest number of voters (37,23,585), Kodagu district had the lowest voter share (4,33,846).

The election in two constituencies, Jayanagar and Rajarajeshwari Nagar, both in Bengaluru was postponed earlier.

In Jayanagar, the polling was also deferred due to the death of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate, B N Vijay Kumar, on May 4.

In Rajarajeshwari Nagar, the polling was postponed after a bundle of fake voter identity cards was found from a flat in Bengaluru's Jalahalli locality by the EC officials on May 8.

The EC ordered re-polling in Karnataka's Hebbal assembly constituency's polling station Number 2 as the polling was stopped earlier in the day due to an EVM failure.

As per the EC, a total of 600 pink polling stations were set up across the state, which was completely managed by women. Meanwhile, wheelchairs were also made available in some stations, with youth volunteers engaged for the assistance of differently-abled voters.

Tight security arrangements were made to ensure smooth and peaceful single-phase polling in 222 constituencies, including 36 reserved for the Scheduled Castes (SC) and 15 for the Scheduled Tribes (ST) and 26 in Bengaluru.

The counting of votes and announcement of results will take place on May 15.
In Rajarajeswari Nagar constituency, polling is scheduled for May 28, while counting of votes will take place on May 31.

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