Data entry, the process of entering textual information from print or audio sources into documents, spreadsheets and databases, would seem like a simple affair. However, even the slightest error can have disastrous consequences and can even rob you of your identity. This is happening with erroneous entries in electoral databases which are creating innumerable issues for voters as well as the polling machinery.
There are many recent instances of flaws in voting system due to wrong data entry. According to a recent report in The Times of India, some voters in the city of Ahmedabad found their age was wrongly recorded in the Election Commission’s (EC) database. A registered voter who was 28 years old found his age entered as ‘106 years’. A 38-year-old woman was listed as a senior citizen age 103! Though they didn’t look that old, these people had a tough time convincing the polling officer of their age and identity.
In the U.S., a 2012 report found that 1.8 million dead people were listed as active voters. Further, about 2.8 million people had active registrations in more than one state. A recent report points out similar flaws in voter registration records in North Carolina. Eighty-one of the registered voters in 2012 had died before the election, but they are recorded as having voted. Moreover, 765 registered voters appear to have cast ballots in two states. These voters have matching information on their first names, last names, birthdates, and last four digits of their Social Security numbers in both states.
In addition to wasting taxpayer dollars, such errors in data entry have a negative impact on voter confidence and result in party-related disputes on the reliability of the elections. People who are eligible to vote cannot vote because of errors in registration. This can lead to the loss of even millions of votes. Bad records could happen intentionally or accidentally, and even it they do not lead to fraud, they could give an impression fraud.
Such errors can be avoided if data entry is done by professionals. Established data entry companies have multi-level quality checks in place to ensure this.