Photo: Manorama

Lok Sabha Polls 2024: Kerala records low voter turnout of 70.8% after almost 12 hours of polling

Thiruvananthapuram: Amidst heightened political fervour and anticipation surrounding the general elections for the 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala, the electoral process wrapped up on April 26 with a noticeable decline in voter turnout to 70.04%. Data reveals a substantial decrease in voter turnout, plummeting from the 77.84 per cent polling rate recorded during the 2019 elections to 70.8 per cent, marking a reduction of 7.04 percentage points. 

Pathanamthitta witnessed the most substantial decline, with a 10.95 per cent decrease in elector participation. Several factors including the escalating temperature, which soared above 40 degrees Celsius, have contributed to the lower turnout

The state began voting at 7 am to decide the fate of 194 contestants in the fray for the Lok Sabha elections. Voting commenced after mock polls were held in the presence of representatives of political parties. Voter turnout in Kerala witnessed a spike past 5 pm as a large number of voters turned up close to the closing time of 6 pm. Polling officials issued tokens to those who were in the line and voting went past 10 pm at several booths, especially in north Kerala.

BJP candidate from Thrissur Suresh Gopi awaits to cast his vote. Photo: Manorama

Barring sporadic instances of bogus voting and breakdowns of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), resulting in delaying the polling process in the affected booths, the election has largely been incident-free. However, nine voters died during the day. The deaths happened in Palakkad, Alappuzha, Malappuram and Kozhikode. 

Ernakulam MP Hibi Eden and wife after casting their votes on April 26, 2024. Photo: Manorama

Of the 2,77,49,159 voters in Kerala, 1,43,33,499 are women while there are more than 5 lakh first-time voters. Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sanjay Kaul said in a statement: "To ensure a free and transparent election, a webcasting system has been put in place for live monitoring of all booths in eight districts, namely Kasaragod, Kannur, Wayanad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Palakkad, Thrissur and Thiruvananthapuram. In the remaining six districts, 75 per cent of the booths will be monitored by this system."

Alappuzha MP AM Ariff waits at polling booth to vote. Photo: Manorama

The webcasting facility has been introduced to ensure transparent elections by preventing booth grabbing, distribution of money and fake voting, according to the statement. The visuals would be monitored live in the control rooms set up in the offices of the CEO and the Returning Officers of the 20 Lok Sabha seats, it said.

A total of 30,238 EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) have been readied. Besides, 63,100 bottles of ink, to mark the fingers of the voters to prevent fraudulent voting, will be used. Click here for a step-by-step guide on how to cast your vote.

Panniyan Ravindran | (Photo: Manorama)
LDF's Thiruvananthapuram candidate Panniyan Ravindran waits in queue at the Kannur Poozhathi Govt UP School booth to vote. Photo: Sameer A Hameed/Manorama

The 20 constituencies in Kerala are Thiruvananthapuram, Attingal, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Mavelikkara, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Idukki, Ernakulam, Chalakudy, Thrissur, Alathur, Palakkad, Ponnani, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Vadakara, Kozhikode and Kannur. Read: A peek at Kerala's 20 constituencies and major candidates

People queue up to vote in front of polling booth at Chelannur High School, Kozhikode. Photo: Manorama

Kottayam constituency boasts the highest number of candidates at 14, while Alathur has the fewest at five. Notably, there are 13 candidates in Kozhikode and 12 each in Kollam and Kannur. Of the total 194 candidates, 169 are men and 25 are women. The Vadakara constituency stands out with the highest number of female candidates, at four.

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