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The Wire changes their voter turnout report after fake news was caught, comes up with hilarious update claiming 11 crore is less than 9 crore

The updated report by Wire says, 9,13,79,409 electors cast their votes in the first phase of 2019 polls, while 11,00,52,103 votes were cast in the first phase of 2024 polls, concluding "This implies a dip of 1.86 (1,86,72,694) votes."

On 26th May, OpIndia exposed how The Wire used misleading data to claim that there was a dip of 19.4 crore voters in the first five phases of polling in Lok Sabha Elections 2024 compared to the 2019 polls. The Wire used the number of total registered voters for the constituencies that went to poll in the first 5 phases in 2019 Lok Sabha elections with actual voter turnout for the first 5 phases in the ongoing general elections. As a result, Wire claimed 70 crore votes were polled in the first 5 phases in 2019, and compared to 50.7 crore votes polled in the first 5 phases of the 2024 elections. But the fact is, actually 48.5 crore voters voted in the first 5 phases in last elections. Wire compared total voters in 2019 with actual votes in 2024 to arrive at the wrong conclusion that voter turnout has gone down to a massive extent.

Following the lie was exposed, The Wire quickly changed the article and claimed there was a dip of 1.8 crore voters in the first phase of the General Elections. The entire article has been changed, including the URL, with a note added below that it used total eligible voters for 2019 to arrive at the wrong conclusion. It now compares only the 1st phase of the elections, when voting for 6 phases has already been concluded, and claims that there is a dip in voter turnout for phase 1, which is also a completely wrong conclusion.

Note added below the report

In many instances, Mathematics and Journalism don’t mix well. Especially when The Wire is involved, it’s wise not to attribute errors to stupidity when they can be adequately explained by malice. This could very well be a deliberate mathematical error intended to spread misinformation about ’20 crore fewer votes.’ The goal might be to prime people to believe that when the ECI publishes the final data, showing a similar or higher voter turnout in 2024 compared to 2019, the conclusion will be that “20 crore fake votes were added by the ECI.” This narrative seems to be gaining traction now that the ‘EVM hacked’ story isn’t resonating.

Source: The Wire.

Now coming to the numbers, the Wire made a basic arithmatical error. Here is how they calculated the dip. In the first phase of the 2019 elections, 9,13,79,409 votes were cast. Compared to that, in the 2024 elections, 11,00,52,103 votes were polled. This clearly shows that the number of votes polled in phase 1 has increased, but Wire claims the number has gone down.

The Wire report now says, “This implies a dip of 1.86 (1,86,72,694) votes.” Yes, they said 1.86 votes with 1,86,72,694 in parentheses.

Only Wire can tell how the number 9 crore can go down to become 11 crore.

It seems they simply deducted the numbers of 2024 from the numbers of 2019 resulting in -1,86,72,694. As the number was in negative, the author of the article apparently assumed there was a “dip”. In reality, it was the rise of 1.86 crore voters in the first phase. Probably the author was not paying attention when basic subtraction was taught in primary school.

As The Wire may again pull down the article, here is the screenshot of the same.

Source: The Wire

It is notable that in phase 1 of the 2019 polls, there were 91 seats, while 102 seats were included in the first phase of the current elections. Therefore, even though the number of votes have gone up, it may not indicate an increase in voter turnout.

In any case, comparing phase-wise voter turnout in different general elections is a completely meaningless exercise. This is because the same constituencies do not go for polling in the same phases every election. For elections, elections for all 25 seats in Andhra Pradesh took place in the first phase in 2019, but during the current elections, the votes in the 25 seats took place in the 4th phase. All constituencies in Tamil Nadu voted in 1st phase in current polls, but voting took place in the same constituencies in the 2nd phase last time. This means, not only the number of seats, but the composition of seats are also completely different in each phase in different elections. Moreover, even the number of phases is also different if other general elections are also included.

If The Wire wanted to compare the data, they should have done what OpIndia did. Download data from the ECI website and compare the polling data of all constituencies of the first phase of the 2024 Elections to the constituencies irrespective of the phase in which polling took place in 2019. Otherwise, the comparison is irrelevant the same constituencies are different. Even this comparison will not be accurate for seats in Jammu and Kashmir and Assam, where delimitation took place recently, and constituency boundaries have changed.

In 2019, if we compare the constituencies and not phases, there were 15,75,36,275 eligible voters out of which 11,00,90,908 cast their vote. In 2024, there were 16,63,86,344 eligible voters and 11,00,52,103 cast their votes. While there were 88,50,069 more voters in Phase 1,38,805 fewer voters turned up to vote. But there is a catch. In 2019, voting in Outer Manipur was done in a single phase but in 2024, it was done in two phases.

Data can be confirmed from ECI’s press release. If we combine the numbers from both passes for Outer Manipur, the numbers will change. In the first phase, 5,53,078 eligible voters were there in Outer Manipur out of which 3,80,688 cast votes. In the second phase, there were 4,84,949 out of which 4,12,737 cast their vote. If we combine these numbers, there were 10,38,027 eligible voters out of which 7,93,425 cast their vote. If we recalculate, considering if Outer Manipur polling was done in a single phase, the total eligible voters would be 16,68,71,293 out of which 11,04,64,840 cast their vote. If we subtract the total number of votes cast in 2024 from 2019, it comes to a rise of 4,12,737 votes.

However, when The Wire can’t properly subtract a number from another, expecting them to conduct such a deep analysis will be too much.

In any case, The Wire failed to give the real picture of the voter turnout in Phase 1. OpIndia’s analysis of the data can be checked in case we consider Outer Manipur from Phase here and if we consider Outer Manipur from both phases here.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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B.Sc. Multimedia, a journalist by profession.

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