The Election Commission has on Wednesday unveiled the final voter turnout recorded in Tamil Nadu in the single-phase assembly poll that held on Tuesday. The report from the commission has revealed that Chennai had the lowest voter turnout while the newly demarcated Kallakurichi district had recorded the highest voter turnout. It was expected that the state would record around 75% of polling, but eventually, Tamil Nadu has ended up recording around 72%.
The current assembly in Tamil Nadu marks its deadline in May to the state had cast its vote on Tuesday to elect the new government. The polling began at 7 am and came to an end at 7 pm and the polling drive has covered both the general public and COVID-19 patients. The Election Commission has installed over 88,000 polling stations across the state. Tamil Nadu had 6.26 crore voters and a larger part of the populace had performed their democratic duty to elect representatives for the 234 assembly seats with around 4000 candidates on the ballots. While the state had seen a potential rise in the voter turnout till 5 pm, which stirred the assumption that the state would record 75% of voter turnout, there was a decline in the last two hours of the voting.
Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo has on Wednesday said that the state has recorded 72.78% voter turnout in the assembly election. Kallakurichi district, which is less than two years old, has recorded the highest voter turnout in the state with 78% followed by Namakkal (79.72%), Salem (79.22%), and Ariyalur (77.88%). While these districts took the voter turnout past 70%, Chennai, which is the capital of Tamil Nadu, has recorded the lowest voter turnout in the state as it has ended up with 59.4% of polling.
Sahoo has also released the turnout under the category of the constituency and he said that the Palacode assembly constituency in Dharmapuri district has recorded the highest voter turnout in the state with 87.33%. Tamil Nadu Higher Education Minister KP Anbalagan had contested from Palacode and after Palacode, Kulithalai recorded the second highest with 86.15%, and Edappadi, the constituency of Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami, recorded 85.6%.
Almost all urban and semi-urban regions have recorded low polling. Chengalpet district, which covers many outlying areas of Chennai city, recorded the second-lowest turnout of 62.77%, followed by Tirunelveli (65.16%), Coimbatore (66.98%), Ramanathapuram (67.16%), and Tirupur (67.48%). The reports say that the polling in 234 seats in the state went off peacefully apart from some minor quarrels among cadres and technical glitches in electronic voting machines in some parts of the state. While the state had recorded around 63% of voter turnout by 5 pm on Tuesday, it was expected that it will breach 75%. However, it ended up recording 72.78%, lowest than the past two preceding assembly polls.
Tamil Nadu recorded 77.8% and 74.81% voter turnout in 2011 and 2016 assembly polls respectively and a decline in the turnout in the current election has been attributed to peak summer and the rise in COVID-19 cases. The visuals from across the state had shown that a large number of first-time voters had cast their votes. Several celebrities and political leaders had cast their votes at their respective constituencies and appealed to the voters to cast their votes.
The polling had begun at 7 am and lasted till 7 pm. The Election Commission has initially designated the last one hour between 6 pm to 7 pm for the COVID-19 patients and Sahoo had later clarified that along with the Corona patients, the common people can also cast their votes in the final hour of the polling. Some of the political leaders in the state including DMK MP Kanimozhi and ADMK leader Madhusudanan had cast their votes with the PPE kits as they had tested positive for the COVID-19 viral infection.
Tamil Nadu has witnessed five fronts in the race to the reign - the ruling ADMK alliance, opposition DMK alliance, Kamal Haasan-Sarathkumar- IJK, AMMK - DMDK, and Seeman's Naam Tamilar Katchi, which contested independently. As the polling was over on Tuesday, the Electronic Voting Machines have been kept under tight security parameters, under the observation of the Election Commission. The votes will be counted on May 2, during which the results will be announced.