The Election Commission on Saturday released the absolute number of votes cast in each parliamentary constituency during the first five phases of the Lok Sabha elections.

While the poll regulator had previously released the final voter turnout percentages for all five phases, it had not specified the actual number of electors who cast their ballots in each constituency.

On Saturday, it said that in the first phase of elections held on April 19, over 11 crore (11,00,52,103) citizens in 21 states cast their votes. In the second phase held on April 26 in the 13 states and Union territories, the number was 10.58 crore (10,58,30,572).

A total of 11.32 crore (11,32,34,676) citizens cast their votes in the third phase on May 7 in 11 states and Union territories. In the fourth phase, 12.24 crore (12,24,69,319) votes were cast in ten states and Union territories. In the fifth phase, 5.57 crore (5,57,10,618) voters in eight states and Union territories cast their votes.

The data was released a day after the Supreme Court declined to pass interim directions to the Election Commission to publicly release the booth-wise absolute number of voters amid the general elections. The court had verbally observed that a “hands-off” approach was needed while the election process was underway.

The observations came on a petition by the non-governmental organisation Association for Democratic Reforms.

The organisation was seeking directions to the Election Commission to immediately release data from Form 17C, which contains a record of votes recorded in an Electronic Voting Machine. The plea was filed as there was a delay in publishing this data after the first two phases of polling.

The plea demanded that the poll panel disclose authenticated records of voter turnout by uploading scanned legible copies of Form 17C of all polling stations after each phase of polling in the General Elections 2024 on the Election Commission’s website.

However, the poll regulator had told the court on Wednesday, that it has no legal mandate to publish Form 17C and that the document could only be given to candidates or their agents.

On Saturday, the Election Commission said it felt “duly strengthened by the Supreme Court’s observations and verdict on the process of release of turnout data”.

“This brings upon the Commission, a higher responsibility to serve the cause of electoral democracy with undeterred resolution,” it said.

The poll body also stated that it had noted a “pattern of false narratives and mischievous design to vitiate electoral process”. It added that “nobody can change data of votes polled”, which is shared with polling agents of all candidates through Form 17C on the day of voting.

It also said that, the voter turnout data was “always available with candidates and 24x7 on Voter Turnout App for citizens.”

Also read: Why is the Election Commission not releasing voter turnout data in absolute numbers?