Chennai, May 16: Tamil Nadu recorded a voter turnout of a little over 69 per cent in Assembly elections at the end of 5 PM as rural voters seemed more enthusiastic than their city counterparts in exercising their franchise, going by available statistics.
As many as 69.19 per cent of voters in 232 Assembly segments had cast their votes by 5 PM, electoral authorities said even as there was a dip in the pace of polling after 3 PM.
"Voting pace came down after 3 PM and it was not as high as it was in the morning," Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Lakhoni told reporters.
He was responding to a query on polling percentage showing an increase of just around six per cent between 3 PM (63.70) and 5 PM, despite EC's massive efforts to ensure high voter turnout by way of its #Mission100percent campaign.
Rural segments in Dharmapuri such as Pennagaram put up a good show, Lakhoni said, adding Chennai district seemed to be heading towards the lowest polling percentage in the current hustings.
The Harbor constituency here polled just around 53 per cent whereas Pennagaram in Dharmapuri around 85 per cent till 5 PM, he said. "This (voting percentage) is the hard fact. We will have to analyse the reasons behind it," he said.
However, the final voting percentage will be known only at around 8 PM, he said. Polling had been largely peaceful except for stray incidents, he said. For instance, at Muthugulathur in Ramanathapuram, a man tried to damage an EVM in a fit of rage finding his name missing from voters' list but the machine suffered no damage.
The man was arrested, Lakhoni said. In Madurai central constituency, the chief polling officer in a booth was replaced after she allegedly misled a visually-challenged voter to vote for a person not of his choice.
Polling came to a close at 6 PM in most of the constituencies even as voters who came before the cut-off time were allowed to vote, officials said. The process of safely moving EVMs to respective strong rooms is underway.
They will be opened for the ballots to be counted on Thursday. Elections in Aravakurichi and Thanjavur, deferred following allegations of bribing of voters, will be held on May 23 and counting of votes on May 25.