But for a few stray incidents polling was smooth in most of the 290 booths and the voter turnout was high for the Yercaud (Reserved) constituency.
Polling started at 8 am and a sizeable percentage of voters turned up in the early hours. Between 8 and 10 am the constituency registered 18 per cent polling. By noon the overall polling percentage stood at 43 per cent. The hilly areas of Yercaud and Karumandurai including the foothill villages, polled 38 and 40 per cent respectively during this time.
Booths in Aythoiyapattinam block registered 38 to 40 per cent voters and booths in Valapadi polled 40 to 45 per cent. Female and male turnout was more or less the same. By 2 pm 67 per cent votes were polled and 86 per cent by 4 pm. By 5 pm voters’ turnout had reached 90 per cent. No incidents of booth capturing or rigging have been reported.
The constituency polled an overall 85.25 per cent in the 2011 elections as against Edappadi which clocked 89 per cent. Even at 5 pm, when voting was supposed to end, there were long queues of people waiting to cast their votes outside most booths and tokens were issued to those who joined the queue by 5 pm. The electronic voting machine in booth no 64 at Veeranam developed a snag and the buttons did not function properly. Polling was stopped for a few minutes. Officials fixed the snag and polling resumed.
Returning officer T Sabapathy received several anonymous calls and calls from political parties about violations. At Masinaikenpatti booth no 217 some party men allegedly distributed clothes and cash to voters. He instructed the flying squad to look into the matter. At Kootamutal near Vellkadai, a tribal village, DMK men complained that the ruling party accompanied voters to booths. A mobile phone video of the incident was circulated widely. In a similar incident at Korathupatti booth no 63 the DMK men stopped a person from the ruling party from transporting voters on his bike. The man dropped the bike, his mobile phone and fled. These were handed over to the police.
The online polling station monitoring system came in handy for officials to spot troubles and give instructions to fix them from the Collectorate. The election media centre at the Collectorate was provided with a screen and a separate room. A screen was provided for political parties so that they could alert officials in case they spotted any malpractice. Polling booth no 180 at Valapadi was left empty for a long time after 1.30 pm. There were no voters, booth agents or polling officials. The officials communicated with the booth officials over the phone and found that since there were only seven voters at that time, the agents and polling staff had gone for lunch. The polling officers were instructed not to take any break when polling was on and to have lunch / refreshments in turn.