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Tallying of VVPAT with EVMs

  • 08 Jan 2019
  • 3 min read

The Supreme Court has directed the Election Commission to respond to a plea that the counts from Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) units should be cross-verified in at least 30% randomly chosen polling stations in each Assembly and Lok Sabha constituency.

  • At present only 10% of the VVPAT and vote counts from EVMs are cross verified.
  • Apart from increasing the mandatory tallying of VVPAT with EVMs, the SC issued notice to EC on two other related issues:
    • Directions to make it mandatory for Returning Officer to order hand-counting of all the VVPAT slips of every polling station where the margin of victory is very narrow, less than 3%.
    • Making it mandatory for the poll panel to ask Returning Officer to order hand-counting of all VVPAT slips of all the polling stations where the discrepancy between the machine-counting total and the hand-counting total in respect of the 5% sample EVMs taken together is more than 1%.

Background

  • The Supreme Court in its judgment in Subramanian Swamy versus ECI, 2013, had held that it was imperative that elections held through EVMs ought to implement a mechanism of voter verifiable paper audit trails so that the voter can satisfy himself that his vote was accurately recorded.
  • The mechanism for random cross-verification of EVM and VVPAT counts was placed in order to detect any technological mischief or mal-programming of EVMs.

Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail

  • VVPAT is an independent verification printer machine and is attached to electronic voting machines. It allows voters to verify if their vote has gone to the intended candidate.
  • When a voter presses a button in the EVM, a paper slip is printed through the VVPAT. The slip contains the poll symbol and name of the candidate. It allows the voter to verify his/her choice.
  • After being visible to the voter from a glass case in the VVPAT for seven seconds, the ballot slip will be cut and dropped into the drop box in the VVPAT machine and a beep will be heard.
  • VVPAT machines can be accessed by polling officers only.
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