As the allegations of EVM tampering increased, the Supreme Court ordered the Election Commission to come up with a tentative time period by which it can use VVPAT machines across all polling stations of the country.
The Election Commission recently received a memorandum from 16 political parties demanding that the paper ballot system is reintroduced for greater transparency during elections. The BSP, the AAP, and the Congress have alleged that tampering of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) took place during the recent Assembly Elections. Amid protests by Opposition parties against EVMs without paper trail units, there has been a call for procurement of VVPAT (voter-verifiable paper audit trail) machines for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
What is VVPAT?
Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) is a machine that provides feedback to the voter to ensure that the vote polled by a voter goes to the correct candidate. VVPAT system was introduced by the Election Commission to ensure free and fair elections.
How does VVPAT work?
VVPAT is an independent verification printer machine attached to the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). After a voter presses the button on the EVM against the chosen candidate, a slip is printed on the VVPAT which contains the poll symbol and name of the candidate. The slip automatically drops into the box in the VVPAT machine and a beep will be heard. The VVPAT machine is placed in a glass case in a way that only the voter can see it. what is VVPAT
What is the Significance of VVPAT?
- VVPATs are the second line of verification and are particularly useful at the time when allegations around Electronic Voting Machines’ tampering crop up.
- The Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail is a method that provides feedback to voters.
- It allows voters to verify if their vote has gone to the intended candidate.
- Provides a means to audit the stored electronic results.
Supreme Court’s stand on the issue:
The Election Commission of India has not conceded to any allegation that the EVMs used for polling can be tampered with. However, VVPATs have been used in some elections in a bid to counter all allegation of tampering.
The Supreme Court of India, meanwhile, has for long held a supportive and extra cautious stand when it comes to voting. It had directed the EC in 2013 to introduce VVPAT in Lok Sabha Elections 2014 to improve voter confidence and ensuring transparency of voting. It was used in some phases but not in the entire polling process.