Admin gears up for use of VVPAT in ensuing LS polls

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 04 Jan 2019 10:00:19



Staff Reporter,

Awareness drive to be conducted in 3,915 out of total 4,382 polling booths in the district

After pressing a button in EVM, VVPAT will display for seven seconds a paper slip showing poll symbol and name of the candidate

After completing the first level check of the ballot and control units of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT), the district administration has now started a special drive to make the people aware of the use of VVPAT for the first time in the ensuing Lok Sabha (LS) polls.  The administration received 9,436 ballot units and 5,486 control units of EVMs, and 5,486 VVPAT machines from Election Commission of India for the ensuing LS elections. The first level check was conducted between November 14 and December 18, 2018, by trained engineers of Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).

During the check, total 9,347 ballot units and 5,359 control units of EVMs, and 5,111 VVPAT machines were found to be ‘ok’ for use in elections. The VVPAT machines have been manufactured by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL). In all, 89 ballot units, 127 control units, and 375 VVPAT machines were found to be malfunctioning. These machines were rejected and sent back to BEL. Of the remaining machines, sets comprising ballot unit, control unit, and VVPAT have been prepared for ‘training and awareness purposes’.

“We have constituted 25 teams comprising a policeman, a Master Trainer, and four other members to conduct the awareness drive. Each team will have two sets of machines. We appeal to the people and representatives of political parties to attend the demonstrations and know how the EVM and VVPAT function. The awareness drive is being conducted as VVPAT will be used for the first time for LS elections,” said Ashwin Mudgal, District Collector and District Election Officer. Addressing a press conference at District Collectorate on Thursday, Mudgal said that the awareness drive would be conducted in 3,915 out of total 4,382 polling booths in the district. Prakash Patil, Additional Collector; Rajlaxmi Shah, Deputy District Election Officer, also were present during the press conference.



Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) works like a printer attached to ballot unit of EVM. When a voter presses a button on the EVM to exercise his franchise, the transparent window in VVPAT machine will display a paper slip for seven seconds.

This paper slip will show serial number of the candidate concerned on the ballot unit of EVM, his name and poll symbol. After seven seconds, the paper slip will be dropped in the VVPAT. No voter can get the slip to carry it home. “The voter will be able to verify if his vote has been registered properly in seven seconds when the slip is displayed in the VVPAT window. The use of VVPAT will enhance the element of transparency during the conduct of polling,” Ashwin Mudgal said.

Replying to a question, the District Election Officer said that if a voter still had suspicion about malfunctioning of the machine, he or she might fill up Form-17A and give it to the Polling Officer concerned at the polling booth. The Polling Officer would then order a Test Vote to be conducted. If the voter’s objection is found to be invalid, the Polling Officer concerned would not count the vote registered during Test Vote. If an EVM is found defective, it will be replaced.

‘Use of VVPAT will extend time taken for counting of votes’

The use of VVPAT machines will extend the time taken for counting of votes, said Ashwin Mudgal, District Collector and District Election Officer. Replying to a question, Mudgal said that more time would be required for counting of votes as the EVM vote count and VVPAT slips would be tallied. Also, the votes registered during Test Vote conducted by Polling Officer following complaint by voter at any polling booth would be taken on a sheet. Further, the tally would be conducted for at least one polling booth in each of the Legislative Assembly segments.

“All these will naturally take longer time for closure of counting process,” he added.  Asked about recounting, the District Collector said that there was a definite procedure prescribed by Election Commission of India. The recount will be ordered after considering if total number of votes polled at a polling booth is more or less than the margin of votes between the winner and the objector, if EVM was found defective and replaced at a polling booth, and if there is any complaint about VVPAT not printing paper slip or complaint by any voter.