Voters can lodge a complaint if the result of the ‘paper trail’ does not match with the vote they have cast, but making a false statement can also lead to penal action against them.
The Election Commission recently amended the rules to introduce the concept of printers for the paper trail of votes recorded by the EVMs.
As per the guidelines issued to chief electoral officers, a voter is free to lodge a complaint if the slip generated by the printer shows the name and symbol of the candidate other than for whom the elector has voted for.
The voter will have to fill up a declaration to formally lodge a complaint and should be ready to cast a test vote to show that the allegation made by him is “true and bona fide“.
But if the complaint is found to be false, action under Section 177 of the Indian Penal Code relating to ‘furnishing false information’ could be initiated against the voter.
“But action under the provision will be rare. We do not wish to deter people who find their EVMs are registering faulty votes from lodging complaint,” a senior EC official said.
The declaration to be signed by the complainant mentions that punishment under Section 177 of IPC is jail term up to six months and a fine of Rs 1,000.
Voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) or verified paper record (VPR) is a method of providing feedback to voters using a ballotless voting system.
A VVPAT is intended as an independent verification system for voting machines designed to allow voters to verify that their vote was cast correctly, to detect possible election fraud or malfunction, and to provide a means to audit the stored electronic results.
EC would be using the paper trail system in several of the 543 Lok Sabha constituencies in the nine—phased polls beginning tomorrow.