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EC to launch voter education programme on VVPAT usage

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 11, 2018

Election Commission to procure over 1.6 million VVPATs for using it in every polling station during General Elections 2019. File Photo   -  The Hindu

The Commission to hold meeting on May 12 with various political parties to discuss issues relating to EVMs and VVPATs.

The Election Commission (EC) is to launch a “ comprehensive, concerted and nation-wide” voter education and awareness programme under its Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) initiative to “educate, orient and inform” voters about the functioning, usage and advantages of the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines.

This message has been communicated to seven recognised political parties and other state level political parties in a 55 page report titled ‘Status paper on Electronic Voting Machines.’ The paper has been sent out ahead of a meeting scheduled to be held here on May 12 with various political parties to discuss issues relating to Electronic Voting Machines and VVPATs.

The seven national parties include the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party and CPI while the 48 state political parties include Aam Adami Party and Samajwadi Party.

The Commission has solicited the “cooperation and collaboration” of all stakeholders, particularly political parties, to join hands in spreading awareness about the advantages of VVPATs. “The Commission is confident that the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders in the electoral process will lead to continuous improvements in the electoral management and make our system more transparent, participative, informed and credible,” the Commission says in the paper sent to participants.

The paper traces the journey of EVMs in India, legal interventions and the various court cases in which the use of EVMs has been highlighted apart from detailing the safety and security measures adopted in these machines.

The Commission decided to hold the meeting after several political parties including the Aam Adami Party and Bahujan Samaj Party raised questions on whether the EVM can be tampered with. Besides, a delegation of 16 opposition parties which included the Congress called on the EC recently and called for a return to paper ballots in view of the doubts raised about the use of EVMs during the recently concluded Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand and Punjab.

Last month the Union Cabinet had approved the release over ₹ 3,000 crore so that the Commission can procure over 1.6 million VVPATs which can be used in every polling station during General Elections 2019.

A VVPAT generates a paper slip bearing the name and symbol of the candidate voted for along with recording the vote in the Control Unit of the machine so that in case of a dispute, the paper slips can be counted to verify the result being shown in the EVM. In VVPATs, a printer is attached to the balloting unit and kept in the voting compartment. The paper slip remains visible on a VVPAT for seven seconds through a transparent window.

Published on May 07, 2017

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