Debate over EVM fraud: Ex-CECs suggest VVPAT machines in all booths

In order to end the debate over tampering of EVMs, two former CECs suggested to introduce VVPAT machines in all polling stations.

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New Delhi, March 21: As politicians from various parties have openly alleged tampering of electronic voting machines in the recently concluded assembly elections in five states, two former chief election commissioners have come up with a solution to end the debate forever.

Speaking to The Indian Express, former CECs SY Quraishi and HS Brahma suggested immediate introduction of the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail machines in all polling stations across the country.

VVPAT

Brahma said, "I personally feel worried when political parties and politicians question the credibility of voting machines. The credibility of EVMs has been established beyond doubt through court judgments. Having said that, I think, once we cover all polling stations with VVPATs, it will put an end to 90 per cent of the allegations leveled against EVMs and we will have the most dependable election process in the world."

What is a VVPAT machine
According to Elections.in, VVPAT is a method of providing feedback to voters. It's completely an independent verification system. "For those uninitiated, VVPAT is a printer-like machine attached to every EVM that allows voters to verify that their vote has been cast correctly. Once a voter presses button of his choice in the EVM, a printed paper appears containing the name of the candidate and poll symbol so that he can verify it," says Elections.in.

"After the voter views the receipt it goes inside a container linked to the EVM, which can be accessed only by the polling officers. This latest system is one step further towards prevention of electoral fraud."

When was VVPAT machine first used in India

The system was first experimented during the Nagaland by-elections in 2013. However, Mizoram was the first state to introduce VVPAT machines on a large scale.

Currently, the Election Commission is waiting for the sanction of Rs 3,100 crore fund to buy 16 lakh VVPAT machines from the law ministry.

Criticising the delay in release of funds meant for VVPAT machines purchase, Quraishi said, "The (incumbent) CEC has said that it will take 30 months to manufacture the machines. The cost of Rs 3,500 crore is peanuts when it comes to conducting elections in a transparent manner. This is something the government should look at immediately. What are they doing?"

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