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ECI likely to reject display time of the VVPAT but might accept auditing of 30% machines

By Vinod

New Delhi, Sep 3: The Election Commission of India (ECI) may reject the opposition political parties like the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party's demand to increase display time of the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machine from seven minuets to 15 but it might consider 30 per cent auditing of votes and VVPAT display. The Congress has gone to the court on this matter as there is a petition filed by Madhya Pradesh Congress president Kamal Nath which is pending in the court for next hearing on September 10.

ECI likely to reject display time of the VVPAT but might accept auditing of 30% machines

Sources in the ECI said that it was not feasible as increasing display time would cause a long queue outside the polling booth. The ECI might accept the demand of auditing of VVPAT. It was demanded in the All Party meeting convened by the ECI that timing of the display should be increased from 12 to 15 minuets. Sources in the election commission said that if the display time is increased from seven minuets to 15 minuets there would be a long queue of voters outside the poling booth and voting process will be delayed. Moreover, the ECI is planning to fix a button on which it will be written see your vote after casting. The demand increasing time came from Mukul Wasnik of the Congress and Raghav Chadhdha of the AAP. They argued that voters get less time see that whom they had voted.

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An official of the election commission said that a trial of VVPAT was conducted in July 2011 in Thiruvananthapuram before representatives from common voters, national and regional political parties, civil society organisations and media. The display time in 2011 was five seconds. Sources said that after first field trials some changes were made in it on the recommendation of the committee. So in August 2012 field trials were once against started and display period was increased to 10 seconds but due to technical reasons, it was reduced to seven seconds which was finalized by the technical experts on February 19, 2013. So in September 2013, VVPAT was used in the Assembly elections of Nagaland for the first time and its result was satisfactory.

Now the election commission is planning to install a cover over the paper sensor so no direct light is thrown over the censor. Old VVPAT machine too will have these covers. During the last several by-elections complains were registered in VVPAT. It was found in the investigation technical problem was noticed in the machine where they were exposed to Sun light.

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The ECI might accept the demand of auditing of 30 per cent VVPAT slip with the EVM machine votes. Sources said that thhe ECI was looking at the scientific solution to the counting of VVPAT slip and votes for which it will not only take help of technical experts but Indian Statistical Institute. Sources further said that the decision will be taken after consultation that in how many constituencies the auditing will be done. At the moment it gets auditing done for just 10 per cent of VVPAT.

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