Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail

After the allegations by several political parties specially that of Arvind Kejriwal led AAP and Mayawati led BSP about the tampering of the EVMs, The Election Commission, following an all party meeting, announced that new  VVPAT ( voter-verifiable paper audit trail) machine will be used in all future elections.

The Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system records the candidate and symbol a person voted for but the voter cannot take the receipt home. The announcement was made by chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi after a meeting with representatives of seven national and 35 recognised state parties here. The government, which had stalled the poll body’s proposal for months for the purchase of VVPATs, agreed last month to spend Rs. 3,200 crore for them.

The EC commissioner also said that the commission will consider the demand from political parties to allow counting of some percentage of VVPAT slips in addition to the usual counting process to inculcate confidence among voters and political parties. Inspite of all this, Zaidi reiterated that EVMs cannot be manipulated and the system is fool-proof. He further added that the poll panel will soon announce a date for an “open challenge”, where party representatives will be given EVMs used in recent polls to prove allegations they can be tampered with.

The Election Commission has also insisted that not just the technology, but the physical security around the machines makes them tamper-proof.

During the all party meeting, the poll panel also made a presentation on EVMs that explained its secured design feature and highlighted “technical, administrative protocol and procedural safeguards that fortify the EVMs and VVPATs against any sort of manipulation or tampering”.  Poll panel also referred to queries raised by some political parties about the incidents of alleged EVM manipulation at Bhind and Dholpur during the recently concluded bye-elections and said that “baseless perceptions were generated about these incidents.”

The meeting furthermore discussed electoral reforms like making bribery in elections a cognisable offence and disqualification on being charge sheeted for bribery in elections.