Election Commission seeks funds for paper trail units

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Nasim Zaidi has requested the Union Law Ministry for urgent release of funds to facilitate procurement of VVPAT (voter verifiable paper audit trail) machines for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

What is VVPAT ?

voting machine

  • Method of providing feedback to voters using a ballotless voting system.
  • It allow voters to verify that their vote was cast correctly.
  • Detect possible election fraud or malfunction, and to provide a means to audit the stored electronic results.
  • A paper slip is generated bearing name and symbol of the candidate along with recording of vote in Control Unit
  • Under VVPAT, a printer is attached to the balloting Unit and kept in the voting compartment.
  • The paper slip remains visible on VVPAT for 07 seconds through a transparent window.
  • Design of VVPAT made by BEL/ECIL was approved by ECI in 2013 and shown to persons who were pursuing matters in the Supreme Court.
  • ECI used VVPAT in Nagaland bye election in 2013 which proved great success.
  • It contains name of the candidate (for whom vote has been casted) and symbol of the party/ individual candidate.

Why we need VVPAT ?

  • Protests by Opposition parties against electronic voting machines (EVMs) without paper trail units
  • Commission had recently received a memorandum from 16 parties demanding that the paper ballot system be reintroduced for greater transparency.
  • Also in last Parliament session, several members alleged that the voting machines used in the recently concluded Assembly elections were tampered with.
  • EC felt that the procurement of VVPAT machines could not be delayed any longer.

Judicial Stand on EVM

  • In some petition filed against EVM in High Courts, after going into all aspects of the technological soundness and the administrative measures involved in the use of EVMs at elections in India, have held that the EVMs in India are credible, reliable and totally tamperproof.
  • In some of these cases, even Supreme Court has dismissed appeals filed by some petitioners against High Court orders.
  • SC ordered introduction of  VVPAT in phases and asked Government to sanction funds for procurement.

Benefits

It will increase transparency of the electoral process is enhanced, integrity of the voting preserved, and the voters’ confidence in the process is further strengthened.

Source : The Hindu

GS II : Functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies

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