Election Commission’s new feature in voter machines
The Election Commission of India has introduced a new feature in the symbol loading process of paper trail machines in an effort to enhance transparency in the election process, according to a Union Law Ministry document. The new feature provides for simultaneous visual display of the serial number, symbol, and name of candidates being uploaded to the VVPATs (voter-verifiable paper audit trail machines) during the first-level checks and commissioning on a monitor or a TV screen for stakeholders to cross-check, the ministry’s 2022-23 annual report said.
The feature has been added to the symbol loading unit which uploads symbols and names of candidates contesting in a particular seat on a VVPAT slip. Since 2019, VVPAT (paper trail machine) slips from five randomly selected polling stations per assembly constituency (or segment in cases of Lok Sabha seats) are matched with the EVM count for greater transparency. No mismatch was found in the counting of paper trail machine slips and votes polled in EVMs in the assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, and the seven by-polls held late last year.
The VVPAT slips appear in a window for seven seconds after a vote is cast on an EVM to allow the voter to cross-check whether the ballot cast has gone to the intended candidate. The slip then falls in a basket. The voter cannot take the slip as it violates the principle of a secret ballot. Like the EVMs, the VVPATs also do not use an external power supply and run on internal power packs. The Legislative Department in the Union Law Ministry is the nodal agency to deal with issues related to the poll panel, including the EVMs, election laws, and related rules.
In India, VVPAT was introduced in EVMs, following a Public Interest Litigation filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, citing the possibility of tampering and manipulation in the Electronic Voting Machines. In the old EVMs, there was no record of voting, and a lot of manipulations did happen. In October 2013, Justice Sathasivam ordered the enabling of VVPATs along with EVMs.
 VVPAT – Success story of Swamy’s legal battle against EVMs – Jul 22, 2016, PGurus.com
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