The poll panel has approved an improvised version of the electronic voting machine (EVM) that maintains paper record of each vote cast. The new machines will be available for use after May this year.
The trials for the vote verifier paper audit trail (VVPAT) in EVMs were over and it was waiting for the Centre and political parties’ approval, the election commission told the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
Senior counsel Ashok Desai also told a bench headed by justice P Sathasivam that the EC needed funds for manufacturing the machines. “The Centre has to approve it and provide funds for it,” he said.
According to sources, new EVMs will come with a printer that will have a drop box to store paper trail of the votes cast.
As many as 13 lakh VVPAT-enabled machines will be required for the Lok Sabha elections due next year.
Delhi, Rajasthan, Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are expected to hold assembly polls in October and these machines could make their debut then.
The machines would not be ready for use for the May 5 Karnataka assembly elections, Desai said. The commission would call a meeting of all political parties after the polls for the use of the new EVMS in the subsequent elections, he said.
As each machine costs Rs. 13,000, the EC would need a sum of Rs. 1,692 crore, the senior counsel said.
The court asked the EC to file an affidavit, detailing the financial assistance required.
The poll panel was asked to look into the possibility of paper trail in EVMs on a plea of Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy. He wanted the panel to ensure that EVMs had a paper trail and a receipt given to each voter.
The receipt, the election commission EC said, would not be given to the voter but collected in a box.
Every now and then doubts have been raised that the EVMs can be manipulated. The paper trail facility is expected to make the machines tamper-proof.