Himachal Election: VVPAT machines develop snag at 129 polling booths | cities | Hindustan Times
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Himachal Election: VVPAT machines develop snag at 129 polling booths

Chief electoral officer of the state Pushpendra Rajput admitted that the machines developed a glitch at some places but said they were rectified.

cities Updated: Nov 10, 2017 10:08 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Election officials prepare an electronic voting machine at a polling station in Dharmsala, on Nov. 9, 2017.
Election officials prepare an electronic voting machine at a polling station in Dharmsala, on Nov. 9, 2017. (AP)

Hundreds of voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines, which were used for the first time at all polling stations in the Himachal Pradesh assembly elections, malfunctioned across the hill state on Thursday holding polling for hours at several places.

Election Commission officials said 347 machines developed a technical snag at 218 polling booths during the mock poll and they failed to function at 129 stations when the actual voting began at 8am.

The poll watchdog installed 11,115 VVPAT machines at 7,525 polling stations across all the 68 constituencies in the hill state. A printer is attached under the VVPAT to the balloting unit and kept in the voting compartment. The paper slip remains visible on VVPAT for seven seconds through a transparent window.

The paper slip bears the name and symbol of the candidate along with a recording of the vote in the control unit. And in case of any dispute, the slip can be counted to verify the result being shown on the electronic voting machine.

Chief electoral officer of the state Pushpendra Rajput admitted that the machines developed a glitch at some places but said they were rectified.

The commission had launched a statewide drive ahead of the elections to disseminate information on the use of VVPAT machines but the polling staff at some centres faced difficulty in operating them.

Polling could not begin at Deleg polling station in Bilaspur district till 12pm. Voters faced a similar problem in Kaza, the subdivisional headquarters of the remote Spiti valley in Lahaul and Spiti district.

“The machine developed a snag at 11am. It took an hour for technicians to fix the problem. The machine again stopped functioning at 4pm leading to another delay in polling,” Tenzin, a voter, told the Hindustan Times over the phone.

Similar issued were reported from Kangra, Mandi, Shimla, and Sirmaur districts of the hill state.

The state with five million voters recorded a turnout of 74% where the ruling Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party are locked in a tight battle. As many as 337 candidates are in the fray for 68 assembly seats, the results of which would be declared on December 18.