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HindustanTimes Wed,20 Aug 2014

EVM: J'khand voters won’t be able to verify if they pressed the right button

Debashish Sarkar  Jamshedpur, March 23, 2014
First Published: 16:31 IST(23/3/2014) | Last Updated: 16:36 IST(23/3/2014)

Voters in Jharkhand will not be able to verify if their votes went to the chosen candidates or not after casting their votes in the parliamentary elections.

The reason is that polling in the state will be held on electronic voting machines (EVMs) made prior to 2006 and 2009 and not the new EVMs. The new EVMs are equipped with anti-rigging vote verification paper audit trail (VVPAT) system, popularly called vote verification machines (VVMs).

The VVMs allow the voter to see the candidate the vote has been cast on a small window for eight seconds and simultaneously a slip is generated. The slip drops in a sealed drop-box which could be opened only in case of any dispute or complaint of electoral malpractice such as rigging.

“The election commission (EC) has not listed any booth or seat from Jharkhand where polling needs to be conducted through these new VVMs. We’ll be holding the polling mostly through EVMs made prior to 2006 and about 6000 EVMs made in 2009 which we’ve borrowed from the state election commission for the Lok Sabha polls,” Jharkhand chief electoral officer PK Jajoria told HT.

It was decided to introduce the VVPAT system or VVMs at about 20,000 booths across the country on an experimental basis. The move came following a Supreme Court order on October 8 directing it to hold election through VVMs while disposing a petition by senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.

The commission at present has 900 VVMs and has ordered Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) to supply 10,000 VVMs each.

The state needs about 60,000 EVMs for 26, 500 booths. “We would arrive at the exact number of BUs only after filing of nominations is over and the exact number of candidates in each of the constituencies is clear,” said Jajoria.

The first randomisation of 1,790 EVMs for 1626 booths in Jamshedpur Lok Sabha seat was done here on Saturday
evening.

The commission first experimented the VVMs successfully in 21 booths of Noksen (ST) assembly seat in Nagaland in September and followed up in 10 out of 40 assembly seats in Mizoram in November last year, resulting in 10% VVMs being detected as malfunctioning.


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