VVPAT to be used in Gujarat polls

This is the first time an entire assembly poll will be conducted using EVMs equipped with VVPAT.

The Election Commission of India will use Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) gadgets with Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) in all 50,128 voting booths in Gujarat, which goes to the Assembly polls at the end of this year.

What is VVPAT?

  • VVPAT stands for Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail. This system maintains a physical trail of all votes cast.
  • Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail  or Verifiable Paper Record (VPR) is a method of providing feedback to voters using a ballotless voting system.
  • Small slips of paper records the details of the vote.
  • The Election Commission (EC) first introduced VVPAT in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

How is it related to EVMs?

  • Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail machines, which will be attached to the EVMs, will allow voters to verify if their vote has gone to the intended candidate.
  • When a vote is cast on the electronic voting machine, a small paper slip bearing the name and symbol of the candidate is generated. This paper appears for about 10 seconds. The slip will then automatically fall in a sealed safe box, attached to the EVM

Important Points:

  • In 2013, conduct of Election Rules, 1961 was amended to facilitate the introduction of VVPAT units.
  • For the first time, Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail with EVMs was used for the Noksen Assembly seat in Tuensang district of Nagaland.
  • The machine is being put to use in Gujarat following a petition filed by Ms. Reshma Patel, one of the conveners of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti.
  • In the case of Subramanian Swamy vs Election Commission of India (ECI), the Supreme Court held that VVPAT is “indispensable for free and fair elections” and directed the ECI to equip EVMs with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail systems.
  • The apex court had directed the EC to introduce EVMs in a phased manner for the next General Elections in 2014, saying it would ensure free and fair polls.
  • SC also directed the Centre to provide financial assistance for introducing VVPAT system.

Sources: The Hindu

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