In light of the first phase of voting for the Gujarat Assembly elections, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has decided to take several imperative measures to prevent the misuse of the electronic voting machines (EVM) and voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPATs), reported The Times of India.
The EC’s statement came after members of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party alleged tampering of EVMS and VVPATs in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, an India.com report stated.
These safeguards are being implemented by the ECI in total transparency, with the active and documented involvement of political parties, candidates, and their representatives at every stage, so as to build their confidence on efficacy and reliability of EVMs and VVPATs.Election Commission statement
Some of the measures the election body has taken include setting the names of the contesting candidates on the EVMs and carrying out a mock poll to figure out if all the machines across the state were functioning properly, India.com reported.
Along with this, the Election Commission claims to have carried out a ‘first level checking’ of the machines with the presence all the candidates and the representatives in question, ensured effective protocols concerning the storage of EVMs/VVPATs through the duration of the polls, as well as providing CCTV coverage of all EVM and VVPAT handling procedures.
A DNA report added that after the poll-cast, provisions would be made for the candidates to follow the vehicles (with escorts) carrying the EVMs and VVPATs from the polling stations to storage counting rooms. These rooms would also heavily be guarded by the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF).
The commission would like to reassure the people of the country that the EC would leave no stone unturned in preserving the purity, integrity and credibility of the elections and reinforcing the faith and trust of the people in the electoral democracy of our county.Election Commission statement
The DNA report further added that no vehicle, including that of any politicians, would be allowed inside the spot where the EVMs and VVPATs are to be stored. The security of the room containing these machines will be the personal responsibility of the Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police present.
The day of counting of votes will see the room being opened in the presence of the candidates or their representatives, the Returning Officer, and an observer under video surveillance. Once the votes are counted, the machines will again be sealed and shifted back to the room for a period of 45 days, which gives the parties in question enough time to seek redressal through courts, DNA reported.