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EC Proposes EVMs With Paper Trail for Future Elections

The Election Commission announced on Friday that future elections would see EVMs with paper trails.

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India
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After a controversy surrounding the reliability of electronic voting machines with many claiming that the poll results were rigged, the Election Commission announced on Friday that henceforth, all future elections would be conducted using voting machines that have an attached paper trail.

This decision was taken by Nasim Zaidi, Chief Election Commissioner, following a meeting with the representatives of seven national and 35 certified state parties. While the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system registers the candidate and the symbol a person voted for, it does not permit the voter to take the receipt home.

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Even while restating the dependability of the EVMs, Zaidi said that the commission would take note of the political parties’ request to allow some percentage of the VVPAT slips to be counted in addition to the general process of calculating. This move is a step towards restoring faith among both political parties and voters.

Zaidi also said that the poll panel would soon throw an “open challenge” to party spokespersons, who would be handed the EVMs used in the recent polls, in order to prove the accusations of their vulnerability to manipulation.

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Lawyer and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) member Prashant Bhushan tweeted:

After the AAP had used a model EVM to apparently prove the vulnerability of the machine, the poll panel announced the possibility of the “open challenge”. On Friday though, most of the political parties chose to support the use of EVMs given that they came with attached paper trail machines.

Among those that continued to demand the use of paper ballots was the Shiv Sena. Others like the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Janata Dal United (JDU) changed their appeal to move to paper ballots.

With the BSP and the AAP leading the protest, these parties had conveyed their suspicions about the credibility of EVMs. They were among the 13 that had demanded that EVMs should no longer be used in elections.

However, the JDU’s Sanjay Jha told the media on Friday that the party did not want to move to using paper ballots, due to their past experience of booth capturing.

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Parties like the AAP, BSP, PMK and the TMC remained unconvinced even after the Election Commission demonstrated the vigour of the EVMS and demanded for a reversal to the paper ballot system.

Among other demands were increase of the display time on the VVPAT machines to over seven seconds. Many parties also demanded the state funding of elections. According to a report by The Hindustan Times, the Congress’s Vivek Tankha highlighted authenticity, transparency and reliability as the bedrock of the election process.

Following the meeting, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted:

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(With inputs from The Hindustan Times)

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