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April 24, 2024

Supreme Court Set to Rule on EVM-VVPAT Verification: Here’s What You Need to Know

The Supreme Court is poised to issue directives today on petitions advocating for 100% verification of votes recorded in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) along with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips. Scheduled for discussion under “For Directions,” the petitions have garnered significant attention and could potentially reshape electoral processes in India.

The EVM-VVPAT verification case centers on a plea by the NGO Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) to overturn the Election Commission’s 2017 decision to replace transparent glass on VVPAT machines with opaque material. This change limits voter visibility of the VVPAT slip to seven seconds when the light is on. ADR seeks to restore transparency by matching EVM counts with votes cast and ensuring voters can verify their votes through VVPAT slips.

During last week’s hearings, the Supreme Court engaged extensively with parties involved, cautioning against doubting the efficacy of EVMs. Justice Sanjiv Khanna underscored the historical context, stating, “We are in our 60s. We all know what happened when there were ballot papers, you may have, but we have not forgotten.” The Bench emphasized the importance of voter satisfaction and trust in the electoral process.

Senior deputy election commissioner Nitesh Kumar Vyas provided insights into EVM functioning, stressing their standalone nature and minimal susceptibility to tampering. However, the court acknowledged the possibility of human error.

The Supreme Court has previously criticized calls for a return to ballot papers, highlighting the monumental task of conducting elections in India and the need to maintain faith in the electoral system.

Understanding VVPAT Slips: Ensuring Voter Confidence and Transparency

Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips serve as a crucial component of EVMs, providing a physical record for voters to verify their choices. This transparency measure enhances accountability in the electoral process, allowing voters to confirm that their votes have been accurately registered before final submission.

VVPAT produces a paper slip displaying the chosen party’s name and symbol, which the voter can review through a transparent window on the machine. The slip is then securely stored within the EVM, accessible for further examination if disputes arise.

Electronic Voting Machines: Ensuring Fair and Accurate Elections

Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) revolutionized the electoral process, offering speed, accuracy, and reduced human error. Comprising a control unit and a balloting unit, EVMs enable voters to select their preferred candidates electronically, with each vote stored in the machine’s memory.

After polling, EVMs are sealed and transported to counting centers, where votes are tallied by connecting the control unit to a computer. EVMs incorporate security features like tamper detection and unique IDs to prevent manipulation.

As the Supreme Court deliberates on EVM-VVPAT verification, ensuring the integrity of electoral processes remains paramount. The verdict could shape future elections, balancing technological advancements with transparency and voter confidence

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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