Why not use VVPAT units for Gujarat polls, SC asks EC

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The Supreme Court has questioned the Election Commission on its reluctance to use voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) units with electronic voting machines for the Gujarat Assembly polls in 2017, warning the poll panel against making excuses and compelling the court to force its hand.

Petition

  • Filed by Mohit Singh, represented by counsel Kapil Sibal.
  • Plea to direct the commission to implement the VVPAT voting mechanism in the Gujarat polls or otherwise use ballot papers to ensure a transparent, free and fair election.
  • Gujarat High Court dismissed it.
  • Supreme Court’s 2013 judgment in Subramanian Swamy vs Election Commission of India
  • Court’s observation: “paper trail is an indispensable requirement of free and fair elections. The confidence of the voters in the EVMs can be achieved only with the introduction of the “paper trail”.EVMs with VVPAT system ensure the accuracy of the voting system.”

VVPAT and fair elections

  • The execution of the VVPAT concept would result in printed receipts of what party the EVM machine has registered a vote for.
  • The said printed receipts would then ideally be collected by the voters and subsequently dropped in a ballot box.
  • Therefore, the votes registered in the EVM may then be tallied with the ballot papers collected in the ballot box, thus, allowing the commission to ascertain whether a recount is required or not.
  • Such printed receipts ensure that the voting is carried out in a more transparent fashion and further inspiring confidence in the election process.

About VVPAT

VVPAT stands for Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail. VVPAT system maintains a physical trail of all votes cast. Small slips of paper records the details of the vote. The Election Commission (EC) first introduced VVPAT in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

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