What Is The Difference Between EVMs And VVPAT?

IANS
Following the April 2017 allegations of the tampering of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM), around 16 political parties of the country had appealed to the Election Commission of India to bring back ballot papers in the elections.

The Election Commission made a note of their grievance. However, ballot papers are considered as an archaic tool and it abounded almost illogical to resort to them once again. Hence the Commission thought of VVPAT or Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail as a valid way to address the raising concerns. Here is a comparison of EVM and VVPAT.

What are EVMs?

Expanded as Electronic Voting Machines, EVMs are electronic devices used in the polling booths for letting the electors cast their votes electronically without revealing their identity. There had been a number of complaints about booth capturing. Hence the EC introduced EVMs to replace the conventional ballot system. For the first time in India, EVMs were seen in use in 1982 during the Kerala Assembly Elections.

An EVM has two segments: a control unit and the balloting unit. The control unit is managed by the polling officer appointed by the Election Commission. This officer turns the EVM on by pressing the ballot button. The other segment called the balloting unit is placed in the voting compartment. The electors can cast their vote by pressing one of the buttons seen against the names and party symbols of the contesting candidates.

What are VVPATs?

VVPAT is not a different voting system. It is only an augmented feature of the EVMs. The Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail can give feedback to electors casting their vote. We can say it is a kind of independently working printer machine that enables the voters to check if the vote they casted had gone to the intended contester.

The working of VVPATs

After casting their votes in the EVM, the voter can press a button in the EVM machine and it prints a paper slip that will reveal the symbol and name of the candidate for whom they have voted. Hence the voters can verify their choice. The ballot slip thus printed will be visible to the voter for about seven seconds through a glass case in the VVPAT. After that, the ballot paper will be cut letting it fall inside the drop box accompanied by a beep sound. Only the polling officers can access the VVPAT machine.

The Supreme Court Verdict

In 2013, the Supreme Court ordered for the introduction of paper trails in EVMs phase by phase during the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections. The Supreme Court had said, "EVMs with VVPAT system ensure the accuracy of the voting system. With an intent to have the fullest transparency in the system and to restore the confidence of the voters, it is necessary to set up EVMs with VVPAT system because vote is nothing but an act of expression which has immense importance in democratic system." There had been a widespread call that the Election Commission introduces VVPAT machines during the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections.
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