Rs 2 is all it takes to challenge EVM after VVPAT, but…

If a voter is satisfied neither with the EVM nor with the VVPAT, a complaint can be lodged for Rs 2, but a false complaint can cost him dear

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VVPAT Rs 2 complaint

Ghaziabad: The voter-verifiable paper audit trail or VVPAT can be challenged if a voter doubts the authenticity of the slip. The voter needs to spend just Rs 2 for this. But if VVPAT is wrongly challenged, a report is lodged against the complainant. The Election Commission has made this new arrangement in the advanced M-3 VVPAT machines to bring transparency in elections and address allegations of EVM tampering.

During the counting, if a voter alleges that the EVM is malfunctioning and that the party that he voted for did not get the vote, he could challenge the VVPAT for a fee of Rs 2. After this, the administration will follow the VVPAT trail in the booth in front of the polling agents and the truth will be brought to the fore. If the allegation is proved false, an FIR will be filed against the complainant.

Frivolous charge to cost much more than Rs 2

In the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election in 2017, political parties raised questions on EVMs while accusing them of mess. Later, the accusations turned unceasing. After this, the commission brought in the M-3 machine and made arrangements to challenge the allegations.

The commission has made a legal provision for lodging reports if the VVPAT is wrongly challenged. It will be registered under Section 177 of the IPC. Under this section, a fine of Rs 1,000 can be imposed on the guilty along with imprisonment of six months. The report will be filed under Section 26 of the Public Representation Act, 1951, as well.

According to Sunil Kumar Singh (ADM Finance and Revenue and Deputy District Election Officer), VVPAT is being used extensively by the commission in the Lok Sabha election. Arrangements have been made to challenge VVPAT for Rs 2 per complaint. But a wrong challenge could lead to an FIR.

During the voting process, when a voter presses the button on the EVM unit, the name of the party and the serial number against it is displayed for up to eight seconds on the VVPAT screen. This assures the voter that the party and candidate he has voted for have received his choice. With this, a slip of the party and the candidate emerges and falls into the tray of the machine.

VVPAT is a type of machine that is connected with an EVM unit. In case of any dispute, the slip can be matched with the vote cast using the EVM.

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First use

VVPAT was first used in the Nagaland Assembly election in 2013. After this, the Supreme Court gave orders to the Union government to allocate money to make VVPAT machines in large numbers. The Election Commission decided in June 2014 that VVPAT would be used at all polling stations in the next general election, that is the 2019 elections.

Cost Rs 3,174 crore

The commission wrote a letter asking the Union government to allocate Rs 3,174 crore for VVPAT manufacturing. BEL made 33,500 VVPAT machines in 2016. They were used in the election of Goa in 2017.

The commission has used 52,000 VVPATs in five States in the past.

If the EVM is trustworthy, why VVPAT?

According to the Election Commission, an EVM is completely safe and dependable. The result cannot be changed by tampering with the machine. In spite of this, all opposition parties have been complaining about the EVM for years.

When the Election Commission asked political parties to prove their allegations in a hackathon, no party showed interest in it. Perhaps somewhere, political parties who question the EVM also know that the fault is not in the EVM but the popularity of their respective parties.

For all reports related to the Lok Sabha election 2019, please visit this page.