The Election Commission of India today informed the Madras high court that during the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, all electronic voting machines (EVMs) would be matched with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) systems. The EC said, "Instructions have already been issued to use VVPAT systems with all the EVMs through which voters can verify if they have cast their votes correctly during the forthcoming Parliamentary elections."
The VVPAT is a method of providing feedback to voters using a ballotless voting system and it allows voters to verify if their vote was cast correctly, to detect possible election fraud or machine malfunction. It will contain the name of the candidate for whom the vote has been cast and symbol of the party or individual candidate. The EC has however stated that voters cannot take the sheet out of the voting booth and that the sheets will be used by the EC as a means to audit the stored electronic results. For implementing the initiative, the Centre has sanctioned Rs 3,173.47 crore, said reports.
The Election Commission made the submission before a division bench of Justice S Manikumar and Justice Subramonium Prasad on a public interest litigation moved by advocate S Packiaraj seeking a direction to attach VVPAT systems to all EVMs during the upcoming Lok Sabha election. The petitioner stated the ECI introduced VVPAT system only after the intervention of the Supreme Court in 2013 in view of allegations that EVMs were tampered with to favour a particular party or a candidate.