India

Paper trail machines don’t click pictures, says poll panel

Rumours are being spread by some people using money to buy votes: Rawat 

New Delhi: Beware of the warning that asks an electorate to vote for a particular candidate, stating “you have taken money and can’t fool us as the paper trail machine clicks your picture casting vote,” says the chief election commissioner, dismissing the claims as a canard.

This is being spread by some using money to buy votes and the Election Commission would launch a campaign to dispel this myth, he said. Referring to rumour mongering, the chief election commissioner OP Rawat told PTI that those distributing cash to voters could threaten them saying that the paper trail machines take their picture while casting vote.

“They tell the voters to cast vote in their favour in return of cash and if they do not wish to vote for it, they should not accept cash as the picture clicked by paper trail machine would expose them,” Rawat explained. He said this time around, the poll panel would launch a campaign to inform the voters that the paper trail machines do not breach their secrecy at the polling booth.

They tell the voters to cast vote in their favour in return of cash and if they do not wish to vote for it, they should not accept cash as the picture clicked by paper trail machine would expose them. OP Rawat, chief election commissioner

“We’ll tell them that whatever people say about paper trail machines, they should not believe it … no pictures are clicked,” he said.

Rawat said there have been delays in the delivery of paper trail machines as the Technical Experts Committee appointed by it analyses the technology stabilisation issues in the initial batches and incorporates essential design improvements. “This ensures we don’t face the problems later,” he said. All required EVMs 13.95 lakh ballot units and 9.3 lakh control units, will be delivered by September 30, he said.

VVPAT machine

Voter-verifiable paper audit trail is a machine which dispenses a slip with the symbol of the party for which a person has voted for.

There have been demands to increase the number of polling stations where EVM and VVPAT results are matched to dispel fears about electronic voting machines being ‘hacked’ to favour a particular political party.
The slip appears on a small window for seven seconds and then drops in a box. But the voter cannot take the slip home.

CEC said voters are made to believe that it would be known which button on the EVM was pressed. The VVPAT or paper trail machines are used in all polling stations. But as of now, results of VVPATs are matched in one polling station.

‘Going back to paper ballots makes no sense’

The demand to bring back paper ballots in the next Lok Sabha elections in place of EVMs being pressed by major Opposition parties has not found favour with two former Chief Election Commissioners, who share their opposition to a proposal for simultaneous elections, saying it cannot be coerced.

The former CECs say that though both the issues are theoretically in the realm of possibility, but, in practical terms, they are neither feasible nor desirable.

VS Sampath, who demitted office in January 2015 after nearly three years at the helm of the Election Commission, said going back to paper ballots makes no sense. Nobody will accept it, he said.

He said with introduction of VVPAT slips there is already a paper ballot system that is going to be in place.
Another former CEC, who declined to be named, said EVMs have been subjected to criticism from the very beginning on some grounds.

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