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100% use of VVPAT for Lok Sabha polls: EC

The Election Commission on Tuesday informed the Madras High Court that it had made it clear way back in 2017 that there shall be 100% use of the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system during the Lok Sabha election this year to gain voter confidence. Justices S. Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad were informed by EC counsel Niranjan Rajagopalan that the VVPAT allowed every voter to see a printed slip for seven seconds to verify and confirm that the vote cast had gone to the candidate of his or her choice. The system would be used fully during the Lok Sabha election. The submission was made during the hearing of a public interest litigation petition seeking 100% use of the VVPAT during every election. The judges dismissed the petition after recording the submissions of the EC that it had already decided to use VVPAT in all booths in accordance with a 2013 Supreme Court directive. Permanent staff In his affidavit, the petitioner, S. Packiaraj, 67, of Anna Nagar here regretted that the EC did not have its own permanent staff in every district of the country. He said that using government staff to conduct elections did not help in prosecuting election offences because the EC had no powers over their service after the polls. Nevertheless, leaving the subject to the discretion of the EC, the petitioner emphasised the need for introducing the VVPAT system in all polling booths to ensure transparency in voting especially at a time when there was a widespread scare that the electronic voting machines (EVMs) were not tamper-proof and could be tinkered with. Opposition concerns Leaders of Opposition parties had approached the EC in New Delhi on Monday to express concerns about the possibility of EVMs being doctored. They had demanded that the EC should ensure that 50% of the EVM results were matched and cross-checked with VVPATs before it declared the results in the Lok Sabha election.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/100-use-of-vvpat-for-lok-sabha-polls-ec/article26189172.ece

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