Verification of EVM and VVPAT Units

Context

In the 2024 elections, 11 candidates have applied to verify the memory of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) units. The Supreme Court introduced this verification option for losing candidates (those placed second and third) in the Association for Democratic Reforms vs. Election Commission of India, 2024 case.

Key Points

  • Burnt Memory: This refers to non-volatile memory that is programmed once and cannot be altered afterwards, akin to Read-Only Memory (ROM).
  • Microcontroller: A small computer on a single integrated circuit.

Guidelines for the Verification Process

  • Eligibility: Only the candidates who finished in second and third place in an election can apply for verification.
  • Scope: Up to 5% of EVMs and VVPATs from each constituency can be checked. If both second and third-place candidates apply, each can verify 2.5% of the units.
  • Application: Candidates must submit a written request to the District Election Officer (DEO) within 7 days of the result declaration.
  • Fee: A deposit of Rs 40,000 (plus 18% GST) per EVM set must be paid to the manufacturer. If tampering is detected, the deposited amount will be refunded.
  • Timing: The verification process starts 45 days after the result declaration to allow time for election petitions. If petitions are filed, the process will be delayed until court orders are received.
  • Technical SOP: The Election Commission of India (ECI) will release a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the verification process, which will be conducted by engineers from the EVM manufacturers.

Administrative SOP

  • Oversight: The DEO will oversee the entire verification process.
  • Location: Verification will occur at the manufacturer’s facilities under strict security.
  • Restrictions: No electronic devices will be allowed during the verification process.
  • Outcome: Verification results are expected to be available by mid-August 2024.

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