Will Use Paper Trail (VVPAT) Machines in Gujarat, Says Election Commission

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Will Use Paper Trail (VVPAT) Machines in Gujarat, Says Election Commission

Slips from VVPAT machines can be used to double check on the announced results


New Delhi:  The Election Commission, which backed its Electronic Voting Machines through the recent allegations of hacking, today said it would use VVPAT or the Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail machines during the coming assembly elections in Gujarat. The first batch of VVPAT machines, it told the Supreme Court, will soon be sent to Gujarat.

VVPAT machines issue slips that show if a voter's choice has been correctly recorded in an EVM. In case the results of an election is questioned -- as happened  after the assembly elections in five states held earlier this year -- the VVPAT slips can be used to double check on the announced results.

Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party had approached the top court after the Uttar Pradesh elections, challenging the use of EVMs in the coming assembly elections in Gujarat.

The party, which was trounced by the BJP in the recently held assembly elections in the state, had alleged that EVMs used in the election had been hacked - a complaint that was soon picked up by the rest of the opposition parties.

The Election Commission had backed the EVMs through the controversy and even challenged all parties to try and tamper with the machines. It also turned down Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party's appeal that VVPAT machines be used for the civic polls in Delhi.

Mayawati's BSP  wants a return of the old-style ballot papers. The other petitioners had told the top court that VVPAT machines should be used.

The Election Commission told the court today that around 70,000 VVPAT machines are needed for the Gujarat assembly polls and by August 10, a thousand of these machines will be supplied to the Chief Election Commissioner of the state.

The Supreme Court said it was satisfied with the Commission's affidavit and wanted to close the case but Mayawati's party wanted adjournment by a day.  But the request was turned down. Chief Justice of India JS Khehar told the party, "Whatever you wanted, the Election Commission is providing. You can't waste the time of the court and it has become a habit now".


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