Checks against EVM misuse in place in Gujarat: EC

Checks against EVM misuse in place in Gujarat: EC

The Election Commission on Friday said elaborate arrangements were in place to prevent misuse of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the Assembly elections in Gujarat starting Saturday.

With the Opposition Congress doubting the credibility of the EVMs in the BJP-ruled state, the EC said it had readied an elaborate framework of administrative systems, security protocols and procedural checks and balances to curb malpractices and procedural lapses in the use of the machines.

The first-phase of polling will take place on Saturday and the second phase on December 14.

"The Commission is confident and has firm conviction that no unauthorised person is allowed access to the EVMs and the VVPATs (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail devices) before, during or after the polls," the EC stated on the eve of the first-phase of polling in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home-state.

"Besides", it added, "no unaccounted EVMs and VVPATs can enter the election ecosystem at any stage, since all activities involving the EVMs and VVPATs are done in the presence of the stakeholders and tracked through the ETS or EVM Tracking Software."

The efficacy of EVMs were questioned by the Opposition parties earlier this year after the BJP's landslide victories in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarkhand.

The EC on Friday reassured "people of the country" that it would "leave no stone unturned in preserving the purity, integrity and credibility of the elections and reinforcing the faith and trust of the people in electoral democracy".

The poll panel deployed VVPATs in all the 50,128 polling stations in Gujarat, excluding Auxiliary Polling Stations, in order to provide cent per cent voter verifiability and auditability of every vote cast through the EVM. The VVPAT enables the voter to verify instantly that the vote cast by him has been recorded correctly in favour of the candidate of his choice, thereby injecting greater transparency and credibility into the whole voting process, the EC noted.

Foolproof mechanism

The EC stated that the safeguards comprised of the First Level Checking (FLC) of all the EVMs and VVPATs, strict regime of Mock Polls conducted on each and every EVM and VVPAT, Candidate Setting and Poll Day (before the beginning of actual polls), two-stage randomisation of   EVMs and VVPATs, stringent security protocols for storage of the EVMs and VVPATs before, during and after the polls, and comprehensive videography and CCTV coverage of all the EVM and VVPAT related activities and storage in strongrooms.

"It is pertinent to highlight that all the above election-related activities are carried out in the presence of the representatives of political parties and candidates or election agents," said the poll panel.

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