Poll panel begins mock testing of EVMs

Poll panel begins mock testing of EVMs

Machine is reset and sealed after test in presence of party reps

Poll panel begins mock testing of EVMs

Amid high-volume campaigning for the elections, the Election Commission has quietly commenced mock polls to test the functioning of the electronic voting machines (EVMs).

Karnataka will require 85,650 EVMs, of which 67,650 will come from Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh and the remaining 18,000 will be procured from Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and defence PSU Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL). EVMs have started arriving in the state in batches. Teams from BEL, which manufactures the EVMs, are carrying out first-level checks.

District-wise mock polls have been initiated and they were done in Bengaluru Rural district on Wednesday, sources said.

"A key protocol followed during the mock poll is that 1,200 votes will be cast on an EVM that is chosen randomly," an official explained. "The functioning and fitness of an EVM can be determined only when 1,200 votes are cast."

Mock polls are being done in the presence of representatives of political parties, sources said.

The ruling Congress has asked its booth-level agents to monitor the mock polls carefully. "Once mock polls are done, the EVM has to be sealed off. If the EVM is not reset, votes cast during the mock poll will add to the actual votes, which could lead to unfair results," Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president G Parameshwara had cautioned party workers recently.

The 2018 polls will see the introduction of VVPAT, in which voters can see the votes they cast on a printout. The VVPAT prints a physical slip that is displayed for about six seconds, allowing the voter to verify the vote. The Election Commission of India will deploy 73,700 VVPATs for the polls.

Karnataka has 4.96 crore voters, including 15.42 lakh who will exercise their right for the first time. The office of the chief electoral officer has launched two public contests - to write an inspiring slogan and design an attractive poster that can encourage citizens to come out and vote.