EC asks for VVPAT design improvement to withstand excessive light

EC asks for VVPAT design improvement to withstand excessive light

Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPAT) are set to go for a design improvement, as the Election Commission (EC) wants them to work seamlessly even when exposed to excessive light.

The EC has asked the manufacturers of the VVPAT devices to suggest design improvement for the apparatuses to make sure that they do not malfunction due to excessive light during polling.

A large number of the devices malfunctioned during the polling for the by election in Kairana and Bhandara-Gondiya parliamentary constituencies in Uttar Pradesh and Maharshtra, respectively, on May 28.

The poll-panel stated that the failures of contrast and length sensors were "caused by excessive exposure to illumination in the polling station".

The EC engaged two special teams to ascertain the causes of the failures of the VVPATs in Kairana and Bhandara-Gondiya.

During the polling in Kairana and Bhandara-Gondiya, the contrast sensors and length sensors of the VVPATs failed due to exposure to excessive light, resulting in auto-shutdown of a large number of the devices.

While 1705 VVPATs were deployed in as many polling stations in Kairana, 355 of them malfunctioned during the polling and the EC had to replace them.

Altogether 413 VVPATs out of the 2149 deployed in as many polling stations in Bhandara-Gondiya malfunctioned and had to be replaced. The poll-panel had to conduct re-polling in 122 polling stations in the two constituencies.

Some VVPAT devices also malfunctioned during the drill held before the actual polling in both the constituencies.

The EC on Friday stated that it had asked the manufacturers and the Technical Expert Committee to suggest "additional design improvements as well as suggestions on any layout changes in the polling stations to prevent excessive exposure to illumination" during polling.

The EC has adopted suggestions recommended by its Technical Expert Committee to prevent auto shutdown of the VVPATs when exposed to excessive light.

Like the EVMs, the VVPATS are also manufactured by two public sector undertakings — Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL).

The commission also decided that the poll officials should undergo better training, so that failures due to human errors could be minimised.