SC directs EC to increase random checking of VVPAT slips

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New Delhi: The Election Commission said on Monday it will make all-out efforts to implement the directions of the Supreme Court to increase random matching of EVM results with paper trail machine slips from one polling station per assembly seat to five “with immediate effect”.
The Supreme Court Monday ordered the Election Commission to increase random sampling of EVMs using VVPAT from the current one EVM per assembly segment to 5. The order comes on a plea filed by 21 Opposition parties that have sought directions to the poll body to randomly verify at least 50 per cent of electronic voting machines (EVMs) using voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) slips in the assembly and general elections beginning Thursday.The Supreme Court said it is increasing sample verification of VVPAT slips keeping in mind confidence of voters and credibility of electoral process.

In the earlier hearings, the Election Commission told the bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi that it was in the favour of continuing the existing system of random checking of VVPAT slips from one EVM per assembly segment for the Lok Sabha and assembly polls. It also said the results would be delayed by six whole days if the Opposition parties’ demand is met.

It was advanced on behalf of the petitioners that the ECI’s contention of 50% VVPAT verification delaying the declaration of results by 6 days is premised on the assumption that even after the EVMs are so increased from more than 1, only 1 person, as is the case at present, shall continue to count the VVPAT slips of each of those EVMs one after the other- “As per the ECI, if 1 VVPAT slip verification in 1 polling booth requires 1 hour, 125 polling booths would need 125 hours, which would be 5.2 days”

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