The state election department has procured 73,000 new Electronic Voting Machines (EVM),which have in-built time devices for recording the time of every vote cast that can be cross verified at the time of vote-counting.
The new EVMs with in-built clocks will help in taking the electoral process one step ahead towards eliminating malpractices. The system will record the times of the first and last vote cast. The time can be cross checked while the votes are counted, said Debashis Sen,Chief Electoral Officer (CEO).
In the last election,Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee blamed the EVMs for her poor performance,saying that these machines have been manipulated by CPM cadres in collusion with the state machinery. Banerjee claimed that all the EVMs were tampered with and she had submitted ample evidence of the tampering.
Sen said the latest EVMs cannot be manipulated as the time between two consecutive votes will be recorded in the system. The machine should ensure smooth flow of voting. He said in the last elections several polling booths were jammed by hooligans,due to which several instances of rigging were reported.
Other than having in-built timers,the EVMs are Braille embossed on the balloting units,so that,the visually handicapped voters could cast votes on their own.
Moreover,the EC is in the process of printing ballot papers in Braille for making the visually challenged voters capable of finding their ballots on their own.
As per Sen,the Election Commission (EC) has advertised for inviting the institutions and organisations having ballot printer. Sen said the EC has approached the Narendrapur Ramkrishna Mission that has a separate institution for visually challenged people and Blind Persons Association,an NGO.
Meanwhile Sen said the new EVMs have been procured from Electronics Corporation India Ltd (ECIL),a Government of India undertaking company located in Bangalore.
All the 73,000 machines have been dispersed to several district headquarters in the state. At present,around 100 engineers from the factory are checking the machines in various district head quarters, said Sen.
The new EVMs are more user-friendly and will indicate the level of battery charge when they are switched on.