A pilot project launched by the state’s chief electoral officer will enable the electorate in 13 Assembly pockets to verify whether their votes have been cast to the right candidate.
Moving towards a more accountable polling process, a voter-verified paper audit trial (VVPAT) will be attached to the electronic voting machine (EVM) and print each vote so that it can be double-checked exclusively by the voter While the pilot project was first launched during the Lok Sabha elections in eight constituencies in the country — Lucknow, Gandhinagar, Bangalore South, Chennai Central, Jadavpur, Raipur, Patna Sahib and Mizoram — this time it will be tested in 13 Assembly segments in the state.
The 13 pockets are Wardha, Amravati (2 pockets), Yavatmal, Chandrapur, Nashik (3 pockets), Aurangabad (3 pockets) and Ahmednagar (2 pockets). Being relatively less populous, these Assembly constituencies were identified to test the VVPAT, Election Commission officials said.
Deputy Chief Electoral Officer A N Valvi said, “The VVPAT will print out a piece of paper each time a vote is cast. It will show the party’s symbol and serial number of the candidate for the voter’s confirmation. The slip will then automatically get deposited in a locked box attached with the EVM. In case of future allegations of bogus votes or wrong counting, these slips will give the final word.”
Currently, the expenses in setting up the entire process involve only the cost of the battery and paper. Shekhar Chane, suburban collector in Mumbai, said: “Such a process will also build the voter’s confidence that there is no tampering with the voting machine. Apart from the voter, no one can see what is printed on the slip immediately after the vote is cast, thus ensuring the secrecy of the vote.”