VVPAT and EVM counting rules, process, method: As the counting process for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections is scheduled to take place on May 23 starting 8 am, the Election Commission (EC), this year, introduced Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT).
On Tuesday, 22 Opposition parties approached the Election Commission and drew its attention to reports of what they called suspicious EVM movements and demanded verification of VVPAT slips before the counting of votes and not later. The Commission, however, dismissed allegations of EVMs being switched and said the machines used in the Lok Sabha elections were “absolutely safe” in strongrooms.
With VVPAT counting, the results on May 23 are likely to get delayed by five to six hours. As per EC’s submission in the Supreme Court recently, it takes about an hour for election officers to match VVPAT slips with EVM count in one polling station, which is the current practice. VVPAT slip counting can only begin after EVM votes for the concerned polling station have been tabulated. So, for five polling stations, it would mean a delay of five hours in all.
Here’s how EVM and VVPAT are different
The EVM allows everyone to cast their votes without revealing their identity and has two separate parts: the control unit and balloting unit.
The control unit, known as the ‘brain’ of the EVM is kept with the Election Commission-appointed polling officer, who turns it on by pressing the ‘ballot’ button.
The balloting unit is kept in the voting compartment. Citizens cast their votes by pressing a button against the name and party symbol of their candidate.
While VVPAT, which has a single voting system, is only an extended feature of EVM.
VVPAT is attached to the EVM. Once a voter presses a button on the EVM, VVPAT prints the details on a paper slip. The slip contains the name of the candidate and his party, through which a citizen can verify his/her vote.
The EVMs will be inspected before the counting starts. This will be done in the presence of the Returning Officers.
Contesting candidates along with their counting agents or election agents have the right to be present at the counting centers. Counting agents oversee the counting of votes.
Postal ballot papers will be counted first after that starts the EVM counting. Counting is done under the supervision and direction of the Returning Officer.
In case of destruction or loss of ballot papers at the time of counting, the Returning Officer will immediately report the matter to the Election Commission.
Depending on the situation, the ECI may allow the counting to be completed or declare the poll to be void and order repolling.
If the counting ends without any complain or in the absence of any direction from the ECI, the Returning Officer declares the result on completion of counting.