EVMs for assembly polls checked in parties’ presence: Quraishi

March 2nd, 2011 - 1:53 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 1 (IANS) The first check of electronic voting machines (EVMs) to be used during the April-May assembly polls in four states and a union territory has been done in the presence of political parties, Chief Election Commissioner S. Y. Quraishi said Tuesday.

“The commission has issued a new set of instructions with regard to the first level check of EVMs, that will be used in the polls. The first level check of such EVMs has been done in the presence of representatives of political parties,” Quraishi said at a press conference in which he announced schedule of assembly polls in Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal and Puducherry.

He said a two-stage randomisation of EVMs will be done.

“In the first stage, all the EVMs stored in the district storage centre will be randomised by the district election officer (DEO) in the presence of the representatives of the recognized political parties for constituency-wise allocation,” he said.

He added that EVMs will be prepared in presence of candidates and they can satisfy themselves in every manner about the functionality of the EVMs.

After the EVMs in a constituency are prepared for poll by the returning officer and the ballot units are fitted with ballot papers, the machines will again be randomised to decide the actual polling stations in which they will be ultimately used, Quraishi said.

The second stage randomisation will be done in the presence of general observers and candidates or their election agents, he added.

The election commission has been receiving suggestions to improve process concerning EVMs and among the proposals made is of voters being given slips in the form of acknowledgement of their having cast vote.

Commission officials said that the new instructions for first-level check of EVMs had been issued to make the process more open and transparent.

While Tamil Nadu (234 seats), Kerala (140) and Puducherry (30) will have single-phase voting each April 13, Assam (126 seats) will see voting on April 4 and 11.

Polling for the 294-member West Bengal assembly will be spread over six phases - April 18, 23 and 27 and May 3, 7 and 10.

The vote count in all five states will take place May 13.

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