New voting machine with paper trail tested

July 26th, 2011 - 8:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Sohra (Meghalaya), July 26 (IANS) Braving the rain, people Tuesday participated in a mock poll in Cherrapunjee, one of the wettest places on earth, using a new electronic voting machine that gives out a paper trail as proof of the voting.

The simulated polling was held on the Voter Verifiable Paper Trial (VVPT) system. It was conducted by the Election Commission in 36 polling stations under Sohra assembly constituency.

“I found the new voting machine much more transparent compared to the electronic voting machines,” said Mary Queen Nongbri after exercising her vote in a VVPT system, developed by the Electronic Corporation of India Limited (ECIL).

Similarly, Wanropbor Umdor, who also tested the new VVPT system, said, “The new voting machine should replace the electronic voting machines to ensure free and fair voting.”

The VVPT comprises a printer trail unit linked to the EVMs using an EVM-printer interface.

There are two models. One has a closed printer unit where the voter can see the printed ballot that will automatically slip into a ballot box attached to the printer. The other model has an open printer from which the voter can get the ballot print-out and can put it in a ballot box.

However, M. Syiemlieh said the VVPT machine should be further tested as it often developed a technical snag when the ‘vote’ button was pressed.

Jopthiaw Lyngdoh, the district electoral officer, admitted that most of the machines developed by Bharat Electronic Limited had technical problems.

“Some voters could not get the paper slip,” Lyngdoh told IANS.

He, however, said the trial test for the VVPT was successful as there has been large turn-out of voters.

Currently, a VVPT-like system is used in Venezuela and some states of the US.

The VVPT trial was decided upon after the poll panel’s meeting with all political parties in October last year amid allegations that the EVMs are being tampered with to manipulate election results.

Various political parties have been demanding that the VVPT system be introduced for ensuring “free and fair elections”.

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