The Election Commission is planning an open challenge for scientists, technologist & political parties in India next month to prove the authenticity of Electronic Voting Machines(EVM), reports said.
The row over EVMs was kicked up by BSP chief Mayawati during the Uttar Pradesh elections after her party was defeated by the BJP, other parties too joined the debate later to put the blame on EVMs for their poor show.
The EVM debate in India took a violent turn today as angry protesters went on a rampage in Kashmir reportedly stealing at least sixteen EVMs and damaging over 33 EVMs during protests, media reports said.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal joined the debate recently declaring that the EVMs which are to be used for the Delhi municipal polls do not have any security feature and can be easily tampered. The Election Commission was quick to dismiss the allegation of "manipulation".
In fact, the Election Commission has repeatedly said that EVMs are "fully tamper-proof, as ever" but political parties and several activists have often said it can be manipulated.
Based on consultations with political parties in 2010, the Election Commission had explored the use of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) with a view to enhance transparency.
In VVPAT, a paper slip is generated bearing name and symbol of the candidate along with a recording of a vote in Control Unit, so that in case of any dispute, a paper slip could be counted to verify the result being shown on the EVM.
A printer is attached to the balloting Unit and kept in the voting compartment. The paper slip remains visible on VVPAT for 07 seconds through a transparent window.
In June 2014, the Commission proposed to implement VVPAT at every polling station in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and sought Rs 3,174 crore for the same from the Law Ministry.
The Commission had earlier this month informed the Supreme Court that it will get the 15.5 lakh VVPATs manufactured in 30 months from the time of the release of fund by the government.