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21 April 2023: VVPATs: VOTER VERIFIABLE PAPER AUDIT TRAIL

VVPATs: VOTER VERIFIABLE PAPER AUDIT TRAIL

ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINE

  1. A cable connects the control unit and the balloon unit of an electronic voting machine. The control unit is with the presiding officer or a polling officer, and the ballooning unit is inside the voting compartment.
  2. EVMs use regular alkaline batteries with 6 volts. So, EVMs can be used even in places where there are no power connections.
  3. EVMs can only keep track of up to 3840 votes (more than sufficient for a polling booth).
  4. EVMs can handle up to 64 candidates at most. In a ballooning unit, there is space for up to 16 candidates. If there are more than 16 candidates, a second ballooning unit can be connected to the first one in the same way. In the same way, if there are more than 32 candidates, a third ballooning unit can be added, and if there are more than 48 candidates, a fourth ballooning unit can be added to handle up to 64 candidates. If there are more than 64 candidates in a particular constituency, EVMs cannot be used there. In this case, the traditional way of voting with a ballot box and paper ballots will have to be used.

ADVANTAGES 

1. By “booth-capturing,” people mean taking or damaging ballot boxes or ballot papers. This evil can’t be stopped by using EVMs because bad people can also take or damage them. But EVMs have been set up so that they can only record five votes per minute. Also, the presiding officer or one of the polling officers can always press the “close” button if they see someone sneaking into the polling station. Once the “close” button is pressed, there will be no way to record a vote, which will make it hard for the booth capturers to do their job.

2. The most important benefit is that it eliminates the need to print millions of ballots. This saves a lot of money on paper, printing, shipping, storage, and getting the information to people.

3. Counting is very fast.

4. Using EVMs speeds up the voting process because the voter doesn’t have to open the ballot, mark his choice, fold it back up, walk to where the ballot box is, and drop it in the box.

5. The result can be kept in the control unit’s memory for at least 10 years.

 

Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail

As the name suggests, the machine helps keep a paper record of the votes that have been cast. This machine from the Election Commission of India prints a paper slip with the name, serial number, and party symbol of the candidate a person votes for.

The printed slip is shown to the voter for seven seconds through a clear window on the machine. The voter can use the machine to check that their vote went to the right candidate. After the voter looks at the printed slip, it falls into a sealed ballot compartment inside the machine. Polling officials are the only ones who can use these VVPAT machines.

About the Election Commission of India:

1991-EC (Condition of Service of EC and Transaction of Business) Act or Election Commission Act

Establishment: January 25, 1950

  • The Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners have the same powers, the same salary, the same service conditions, and a decision by consensus.
  • Tenure: 65 years or 6 years, whichever is earlier.
  • Qualification: not written
  • ECI decides on disputes related to symbols in the case of a split or any dispute between groups within the party.

Evolution of the Election Commission

From 1950 until October 15, 1989, the election commission functioned as a single-member body consisting of the Chief Election Commissioner.

In 1989, the president appointed two more election commissioners to cope with the increased work of the election commission on account of the lowering of the voting age from 21 to 18 years. Thereafter, the Election Commission functioned as a multimember body consisting of three election commissioners. However, the two posts of election commissioners were abolished in 1990 and the Election Commission reverted to the earlier position. Again in 1993, the president appointed two more election commissioners. Since then and till today, the Election Commission has been functioning as a multi-member body consisting of three election commissioners.

INDEPENDENCE OF OFFICE

1. The chief election commissioner is provided with the security of tenure. He cannot be removed from his office except in the same manner and on the same grounds as a judge of the Supreme Court. Thus, he does not hold his office at the pleasure of the president, though he is appointed by him.

2. The service conditions of the chief election commissioner cannot be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment.

Limitations

1. The Constitution has not prescribed the qualifications of the members of the Election Commission.

2. The Constitution has not specified the terms of the members of the Election Commission.

3. The Constitution has not barred the retiring election commissioners from any further appointment by the government.

Reforms:

1. Appointments should be made on the recommendation of a special body made for this purpose.

2. Removal of ECs should be the same as CEC removal.

3. Need a cooling-off period after the end of the tenure