DNA Explainer: Here's how VVPAT works and adds credibility to the EVM machines

To maintain the credibility of Electronic Voting Machine, the help of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail Machine, popularly known as VVPAT is taken.

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(Image Source: IANS)

Assembly Election Result 2022: Today is the counting day for the Assembly Elections held in five states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur. Which ever party wins or losses, undoubtedly today's hero is none other than the EVM and VVPAT machine. 

Everyone's eyes are on these machines as the fate of many leaders and political parties are locked in them. Once these machines are opened some will have reasons to smile, while some may not prove to be that lucky. But whatever may be, EVM and VVPAT machines are sure to steal the show for the day.

What is VVPAT machine?

To maintain the credibility of the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM), the help of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail Machine, popularly known as VVPAT is taken. The questions on the credibility of EVMs gave birth to VVPATs.

These machines are linked with the EVM machine. The voter can visually see for seven seconds who he has voted for, that is, his vote has been cast accordingly. A slip of paper is generated from the VVPAT immediately after casting the vote.

The name and election symbol of the candidate who has been voted for is printed on it. From this one comes to know that to whom one has casted his/her vote has received it or there is some mismatch. This arrangement is also made so that in case of any dispute, the slip can be matched with the vote lying in the EVM.

Read | Assembly Election Result 2022: When and where to watch LIVE counting of votes for 5 states

How does the VVPAT work?

The voting in India is done using the EVM designed with two units, the control unit and the balloting unit.

The balloting unit of the machine has a list of candidate names and party symbols with a blue button next to it.

The voter can press the button next to the candidate's name they wish to vote for in the EVM machine.

When the voter casts the vote on the EVM, printer-like VVPAT apparatus linked to the EVM generates a slip.

The slip generated shows serial number, name and symbol of the candidate to whom the vote was cast.

With this slip, the voter can verify his casted vote. The slip is displayed for 7 seconds before it automatically cuts.

The slip, once viewed, is cut and dropped into the drop box in the VVPAT machine and a beep will be heard.

The VVPAT machines can only be accessed by the election officers in the rarest of rare cases.

VVPAT made from private company

The Election Commission rejected the government's proposal, in which it had advised to buy VVPAT machines from the private sector.

The Election Commission had then told the government that if this happens, then there will always be an issue of trust deficit.

Who makes the VVPAT machines?

Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) Bangalore and Electronic Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) Hyderabad designed this machine in 2013. 

Both are Government of India undertakings. BEL is an organisation manufacturing military, civilian equipment and plants under the Ministry of Defence.

ECIL is an undertaking of the Department of Automic Energy. Questions were raised on the EVMs and VVPATs manufactured by these companies.

Where was it first used?

It was first used in the Nagaland elections in 2013. After this, the Supreme Court ordered the Central government to make VVPAT machines and provide money for it.

BEL manufactured 33,500 VVPAT machines in 2016. It was used in Goa elections in 2017. EC used 52,000 VVPATs in the five state assembly elections held in 2017.

However, the Election Commission had decided in June 2014 itself that VVPATs would be used at all polling stations in the Lok Sabha Elections of 2019.

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