DNA EXCLUSIVE: Guj High Court has asked EC to clarify on VVPAT counting by Dec 12

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In its response to the High Court of Gujarat on December 12, the Electoral Commission has decided to maintain its decision to randomly choose and count votes from a verifiable paper voucher audit machine (VVPAT) in each constituency and make it coincide with the corresponding electronic system. voting machine (EVM).

Upon hearing a request seeking to manually count 100% of the VVAPT ballots and compare it with the corresponding EVMs, on Thursday the Gujarat High Court requested the Commission’s response on whether it had established a framework for the counting of VVPAT voucher samples. along with EVM votes randomly. or not.

The EC sources said that the Commission decided to do it experimentally, since it can not assume the risk of having more than one VVPAT per circumscription that could disorganize the counting process, create confusion and delay the results.

“Based on this pilot, we will be able to know exactly what the gaps and problems are and increase the number of VVPAT in future elections,” the source said, adding that the Commission had never said that the 5% VVPAT votes would be matched in the elections of Gujarat.

“The former CEC (Nasim Zaidi) has said 5% in terms of elections that will take place in the distant future, since he also knew that the EC first does everything experimentally and little by little increases the number and implements it”, said the source.

Sources added that in case of any dispute or mismatch of votes between VVPAT and EVM, the VVPAT count will prevail since it is documentary evidence. He also clarified that a mismatch will not mean that the votes of all the machines in the particular electoral table or electoral district will be counted physically.

“But pollsters can request the tally and correspondence of a particular VVPAT if they find a complaint from a voter that the button pressed in the EVM and VVPAT slip does not match,” the source said.

In an elaborate statement issued on Friday, the EC described in detail the complete framework of the administrative system, the security protocols and the checks and balances of procedures in Gujarat to avoid any possible misuse of EVM / VVPAT or procedural flaws in the use of EVM and VVPAT during the surveys.

“The Commission wishes to assure the people of the country that the Commission will spare no effort to preserve the purity, integrity and credibility of the elections and strengthen the faith and confidence of the people in the electoral democracy of our county.” He said.

On the day of the vote, the Presidential Officer will conduct a simulated poll by issuing at least 50 votes at each voting table in the presence of the electoral agents one hour before the beginning of the voting.

After the simulated survey, the Officer in charge will determine the result in the CU, will count the VVPAT paper sheets in the presence of the voting agents and will confirm that the results coincide for each candidate. All simulated survey data on VVPAT CU and VVPAT paper sheets will be sealed as simulated and deleted by the Presidential Officer and the empty distribution box verified by the Scrutineering Agents.

After the survey, the EVMs and VVPATs will be sealed in their respective transport cases and the voting agents will also be able to put their signatures on the stamps, which can verify the integrity of the seal before counting.

Candidates / representatives may also follow the vehicles (with escorts) carrying EVM and VVPAT from the polling stations to the warehouse count where the armed central police force (CAPF) will be on guard, the EC said.

No vehicle, including that of any official or ministers or any other political officer, will be allowed inside the secure campus where the EVM and VVPAT are stored and will be monitored by 24×7 video with an official officer together with a high-ranking police officer stationed in service throughout the day to monitor the security arrangements of the strong room.

DCs and SPs have been personally responsible for the safety of the room within the district and the meticulous implementation of the protocol.

On the day of the counting of votes, the room will be opened in the presence of the candidates / their representative, RO and observer in videography.

After completing the vote count, the Control Units and VVPAT will be resealed and returned to a secure location for secure storage for a period of 45 days to allow either party to seek redress through the courts.
The Commission said it trusts and is firmly convinced that no unauthorized person is allowed access to EVM and VVPAT before, during or after the polls. In addition, no EVM and VVPAT not accounted for can enter the ecosystem of choice at any stage, since all EVM / VVPAT activities are carried out in the presence of the interested parties and are followed through the ETS.

RULES OF THE SURVEY
Pollsters can request the counting and pairing of a particular VVPAT if they find a complaint from a voter indicating that the button pressed in the EVM and VVPAT slide does not match, a source said.