Sinlung /
07 March 2014

Paper trail to be used in Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya

The voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) system will be used for the first time in the Lok Sabha elections in Nagaland, Mizoram and in one of the two constituencies in Meghalaya, an election official said Thursday.

"We have decided to use the VVPAT system in Nagaland, Mizoram and in Tura parliamentary constituency in Meghalaya for the Lok Sabha elections after much deliberation," Election Commissioner H.S. Brahma told IANS by phone from New Delhi.

Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram go to polls April 9 along with Arunachal Pradesh and one parliamentary constituency in Manipur.

Brahma said the paper trail system was experimented with in 10 of the 40 assembly constituencies in Mizoram besides one assembly constituency in Nagaland.

Induced by experimentation, the Election Commission has ordered 20,000 VVPAT systems to be used in parliamentary constituencies across India during the elections.

The commission is likely to receive these new systems by March 31.

The commission had first tested the VVPAT system in Meghalaya's Cherrapunjee in 2011 and 2012 after repeated allegations that the electronic voting machines (EVMs) are being tampered with to manipulate results.

Under the VVPAT system, when a voter presses a button on the EVM to select the candidate he wants to vote for, a slip of paper bearing the name and symbol of the party will briefly appear for about 10 seconds, after which it will fall into a secure box, thus maintaining a paper trail of all the votes cast.

At present, there are 600 units with the Election Commission.

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

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