The Election Commission (EC) on Friday told the Supreme Court that the present method of counting the Voter-Verified paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips is the most suitable, days ahead of the Lok Sabha polls 2019. The affidavit was filed by the EC in response to writ petition, by 21 Opposition leaders, led by Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu who sought that VVPAT slips of at least 50 percent of voting machines in each assembly constituency be checked randomly in this 2019 polls.
In its affidavit, the Election Commision justified the existing system of random counting of the VVPAT slips from one polling booth per assembly segment. It said that the argument presented by the opposition does not hold any ground or base for altering the existing system at this juncture.
The poll panel on March 25 was asked to give its views on the increasing the number of random sample surveys from one booth per assembly segment.
In 2013, the apex court directed the EC to introduce VVPAT in the Lok Sabha elections 2014, to ensure voters' confidence and transparency in the voting system. The system was implemented to tackle the questions that were being raised over the security of Electronic voting machines (EVMs).
VVPAT allows a voter to verify its vote after they have pressed the button on the EVM against their chosen candidate.
The poll panel currently adopts a system of counting of VVPAT slips in one polling booth per assembly constituency in the Vidhan Sabha polls and in one polling booth in each assembly segment for the Lok Sabha polls.
For further security, the Election Commission has instructed the states to track the movement of every machine through GPS and to set up ‘EVM control room’ in every district for round the clock monitoring of the machines.
The next hearing of this case in the Supreme Court is on April 1.
Meanwhile, the country is all set to go into polls on April 11 with the counting of votes to take place on May 23.
(with inputs from PTI)