New Delhi: The Election Commission on Sunday said that the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPATs) will be used in all polling stations along with EVMs during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls to be held in seven phases from April 11. The counting of votes will take place on May 23.
The issue has been a contentious one, with opposition parties time and again alleging that EVMs are or at least can be potentially tampered with.
CEC Sunil Arora added that vehicles installed with GPS trackers and mobile-based tracking system would also be utilised for the transportation of reserve EVMs and VVPATs. “There will be very stringent security norms for storage, handling of VVPATs. After incidents, fresh SOPS issued for last mile transportation, including monitoring by GPS, including reserve too,” he said.
With this, officials said that the movement of EVMs and VVPATs could also be tracked, albeit at a cost. “It could lead to delays in declaring results,” admitted an official.
The poll panel has instructed that end-to-end movement of all reserve EVMs and VVPATs shall be carefully monitored at all times, for which vehicles of sector officers, with reserve EVMs and VVPATs, shall be fitted with GPS tracking system.
Last month, leaders from 21 opposition parties met the EC and raised the issue while arguing that these concerns were also present amongst voters. AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj told News18, “We have demanded of the EC, that any 20 percent of VVPAT slips in every constituency be verified with the EVMs results to remove any doubts about its functioning and efficacy.”