Lok Sabha elections: Election Commission moves to fix VVPATs for glitch-free 2019 polls

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2019 Lok Sabha elections: The Election Commission of India (ECI) is taking important steps to ensure that the crucial 2019 Lok Sabha elections to elect a new government in the country is held without any unnecessary hassles. Among steps that the poll body is taking include fixing VVPATs and improving its design before the countrys first 100% VVPAT-based general elections. According to a Times of India report, the poll commission is done with over 50 per cent of the Lok Sabha election preparation, including improvement in the machines design in order to avoid any malfunction on the account of light-sensitivity or humidity. The preparation of the 2019 elections is currently in full swing, even as the Election Commission has been approached by 17 political parties in order to revert to paper ballot for elections. In order to avoid any break down of the VVPAT machines, the EC has decided to have machines produced along with a hood fitted on top of it to protect them from any overexposure of light. As per the report, the design of the VVPATs was updated after nearly 11.6 per cent of the machines deployed for the Lok Sabha and Assembly by-polls malfunctioned in the month of May. Earlier in the year, nearly 20 per cent of the machines needed replacement in Kairana along with 19 per cent others in Bhandara-Gondiya parliamentary constituencies. Meanwhile, Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat has cautioned people against warnings that ask an electorate to vote for a particular candidate. While dismissing the claims, Rawat according to PTI stated, You have taken the money and cant fool us as the paper trail machine clicks your picture casting vote. Referring to rumour-mongering, CEC O P Rawat told PTI that those distributing cash to voters could threaten them saying that the paper trail machines take their picture while casting vote. The CEC said voters are made to believe that it would be known which button on the EVM was pressed. They tell the voters to cast vote in their favour in return of cash and if they do not wish to vote for it, they should not accept cash as the picture clicked by paper trail machine would expose them. He said this time around, the poll panel would launch a campaign to inform the voters that the paper trail machines do not breach their secrecy at the polling booth. What is VVPAT and how does it work? VVPAT or Voter-verifiable paper audit trail is a machine which dispenses a slip with the symbol of the party for which a person has voted for. The slip appears on a small window for seven seconds and then drops in a box. The slip is not meant for voters to take home. VVPAT or the paper trail machines are used in all polling stations. However, as of now, results of EVMs and VVPATs are matched in one polling station per constituency.