EVMs credible even without VVPAT, opposition’s demand for 50% paper trail unreasonable: Ex-CEC TS Krishnamurthy

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Published: April 15, 2019 2:00:32 PM

Television channels showed the former union minister getting into a car with a bandaged head and waving to onlookers wearing a blood-stained kurta.

A VVPAT is an auxiliary, independent device linked to an EVM to allow voters to see if the votes cast by them have gone to the right candidate.

Former Chief Election Commissioner T S Krishnamurthy Monday termed as ‘unreasonable’ opposition parties’ demand to verify at least 50 per cent of the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines with the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). He reiterated that EVMs are credible even without VVPAT. “And this has been confirmed not by me, but by technical experts, and nobody has still been able to find out any fault; there can be human errors in operating machines,” Krishnamurthy, who oversaw the 2004 general elections, told PTI.

Demanding 50 per cent paper trail verification, particularly in the light of the Supreme Court judgement, is unreasonable, according to him. Krishnamurthy was referring to the SC earlier this month directing the Election Commission to increase random matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs from one polling booth to five booths in every Assembly segment. “As far as VVPAT is concerned, the opposition, particularly if they lose elections, will say even 50 per cent is not adequate, and say 100 per cent is required”, he said. “This is unending game; it’s unfortunate, and I think the opposition parties should learn to respect the rule of law”, Krishnamurthy said.

“Even after 100 per cent VVPAT (verification), they will say VVPAT is not good”. He also warned against returning to paper ballot voting, saying it has been the most misused system. “I think political parties do not realise the dangerous consequences of paper ballot in a country like India where violence, hatred and hooliganism prevail during election time,” Krishnamurthy said. Several opposition parties, including the Congress, TDP, SP, CPI and CPI(M), said Sunday they will move the Supreme Court again to seek verification of at least 50 per cent of the polled votes against VVAPT slips. The demand by the parties comes days before the 2nd phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections on April 18, when a total of 97 constituencies across 13 states go to polls. The first of the seven-phase polls was held on April 11.

A VVPAT is an auxiliary, independent device linked to an EVM to allow voters to see if the votes cast by them have gone to the right candidate. The VVPATs are also meant to help detect any possible “election fraud” or malfunction of EVMs. The Election Commission of India has decided to use VVAPTs with all the EVMs in the ongoing elections.

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