No EVM-VVPAT mismatch found

The Election Commission of India’s exercise to match the electronic voting machine results with voter-verified paper audit trail slips before the declaration of the Lok Sabha poll results turned out to be a success with no mismatch being reported from anywhere in the country.

Of the 20,625 VVPATs that were tallied, there wasn’t a single reported mismatch, said the officials.

This was the first Lok Sabha poll where each EVM was 100% backed by a VVPAT. Physical verification of the VVPAT slips was done for five machines in each assembly constituency.

The physical verification of VVPAT slips with the EVM count was done for over 20,000 polling machines on May 23 before the declaration of the results as per the Supreme Court orders.

The CEOs said there was no report of any mismatch, which only reiterates that the machines cannot be tampered with, said the official.

The opposition had launched an aggressive campaign against the credibility of EVMs and VVPATs and had demanded 100% VVPAT count to counter alleged manipulation of the EVMs. They had even demanded last minute changes to VVPAT tallying process on the counting day, which the EC rejected.

Earlier, it was decided to match only one VVPAT for every assembly constituency, which was opposed by the opposition parties. The parties had gone to the Supreme Court, which ordered that VVPAT slips from five polling stations across each assembly segment must be counted in the LS elections.

The issue of EVM credibility and VVPAT auditing had been raised repeatedly by a number of parties. At the August 27, 2018, meeting that the EC had with all political parties, almost the entire opposition joined hands with the Congress to demand a return to ballot paper-based voting. Many political parties also suggested that VVPAT counting must be upped — from one polling booth per constituency to 10%- 30% VVPATs in a constituency — to put doubts to rest. Later, 21 opposition parties went to court demanding that the EC do a physical count of up to 50% VVPATs in each constituency.

The SC order of April 2019, however, kept the verification level at under 2% of the polling booths per constituency and observed that the increase in number of EVM  VVPATs was being done to ensure the greatest degree of accuracy and satisfaction in the election process” and to make the system foolproof.

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