1. MARCH 2017
After the announcement of the results of the five State Assembly Elections (UP, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur) doubts were raised on the functioning of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). The Commission duly examined these complaints and asked for evidence and credible material information supporting the claims, but so far no evidence has been provided by complainants to ECI.
2. April 10, 2017
A group of thirteen political parties met the Commission and expressed certain reservations about the use of voting machines. Some political parties also raised queries about incidents relating to Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines used on March 31 during demonstration at Bhind, in Madhya Pradesh, and Dholpur, in Rajasthan, Bye-elections held in the first week of April, 2017.
3. MAY 12, 2017
Election Commission convened an all-party meeting to understand the concerns of political parties. The commission also issued a press statement and said “that all future elections will be mandatorily held with VVPATs”
4. HOW VVPATs WORK
The machine enables each voter to see for himself whether his or her vote has gone to the right candidate. As soon as the button is pressed on voting machine, name and symbol the concerned candidate will appear on the screen of VVPAT and paper slip bearing name and symbol will be dropped in a sealed box connected with it. These slips will serve as audit trail of the vote cast by voter on EVM.
5. DEPLOYMENT OF VVPATs
Funds for procuring the required VVPATs for 100 per cent deployment have already been sanctioned and production is expected to start in August, this year and will be completed by September, 2018. Also, India will become the first country to deploy 100 per cent VVPATs in the world, an element that was missing in many countries including Netherland, Germany and Ireland.
6. THE EVM CHALLENGE
The commission will start EVM challenge from June 3, 2017. The Commission will also offer opportunity to political parties to demonstrate that EVMs used in the recently concluded Assembly elections were tampered or that EVMs can be tampered.
7. WHO CAN TAKE THE CHALLENGE
The EVM Challenge is open for the national and state recognised political parties only which participated in the five States’ Assemblies Elections – Goa, Punjab, Manipur, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. The party intending to participate may nominate a maximum of three persons only to participate in the Challenge.
8. HOW CAN THEY PARTICIPATE
The parties willing to participate in the EVM challenge must confirm their interest to the commission by 5 pm on May 26, 2017 through the email and the details of the nominated members must be furnished.
9. CAN PARTIES CHOOSE EVM MACHINE
Each party will be allowed to choose a maximum of four machines from any four polling stations out of the five poll-gone States.
10. WHAT IS ALLOWED DURING CHALLENGE
Parties will be allowed to press any sequence of buttons on the control unit or voting machine or both. The parties can also use of any external wireless or bluetooth or mobile phone device or transmitter.