- VVPAT stands for Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail which is an independent paper record of the electronic voting machine. VVPAT is connected with EVM through a printer port, which records vote data and counters in a paper slip to verify the correct recording of vote by EVM. Voters can verify their votes before casting ballots which helps to eliminate chances of electoral fraud and rigging.
- VVPAT is an independent verification printer machine attached to electronic voting machines (EVMs) that allows voters to verify that their votes have been recorded accurately.
- VVPAT Machines were first introduced in India in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and were introduced to increase transparency and eliminate doubts about the accuracy of the EVMs.
- VVPAT machines can be accessed by polling officers only.
- VVPAT is one of the most important devices introduced by the Election Commission of India in the field of Electoral Reforms.
- VVPT is useful for the visually challenged voters, illiterate voters and senior citizens who can’t read or write to check that their votes are correctly cast on EVMs and they don’t get any chance to question about it later. Every registered voter is not allowed to touch the EVM unless a ballot has been cast for that voter.
- According to ECI, EVMs and VVPATs are separate entities and are not connected to any network.
Benefits of VVPAT:
- If EVM is hacked the system should ensure that only in case of hacking there is a paper trail.
- VVPAT will benefit everyone because everyone has the right to know their vote. Further, it would help to reduce the chances of electoral frauds and rigging. It will also reduce stress on voters at the time of voting, who need not be tensed over electoral frauds and rigging.
- The VVPAT system gives confidence to the electorate that every vote is counted and it eliminates any chance of tampering with EVM votes. VVPAT ensures transparency as well as accuracy of the voting system.
- VVPAT is helpful for a voter to check that his vote is cast as per his wishes. VVPAT can be a great help for the voters who are physically challenged and cannot use EVMs.
- Voters can verify their votes before casting ballots which helps to eliminate chances of electoral fraud and rigging. Moreover, this system of paper trail makes it impossible for any person to escape from their responsibilities under the Electoral Act.
- VVPAT can be used where EVM cannot be used because of its weight or other issues regarding which there are some drawbacks in its use.
- VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) is a way of providing feedback to voters using electronic voting machines (EVMs).
- A VVPAT is an independent voting machine verification technology that allows voters to verify that their vote was cast correctly and audit the stored electronic results.
- It includes the name of the candidate for whom the vote was cast as well as the party/individual candidate’s symbol.
- The VVPAT helps to detect potential election fraud or malfunction in the Electronic Voting Machine.
- It provides a means to audit the stored electronic results. It serves as an additional barrier to change or destroy votes.
- The EVMs with VVPAT system ensure the accuracy of the voting system with fullest transparency and restores the confidence of the voters.
- EVMs and VVPATs also speed up the election process as counting votes on EVMs takes much lesser time than counting paper ballots.
- Technical Malfunctions:
One of the primary concerns with VVPAT machines is the possibility of technical malfunctions. The machines are supposed to print a paper receipt of the vote cast by the voter, which is then deposited in a box.
However, there have been instances of the machines malfunctioning, resulting in inaccurate printing or no printing at all.
- Verification of Paper Trails:
Another challenge is the verification of the paper trails generated by the VVPAT machines.
While the machines are meant to provide a physical record of the vote cast, it is not always clear how this record can be verified, especially in cases where there is a discrepancy between the electronic and paper records.
- Voter Confidence:
The reports of defective VVPAT machines have further eroded the public’s confidence in the electoral process.
The lack of transparency and accountability on the part of the EC has led to questions about the fairness and accuracy of the elections.
The SC in Dr. Subramanian Swamy v ECI (2013) held that VVPAT is an “indispensable requirement of free and fair elections”.