After VVPATs' technical glitches, makers eyeing alternative paper
After technical glitches in VVPAT during the recently held assembly by-polls, the makers BEL and ECIL are looking for alternative paper rolls to be used in the machine. It was suggested that heat and humidity might have caused problems during Kairana and Bhandara-Gondiya by-polls. The paper absorbed moisture which made the roll heavy and interfered with the machine's functioning, sources said.
Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machine is not a separate voting system, but just an extended feature of EVM. VVPAT is attached to the EVM. Once a voter presses a button on the EVM, VVPAT prints the details on a paper slip. The slip contains the name of the candidate and his party, through which a citizen can verify his/her vote.
For Kairana Lok Sabha seat, the Election Commission ordered re-polling in 73 stations. Re-polling was also done on May 28 in 49 stations of Bhandara-Gondiya and one in Nagaland. In all these places, the polling booth officers took a lot of time to understand the malfunctioning of VVPATs, which affected the voters' turn-out. In Kairana, 20.8% of VVPATs had to be replaced.
Just as the complaints in EVM and VVPATs glitches kept increasing, the Election Commission said it was an 'exaggeration of reality'. "The replacement of defective EVMs/VVPATs during actual polls is a normal process and does not vitiate the integrity or credibility of the poll process in any way whatsoever," a statement from EC read; after it was alleged officers took inordinately long.
To combat this issue, which unfortunately has become more persistent with every election, BEL and ECIL are looking for an alternative paper that is resistant to moisture, revealed an EC official.