The election commission had sought Rs. 3174 crore from centre to purchase over 16 Lakh VVPAT (voter-verifiable paper audit trail) machines to attach them to every EVM to be used in 2019 General elections. On April 19, 2017, the union cabinet has accepted the demand. The two immediate benefits of this were: it exposed the campaign that BJP has a sinister ability to hack EVMs; and it assures the voter that his vote has been registered as intended.
What happens when an EVM is equipped with VVPAT?
When the EVM is equipped with VVPAT, the voter’s act of pressing the EVM machine of his choice would cause a slip of paper to be printed inside the machine’s transparent window. This slip shows the voter’s electoral choice. The slip gets automatically cut and falls into a box inside the locked machine. It will lie there for 45 days after the results are declared; and can be counted if there is any dispute over vote count. Thus, VVPAT provides double-check on the veracity of the EVM machine. The voter is able to see that the machine has registered his intended choice and if for any reason, the machine malfunctions, it will have a physical record to access.
Trivia: First state in India to use VVPAT Machines
The first state to use VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) machines in India was Nagaland where VVPAT was attached to EVM machines during the 2013 Noksen Assembly constituency. In 2017, Goa became the first state in India where VVPATs were used in all 40 constituencies during assembly elections.