Faulty EVMs: Voting Stopped in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh

Every Indian Vote Counts
Every Indian Vote Counts

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has refuted media reports that claimed ‘large scale’ failure of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs) in the ongoing bye-elections and interruption of poll in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.

In a statement issued today, ECI said that it allocates sufficient reserve of EVMs and VVPATs for every General / Bye election to the Lok Sabha or State Legislative Assembly.

Reports suggest that faulty EVMs and VVPAT were found in Uttar Pradesh’s Kairana and Maharshatra’s Palghar and Bhandara-Gondiya constituencies, and voting was stopped in the affected areas.

“It is pertinent to mention that during commissioning of EVMs and VVPATs, apart from EVMs and VVPATs required for deployment at every polling station, adequate number of reserve EVMs and VVPATs (around 20-25%) are prepared to replace any defective machine on poll day at the polling station,” ECI said in its statement.

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The statement added that these reserve EVMs and VVPATs are kept with Sector Officers, who replace the defective EVMs / VVPATs, if any report on non-functioning of EVM / VVPAT received from any polling station.

Since each Sector Officer is entrusted with only 10-12 polling stations, the time taken to replace any EVM / VVPAT at a polling station is normally less than 30 minutes. 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, ECI claimed.

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Further, according to ECI, the reports being aired in some news channels of polling being canceled in 35 booths in 11-Bhandara-Gondiya Parliamentary Constituency (PC) in Maharashtra, are not based on facts.

ECI adds that the reports emerging in some quarters about EVMs / VVPATs failing in 25% polling booths in the same PC are also incorrect. It is clarified that voting has not been canceled in any polling station in 11-Bhandara-Gondiya PC and voting is continuing smoothly after necessary replacements, where ever required, ECI stated.

However, as and when a report from RO / DEO / CEO regarding long interruption of polling is received, the Commission takes a decision on those matters on case to case basis, it was stated.

The Commission undertakes a comprehensive examination and root-cause analysis of all the defects observed in the machines through the Technical Experts Committee of the Commission and necessary remedial actions are being taken for smooth conduct of poll process, the statement claimed.

Photo courtesy: ECI

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Rakesh Raman