Prelims level : Governance Mains level : GS-II (Important aspects of governance, transparency and IR)
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Why in News:

  • The Opposition parties have decided to step up pressure on the Election Commission to verify at least 50 per cent of the votes polled in electronic voting machines with Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails.

Background: / Why the recent Demand for Paper ballot?

  • In the recent past, political parties have alleged that verdicts in state assembly elections which went against them were because the EVMs had been tampered with.
  • Recently, some opposition parties have demanded that Election Commission should return back to the use of paper ballots in elections. The demand for paper ballot arises out of the issues and allegations against EVMs.


  • The Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail is a method that provides feedback to voters.
  • It is an independent verification printer machine and is attached to electronic voting machines.
  • It allows voters to verify if their vote has gone to the intended candidate.


  • When a voter presses a button in the EVM, a paper slip is printed through the VVPAT.
  • The slip contains the poll symbol and name of the candidate. It allows the voter to verify his/her choice. After being visible to the voter from a glass case in the VVPAT for seven seconds, the ballot slip will be cut and dropped into the drop box in the VVPAT machine and a beep will be heard. VVPAT machines can be accessed by polling officers only.

Merits of VVPAT:

  • Ensure greater transparency.
  • Gives both the voters and political parties an assurance.
  • Enables to verify vote. Enables authorities to count the votes manually if there is a dispute in the electronically polled.

Demerits of VVPAT:

  • Technological glitches; malfunctioning due to extreme weather conditions and sensitivity to light. Other malfunctions: paper jamming, running of ink, running out of battery.
  • Made procedure complex which was otherwise simple- EVM being a single-programmable chip-based system, Added cost to the election process.
  • Storage concerns.

Way Ahead:

  • It is important for Election Commission to regain trust and confidence of all stakeholders in the election system in India.
  • Introduction of VVPAT is an appreciated move. However, lacunae in VVPAT technology should be immediately addressed. Measures include: making it independent of battery,include the usage of sustainable inks and reducing sensitivity to heat and light
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