Mr. Sampath, please stop playing dangerous game with democracy

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Save Indian Democracy <saveindiandemocracy.org1@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, May 8, 2014 at 8:37 PM
Subject: Mr. Sampath, please stop playing dangerous game with democracy
To: Save Indian Democracy <saveindiandemocracy.org1@gmail.com>

Dear Mr. Sampath,

It is destiny that has chosen you to lead India’s elections at a critical time in India’s history.   Groomed throughout your lifetime as a bureaucrat playing second fiddle to politicians, you do not seem to understand the significance of the position you are holding or the significance of the period in India’s history you are holding this position.    This is not about Modi, this is not about BJP,  this is about people’s will, this is about India’s democracy which you are entrusted to protect and execute.

It is said that a coward is more dangerous than a crooked.   The timidity EC has displayed during this election leaves a lot to be desired and questions your eligibility to the position of Chief Election Commissioner of this great country.  Your timidity may stem from your lifetime obedience to bosses,  or perhaps the truth in allegations of your disproportionate wealth and your alleged involvement in various scams from Coalgate to Airbus scams.

If in your mind you think you can play partisan with your responsibilities, please think again.  It only enhances those whom you try to suppress.   If you think the security cover given by corrupt establishment will save you after elections, please think again.   The rage of 1.2 billion Indians will not save you and your fellow commissioners.

Your actions are putting India’s democracy at a great peril that will have tremendous consequences.   Please recoup your sources and do your duty, as one great India’s figure said, Just do your duty, rest will take care of itself.

 

Regards,
Satya

Save Indian Democracy

Democracy Under Sieze – Anupam Saraph

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FIR for NaMO, how about FIR on CEC Sampath for lakhs of missing voters

FIR for NaMo for displaying symbol and carried over by channels.


How about  EC and Mr. Sampath who did nothing when literally lacs of voters are missing?   Between Pune and Mumbai up to six lacs voters?  Should there not be an FIR against Mr. Sampath?
 
How about Mr. Sampath who is supposed to refresh voter lists every 5 years and has done nothing?
 
How about Mr Sampath not complying with SC order to procure VVPAT (EVM with paper trail) and did nothing?
 
What about Election Commission did nothing when EC website showed results before starting counting in 2009? No investigation still today?
 
What about literally declaring Chidambaram winner after the opposition candidate was announced as winner in 2009?

What about Election Commissioner Chawla  taking health break and passing EC meetings details to Congress?
 
When Rahul Gandhi violated code of conduct,  was there an FIR?
 
What about when Islamist spread a message to cut Modi to pieces and EC did nothing?
 
The list goes on and on…..
 
Even if Modi made a mistake, why did the channels carry it?   Was he addressing a rally?
 
When lacs of crores are looted from the nation, there is no charge but here is cowardly EC that lost its bearings and placing the FIRs.    
 
I am not saying they they should NOT do what is necessary, but where have they done anything so far when elections were literally stolen.
 
Let the country men file FIRs and PILs against the incompetent and cowardly manner in which Election Commission handled it.

ECI is not upto task – worsening situation

Mr. Sampath, India’s future is in your hands

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Save Indian Democracy <saveindiandemocracy.org1@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 5:52 PM
Subject: Mr. Sampath, India’s future is in your hands
To: contact@saveindiandemocracy.org1

Dear Honorable Chief Election Commissioner Sampath,

The elections which destiny has set you to preside over is nothing short of historic.   What happens in this elections can be a turning point whether India will survive as one country and prosper or eventually disintegrate and mostly destroyed.
When our forefathers created the constitution they ensured that Election Commission of India is independent and will ensure free and fair elections.   Since independence, in spite of many shortfalls, Election Commission has protected the voters mandate for many years.    However, 2009 Elections  is a watershed of Indian democracy that will be remembered as a shameful episode of India’s Election Commission where it is alleged not just failed to do its duty but even participated in undemocratic to downright unlawful activities.
In the days coming ahead, India will watch whether the institution you head will keep up to the promises of founding fathers.   Will it again see the days of EVM fixers going for asking for a price from North East to Maharashtra to South India to fix the elections?   Will there be allegedly fraudulent reversal of vote such as that which made  PC Chidambaram a winning candidate?    Will it again see thousands of EVMs supposed to be have been used for elections found to be sold as scrap?    Will it see those who are alleged to be associated with subcontractors of the EVMs announce the precise election results even before Election Commission even start counting?   Will country see faulty EVMs such as that happened across Tamilnadu?

How will Election Commission account for the least secure EVMs used in ruling party Congress states be fair?  How will Election Commission account for the voting counts being found on Election Commission website even before Election Commission started counting?    How will Election Commission account for many leaders including those like Laloo Yadav himself inquiring price for fixing EVMs?  How will Election Commission account for those in power taking EVMs to their places for manipulations in North East?   How will Election commission account for reports that thousands of crores are allocated to manipulate EVMs in 2014 elections?

In spite of the failings in 2009, Dr. Qureshi who headed the CEC after 2009 elections has made a great turnaround overriding many challenges.   He has proven that a right leadership can change things in spite of challenges.  Will that continue under your leadership?
Will India survive?  It is in your hands and you will be responsible for it.
We wish you success.



Regards,

Satya
Save Indian Democracy
#evmindia

 

Bogus Voter Lists – the next biggest challenge after EVMs

It is believed anywhere up to 25% of the voter lists that are bogus in many constituencies in the country.   The hemorrhage of India’s electoral process over the last few decades, particularly since Indira Gandhi is so mind boggling.   Here are few things that would be of concern to anyone.  Delhi alone had about 14 lakhs bogus voters, 80,000 valid voter cards for dead people and a massive scam (see news item below) where ECI has taken action on 80 of their own officials.  If Delhi has such a problem, what about every other constituency in the country?

1) New Voter Lists:  From what we understand,  according to People Representative Act of India, ECI is supposed to create a block by block constituency list every 4 or 5 years.  To date such as country wide list has not been done during last 5 years.  See news items below on various scams in different parts of the country.

2) Atishay Infotech,  no information available on this sole company in country that prepares the voter lists:  The voter lists for the whole country is prepared by only one company located in Bhopal, MP called Atishay Infotech location.   I understand no one knows the details of this company.   What process was used to select this company?  How can we be sure there is no political influence and they are not compromised?   Who is auditing their work?  Given the corruption level in this country, how can we be sure they are not compromised (see below)?
3) Voter Lists provided by Atishay does not allow for any cross check:   Apparently, we can get a voter list from Atishay but they give block data without sorting by address so there is no easy way to cross check if all voters homes are covered.   More interesting is they only put 20 characters for the voter address to make it really useless for any analysis.   What is the motivation for this?   Is there a sinister design so as not to not allow cross check the data.
4) Process used to make the voter lists, done by political parties, not ECI:   Apparently the process used to collect voter lists is on the shoulders of political parties!   Each party submits voter lists and all the lists are combined with duplicates removed by an appointed State ECI/District Election Officer (additional Collector or District Collector) who coordinates  data entry of the voter list data.  They then send an electronic list to Atishay Infotech.   Atishay then compiles and send that list to ECI.    ECI argument is it is in each party self interest to actively get voters in the neighborhoods that are most likely to vote for them.  Here is catch.  Not every party necessarily has resources to get list of voters from all areas that would be of most favorable to them.    There is no check by ECI if all areas in constituency are covered.
Here are some recent news on bogus voter lists, scams, from New Delhi to Assam to Maharashtra.

Delhi hit by massive poll scam: Election commission unearths 13 lakh bogus voters and over 80,000 valid voter cards for dead people  

By KUMAR VIKRAM

PUBLISHED: 16:35 EST, 13 August 2013 | UPDATED: 16:35 EST, 13 August 2013

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The office of the Delhi Chief Election Commissioner has uncovered a massive electoral scam involving the use of forged documents to obtain voter identity cards for suspected Bangladesh nationals, 13 lakh bogus voters and inflated voter numbers per family in about 20,000 households.

Huge irregularities have been unearthed in the old electoral rolls of the city, resulting in the deleting of the names of about 13 lakh bogus voters from the old list over the last few months.

Surprisingly, during a revision exercise, officials found over 80,000 valid voter cards for dead people. The election office is now engaged in a summary revision. The Delhi Election Commission has deleted 13 lakh names as they were “bogus” voters.

 article-2392340-1B47A0F7000005DC-885_634x422

A number of complaints about fake voters registered by various political parties have been received in the run-up to the Delhi Assembly polls

“They are basically ineligible. Many of them are dead, many have shifted from their original place, and many are those who are already listed. There are instances in which people get new voter cards after shifting from one place to another but they don’t get their names deleted from the former place,” added the officer.

Dev said the revision of electoral rolls is still on and a final list will be published on September 2.

“So far there are a total 1.12 crore voters in the city after the deleting of ineligible names. We hope that about 2-3 lakh more voters will be added to the list,” he added.

In the latest case, officials found that forged Aadhar cards were used by a group of people suspected to be Bangladeshi immigrants. Suspecting this could be just part of a large-scale racket aimed at getting people unauthorised citizenship, an FIR has been registered and an investigation initiated.

The Delhi Election Commission has also started cracking down on officials suspected of involvement in various offences, including criminal offences. About 80 officials have already been penalised for various reasons, including for accepting bribes while on election duty.

The scams do not end here. Delhi state chief election officer (CEO) Vijay Dev told Mail Today: “Over 22,000 households with more than 20 members (per family) on the electoral rolls have been identified. Officials find this unusual and feel instances of forgery can’t be ruled out here.”

Speaking about the latest case of forgery, Vijay Dev said: “A large-scale scam by those having no identity cards can’t be denied in this case… We have lodged a case with the police and requested them to investigate further. There may be more people using forged identity papers or address proof to get voter identity cards. In the present case, 32 persons were found involved in forgery.”

Electoral officials discovered the fraud while scanning documents.

“While going through the documents, they noticed Aadhar cards ending with the same numbers. On closer inspection, they found that photocopies of the same Aadhar cards had been used with different photographs. For proof of address they had used the same electricity bills as well,” added Dev.

The officer said the involvement of Bangladeshi immigrants is strongly suspected. “It may be a huge racket. They look for Indian citizenship. And, after getting voter cards, they could have got genuine Aadhar cards,” he added.

Dev said that the Delhi Assembly elections are near and many complaints about fake voters registered by various political parties against their rivals have been received. There may be some politically-motivated complaints, but all are being verified.

Electoral officers detected another type of fraud related to the electoral rolls.

“This is a case of one building and many names. There are 22,045 households in the city with more than 20 members each. Out of these, 1,810 households have more than 50 members, which is very unlikely and forgery in electoral rolls of such households is strongly suspected,” added Dev.

The CEO is keeping close a eye on activities of officials deployed on election duty. “So far 82 officials have been punished. Many of them have been suspended and, in many cases, FIRs have been registered as they were found involved in criminal activities,” he added
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2392340/Delhi-hit-massive-poll-scam-Election-commission-unearths-13-lakh-bogus-voters-80-000-valid-voter-cards-dead-people.html#ixzz2epoRrpOV
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Assam Tribune masthead
Centre against deleting 40 lakh D-voters’ names

NEW DELHI, Aug 10 – Amid continuing violence in Assam, the Centre has told the Supreme Court that it would not be possible to delete names of 40 lakh doubtful voters from the State on the basis of their religious or linguistic profile as it would be unconstitutional, reports PTI.The Centre rejected the allegation of NGO Assam Public Works that over 40 lakh illegal migrants from Bangladesh had got their names entered in the electoral rolls and they should forthwith be deported.

In an affidavit placed before a bench of justices P Sathasivam and Ranjan Gogoi on Thursday, the Centre, however, assured the court that it was committed to weed out illegal migrants from the State.

The apex court, while taking on record the affidavit, posted the matter for further hearing to November 6.

The Centre said as a matter of policy it does not support any kind of illegal migration either into its territory or illegal immigration of its citizens to foreign territories.

“Curbing illegal migration into the country is a priority since it has serious security, economic and societal ramifications,” it said.

The government said it has been issuing instructions from time to time to all States and Union territories on the need to detect and deport Bangladeshi nationals found to be staying in India.

“Identification of persons with doubtful Indian nationality in the electoral rolls began with the intensive revision of electoral rolls in 1997-persons who could not provide evidence in favour of their Indian nationality at the time of verification were marked as “D” in the electoral rolls so as to indicate their doubtful/disputed nationality status and these cases were referred to the competent tribunal for determination of their nationality.

“Such D voters are neither allowed to contest elections nor cast votes during elections. The electoral rolls figures from 2005 are accurate and authentic.

“Any so called abnormal growth, in the electoral rolls does not imply that the rolls contain the names of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants and the contention made regarding presence of illegal Bangladesh migrants in the electoral rolls is completely presumptuous,” the Centre claimed.

According to the government, to curb illegal infiltration it has strengthened the BSF equipping it with modern and sophisticated equipment/gadgets; raising of additional battalions, intensified patrolling and taken up other measures.

It said 36 foreigners tribunals have been set up to detect, declare and deport foreign nationals who have illegally infiltrated into Assam after the cut-off date of March 24, 1971.

“The government is committed to the detection and deportation of illegal migrants of post March 24, 1971 in conformity with the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 and Foreigners Tribunal Order 1964 through the 36 foreigners tribunals,”it said.

Our Spl Correspondent adds: A Writ Petition filed by Assam Public Works on February 22 in the apex court has alleged that the voters list of Assam is infested with foreigners and as a result in the 2011 election, 18 seats were won by AIUDF, which favoured Bangladeshi foreigners and are likely to win 8-20 additional seats in the next elections, as the 2011 election trend suggests, unless the voters list is corrected before the next election.

The APW has pleaded for a direction to the Government of Assam and Government ofIndia to undertake the update work of NRC only after the completion of certain prerequisites.

The Economic Times

BJP alleges “manipulative revision” of voters list in Mumbai

PTI Sep 6, 2013, 06.24PM IST
(BJP today alleged manipulation…)

MUMBAI: BJP today alleged manipulation in revision of voters list in Mumbai, claiming names of valid voters in segments where Opposition had a good following were deleted on a large scale.

“In the Congress-held Mankhurd assembly segment 786 names were deleted, while in BJP stronghold Mulund, 35,714 voters were struck off the rolls,” BJP leader Kirit Somaiya said.

Congrats to ECI on VVPAT use at Noksen, Nagaland – report from EVM Activists

Congratulations to ECI on  successful VVPAT use at Noksen constituency in Nagaland.   Dr. Alok Shukla should be commended for his able shepherding this project under the guidance of Dr. Quraishi and the current leadership of Mr. Sampath.  This is one step further in  protecting democracy of our great country.
Below is report from the two observers representing EVM activists who visited Noksen, Nagaland during the elections.
VVPAT Nagaland Image1
VVPAT Nagaland Image2

Questions and Answers (note the red flag)

1) Why Nagaland?

ECI has to answer why Noksen was chosen to conduct this exercise. Travelling was a challenge and a test of patience. From Dimapur to Noksen HQ was 6 hours. Covering the 21 polling booths was impossible given the terrain. Longra, Noksen and Litem were covered. There was disturbance at Longra alleging that the voter slip did not match but that was taken care of by the forces and Magistrate. We were not there at that given time and subsequently the voters we spoke to did not express any dis-satisfaction. The entire exercise as we saw in Noksen Village was well managed. There were 2 VVPAT’s used. In all 42 VVPAT’s were used during the bye-election.   There were elements who were telling the voters to press the first button but the security forces were strict and kept the outgoing voters to move out of the compound.

2) VVPAT with Electronic voting machine. How much transparency?

The team were satisfied with the set up and the transparency of the printouts. 

3) Voter knowledge of the system.

Doubts are there as to some voters did not know where to look at the instant the button was pressed. 5 -7  seconds are pretty quick and if one is not prepared to look at that glass window right from the beginning it can be a missed opportunity.

4) How much efforts put in by the ECI and the political parties for voter awareness.

From what we gather 2 weeks were spent on informing the people as to how to vote. Whether all the polling booths got that info it is difficult to say as only 3 polling booths were covered by us. i.e. Longra, Noksen Village and Litem.

5) Satisfaction and trust expressed by the voters. Preferred choice of declaring results i.e.bycounting paper ballots or EVM count.

Overall voters did not complain. We did try to get a response on what is there preferred choice for declaring final result. 84 people answered us. 55 said paper ballots, 38 male, 17 females. Remaining 29 were happy with the EVM’s.

6) Security arrangements i..e Police, Video cameras etc.

No video cameras were there. Camera man was appointed. Security presence was very strong.

7) Any other deficiency observed during polls – THE RED FLAG

Yes and this is a very strong point. In the evening when the EVM’s and VVPAT were being taken away in the vehicle it was observed there were already a few EVM’s present in the van. During the day we got friendly with a security guy and we told him our background and our reasons to be here. Thus we were able to watch the sequence where the police and the ECI officials took control of the EVM’s from the returning officer of that polling booth. The EVM’s were placed in the vehicle. The security personnel and the ECI official went in that vehicle. Now the returning officer of that booth does not know if the vehicle was supposed to come in empty or with how many EVM’s. In this case the EVM votes and paper ballots were counted but in future exercises this will not happen. This particular movement appeared to be the weakest point at least from where we stood. What is the paper dynamics behind all this amongst the officials is not known to us. What happens to the EVM’s whilst in movement can be the suspicious moments???? Is the identity of EVM established? Even if it is, the DMM’s can be replaced. We need to know more on this.

8) What does the rules say if voter finds discrepancy between candidate voted and the print out?

The new rule 49MA reads: Where a printer is used, if an elector after having recorded his/her vote alleges that the paper slip generated by the printer has shown the name or symbol of a candidate other than the one he/she voted for, the Presiding Officer shall obtain a written declaration from the elector on the veracity of the allegation, after warning him/her of the consequence of making a false statement.

The Presiding Officer will then permit the elector to record a test vote in the voting machine in his presence and in the presence of the candidates/polling agents. If the voter’s allegation is true, the Presiding Officer would immediately report to the Returning Officer and stop further recording of votes in the defective machine. As per another section 56D introduced in the rule, a candidate/election agent can request the Returning Officer to count the printed paper slips in the drop box of the printer (VVPAT) in any polling station. However, such counting will be allowed only with the permission of the Election Commission.

A brief synopsis of the entire exercise at Nagaland as per Observers.

A piece of election history was made in the remote Tuensang district of Nagaland with the successful culmination of counting of votes today, i.e, on 7th September, 2013 for the bye-election to 51-Noksen (ST) Assembly Constituency, where poll was held on 4th September, 2013 using,for the first time ever, the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system with Electronic Voting Machines.

Under the VVPAT system, newly developed by the Electronics Corporation of India Limited and Bharat Electronic Limited, under the direction of the Election Commission and its Technical Experts Committee, a printer is attached to the balloting unit of the voting machine and is kept along with the balloting unit inside the screened voting compartment.

When a voter casts his vote by pressing of the candidate’s button against the name and symbol of the candidate of his choice, apart from the red light glowing against the name and symbol of that candidate, the printer also generates a paper slip containing the serial number, name and symbol of candidate for whom the vote has been cast.

This paper slip remains visible to the voter through a window covered by glass on the printer and after sufficient time i.e. 5 – 7 seconds, gets automatically cut and falls into the box permanently attached below the printer.

This enables the voter to verify and satisfy himself that the vote cast by him for the candidate of his choice has been actually recorded correctly for that candidate. In case of any doubt, these paper slips can be counted at the time of the counting of votes and tallied with the number of votes recorded in the control unit of the voting machine.

The poll on 4th September, 2013 as well as the counting of votes went off smoothly and without any problem. At the time of counting, the number of votes displayed in the voting machines against each of the two contesting candidates tallied with the paper slips generated by the printers of the VVPAT system on actual counting of these paper slips.

In the Nagaland by-election to Noksen Assembly constituency in Tuensang district of Nagaland on Wednesday, 70.3 per cent voters exercised their franchise through Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system for the first time in India.

State Chief Electoral Officer, Sentiyanger Imchen said 8,553 voters out of 12,088, cast their votes amidst tight security. Tuensang Deputy Commissioner T Mhabemo informed that no untoward incident was reported from any part of the constituency.

Tuensang Deputy Commissioner and DRO, Mhumbemo Lotha said that a total of 70.3 per cent exercised their franchise through the VVPAT without any problem faced by either the election officials or the voters.

He said polling in all the 21 booths ended peacefully in a free and fair manner, except for commotion at Longrah polling station due to alleged mismatch of a voter slip.

The security personnel in the booth resorted to blank firing in order to control the situation. The voting continued normally after the intervention of the sector magistrate, he said.

Out of the total 12,088 electorates, including 6,146 males and 5,942 females, only 70.3 per cent exercised their franchise in 21 polling stations spread over 19 villages in the constituency.

Three companies of Indian Reserve Battalion and CRPF personnel were deployed for security duty while the Assam Rifles provided ‘environmental security’ in vulnerable areas in the constituency.

The polling officials were strictly instructed to follow the ‘one man, one vote’ system with proper identity.

51-Noksen (ST) Assembly Constituency had 12088 electors distributed across 21 polling stations (including one auxiliary polling station). The two candidates who contested the said bye-election were – Shri C.M. Chang of Naga People‘s Front and Shri Luma Onen Chang of Indian National Congress. The counting of votes was conducted by the Returning Officer of 51-Noksen (ST) A.C. in the presence of Commission’s Observers and Counting Agents of both the contesting candidates. The details of votes cast are as under :

a) Total No. of electors : 12088

b) Total No. of Votes polled (including postal ballot papers) : 8553

c) Total No. of postal ballot papers rejected : 3

Shri C.M. Chang (NPF) secured 5708 votes, whereas Shri Luma Onen Chang (INC) got 2845 votes and, accordingly, Shri C.M. Chang (NPF) was declared elected by the Returning Officer.

Additional Notes on Nagaland Election:

Lok Sabha MP and NPF-led DAN candidate C.M Chang retained the 51-Noksen Assembly Constituency in the bye-election which concluded September 4.

In a straight fight, the results which was declared Saturday, C.M Chang defeated Congress candidate Liman Onen Chang with a margin of 2863 votes.

C.M Chang polled 5662 votes including 46 postal ballots totaling to 5708 votes while Lima Onen polled 2831 votes with 14 postal ballots in his favour totaling 2845 votes.

Out of the total 12074 voters (6142 males and 5932 females), 8493 had caste their votes and total postal ballot papers received was 60. The counting was held at DC’s conference hall Tuensang Saturday, with no untoward incident reported. 

It may be mentioned that earlier, in the February general election, C.M Chang polled 5602 votes while Lima Onen Chang who contested as an NCP candidate polled 4510.

It may be mentioned that Nagaland became the first state in the country to use a high-tech voter recording system, which leaves a verifiable paper trail of votes cast in the by-election to the 51-Noksen A/C.

During the counting of votes Saturday, the number of votes displayed in voting machines against each of the contesting candidates tallied with the paper slips generated by printers of ‘Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail’ (VVPAT) system on actual counting of these paper slips.

Rio congratulates ECI, state poll officials

Chief minister Neiphiu Rio and the state government has congratulated the Election Commission of India (ECI) and the state election machinery for conducting “free, fair and peaceful” bye-election to the 51-Noksen A/C.

In a statement Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) also lauded the people, civil societies and the mass based organizations for extending cooperation and ensuring conduct of successful elections.

CMO also expressed gratitude to the electorates of 51-Noksen A/C for reposing faith in the NPF-led DAN government’s official candidate C.M Chang who retained the seat with a bigger margin of victory.

The VVPAT (Voter verifiable Paper Audit Trail) system is launched ahead of its first use in Indian Parliamentary elections. The new system, an initiative of the Election Commission, will be used in the 51 Noksen A/C Bye-election on September 4th.

Marking a historical landmark for the Indian electioneering process, the VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trial) was first introduced to polling personnel in Tuensang, Nagaland by Dr. Alok Shukla, Deputy Election Commissioner. This was done during the first phase of training for polling personnel for the September 4, 51 Noksen A/C Bye-election at Chang Khulie Setshang Hall, Tuensang on Thursday.

Dr. Shukla stated that EVM’s were first introduced at Perul, Kerala in 1982. It was used in the entire country for the first time at the 2004 parliamentary election and this will be the first time since its introduction that an additional unit (printer) is added to the EVM.

He divulged that numerous tests have been done in all climatic conditions across the country resulting in 100% accuracy. He expressed confidence that the installation of the printing unit would be successful and enable voters to physically verify their candidate of choice.

As the voter presses the ballot button, the vote is recorded in the control unit and simultaneously, the ballot slip is printed. It will be visible to the voter for seven seconds through a small screen in the printer. The serial number and symbol of the candidate are printed in the ballot slip. Printing is done thermally and refilling of ink is not required. The ballot slip is automatically cut after seven seconds and dropped into the ballot slip compartment. The printer also has a paper roll compartment that supplies paper for the ballot slip. This compartment is not to be opened during the poll and an additional printer will be provided in case there is shortage of paper during the poll.

Shukla affirmed that counting during this election will be done by the machine. In case a discrepancy arises, a petition needs to be filled to the Returning Officer, after which manual counting of the ballot slip can be done.

The Union Law Ministry, which has amended the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, to allow use of electronic voting machines fitted with the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system, has introduced a new section to enable the voter to challenge VVPAT operation in case of doubt.

The new rule 49MA reads: Where a printer is used, if an elector after having recorded his/her vote alleges that the paper slip generated by the printer has shown the name or symbol of a candidate other than the one he/she voted for, the Presiding Officer shall obtain a written declaration from the elector on the veracity of the allegation, after warning him/her of the consequence of making a false statement.

The Presiding Officer will then permit the elector to record a test vote in the voting machine in his presence and in the presence of the candidates/polling agents. If the voter’s allegation is true, the Presiding Officer would immediately report to the Returning Officer and stop further recording of votes in the defective machine. As per another section 56D introduced in the rule, a candidate/election agent can request the Returning Officer to count the printed paper slips in the drop box of the printer (VVPAT) in any polling station. However, such counting will be allowed only with the permission of the Election Commission.

The EVM, fitted with VVPAT, is to be field-tested for the first time in the September 4 by-election in the Noksen (ST) Assembly constituency in Nagaland. Such machines will be installed in all polling stations.

 

Concept of VVPAT (for those interested)

The concept of Voter Verified Balloting was created by Rebecca Mercuri.

VVPAT is the acronym of “Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail” and VVBP is the acronym of “voter verified paper ballot”. The terms are equivalent and refer to a kind of “vote receipt” printed by an electronic voting machine that shows the elector his/her vote as it is being entered into the electoral system. The voter must be required to perform an action that confirms that their choices have been recorded correctly on the paper, hence making it a verified (rather than just “verifiable”) ballot in a legal sense. The VVPAT/VVBP is kept by the election official, as the record of votes cast, for audit and recount purposes. Verification of a small percentage of VVPAT should to be activated when elections are close.

I see the following points about VVPAT:

                •             the winner of the election is decided in the first count (probably the only count) which is based on electronic votes. Infact VVPATs are counted in the second count (recount or audit), but this rarely happens thus VVPATs will most likely not be used or counted. You are able to view the Paper Audit Trail, and make sure it is correct. You have no way of knowing what your electronic ballot says. You can feel relatively certain that if there is a hand recount, your vote will be counted properly. But since hand recounts are very rare, when you look at that piece of paper, you are not actually verifying your vote. There is still nothing to verify that your actual vote was correct.

                •             VVPAT recounts shouldn’t occur only when elections are very close.

Infact where deliberate fraud does take place, the magnitude of the fraud may not be small. And also the magnitude of accidental errors may not necessarily be small. Thus fraud and errors can produce very different results. Unfortunately many people, and state laws, only want recounts to be conducted when elections are very close. It seems that people are willing to do recounts in the case of small accidental errors but not to detect fraud or large errors!

                •             it is not possible to make a statistical “recount” of VVPATs by manually counting a small percentage of them and seeing if the result is more or less the same as the electronic one. Infact, as candidates of USA-2000 election well remember, elections can be very close and so a precise count of all the VVPATs could be necessary. Some legislations require a little 1% recount to validate electronic results!

Thus VVPAT can’t be used to verify electronic electoral results unless they are all counted. But if we really print and count VVPAT for each casted vote then we simply run a paper election which ballots are printed by machines instead of being hand written by electors!

                •             we double the efforts of each election, which is now made of an electronic one and a paper one

                •             we greately increase the election cost (try to imagine how it costs to buy and maintain a PC in each voting boot, plus the software, plus the network apparatus and lines, plus the high-tech skill involved, … and compare it with the cost of ballot papers and pencils!)

                •             we know from the beginning that the official result will always be the one coming from the counting of VVPATs. Infact we use them to confirm electronic results, thus in case of discepancies they surely win. Thus, what for do we also run an electronic election?

Thus we started looking for a way to verify electronic result and we ended up in the need of a paper election to confirm results of the electronic one! It’s great, isn’t it.

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Satya Dosapati
Save Indian Democracy
#evmindia