New Delhi: The Election Commission will on Saturday hold a demonstration on the working of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and voter-verifiable paper audit trails (VVPATs) to calm down voices which doubt that these can be tampered with in favour of a particular candidate/party.
The Commission will also announce dates for an EVM-hacking challenge in the wake of Opposition concerns over the reliability of EVMs.
As per an Election Commission announcement, the live demonstration of the functioning of the EVMs and VVPATs will be followed by a press conference.
At an all-party meeting on May 12, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi had said a "challenge" was on the cards for political parties to prove that EVMs used in the February-March Assembly Elections were, or could be, tampered with.
It had also announced that all future elections will be held using VVPAT (Voter-verifiable paper audit trail).
A VVPAT slip allows a voter to verify if his vote has been rightly recorded by the EVM.
Several opposition politicians had alleged EVM-tampering in Assembly polls but the commission ruled out such a possibility.
Representatives of the Bahujan Samaj Party, Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, and Trinamool Congress had raised concerns over EVMs at the all-party meeting.
The AAP had welcomed the poll panel's announcement of holding an EVM challenge but insisted on the 'hackathon'. The party said given a chance, it can prove that the machines can be hacked.
While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist), All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Nationalist Congress Party and Janata Dal (United) clearly supported the use of EVMs, provided paper trail machines are attached to it, BSP, AAP, Trinamool Congress said the paper ballot system was better and more transparent.
The Congress was of the view that if EVMs are used there should be transparency at every level so that political parties and voters are separately convinced about the reliability of the machine.
It said the Supreme Court has been stressing on more transparency, which necessarily does not mean use of EVMs. It said the use of paper trail machines with all EVMs in future elections was fine.
The BSP and the AAP had alleged that the machines used in the recent Assembly Elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Goa and Punjab were tampered with to favour the BJP.
Later, several other parties had joined the chorus and urged the EC to revert to paper ballots.
In 2009, the Commission had held a similar challenge and it claims no one was able to tamper with its machines. Then 100 EVMs from various parts of the country were brought to Vigyan Bhawan here for the challenge.
(With Agency inputs)