Despite cries for paper ballots from several opposition parties, the Election Commission has maintained that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are completely unhackable and therefore reliable. For the upcoming state assembly elections in Rajasthan though, the EC is leaving nothing to chance and, for the first time, will make use of 52,000 VVPATs (Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail).
The EC will make use of these VVPAT machines along with the EVMs in the Rajasthan elections scheduled for later this year. It is learnt that to make people more aware of the process of voting and to make them aware of VVPAT machines - especially those living in rural areas, the EC has planned to send out a mobile van with a demo EVM and VVPAT machine. There is an LCD screen placed on the body of the van which would show an informative clip on how to make use of these machines. The designated employees of the vans too would help people at large understand the process of voting. If requires, trial voting could also be done on these demo machines.
These vans would take specific routes through rural areas to spread awareness among villagers and would make stops at key centres like panchayat areas, village markets, outside government banks, bus stands, railway stations.
In addition to using VVPAT machines, the EC has also planned to provide every house with a coloured brochure as a 'Voter Guide'. This would be in Hindi, English and in local languages and will also make use of illustrations to provide voters with all the essential information they would require.
For the first time in the history of elections in Rajasthan, every booth will also have a help counter to assist people. The EC has also said it would provide essentials like drinking water, proper lighting, toilets, ramps for the specially abled and a proper enclosure to ensure secrecy during voting. In fact, each voting machine would be surrounded by a 30-inch tall voting compartment to remove any possibility of ascertaining who one is voting for from his/her expressions and eye movement.
Interestingly, candidates too will have to also furnish a 'No-demand certificate' which would essentially prove that they have not defaulted on payments of services like electricity, water, telephone, property taxes etc.
(With inputs from Deepak Goyal/Zee Media)