Election Commissioner V. S. Sampath on Monday said the Election Commission (EC) had an open mind on the use of Electronic Voting Machines and invited anyone having doubts to present them before it.

Mr. Sampath was responding to apprehensions expressed by the Telugu Desam and others over the vulnerability of the EVMs and the need for the EC to either remove these doubts or withdraw them from usage, at a function organised as part of the EC's diamond jubilee celebrations here.

Photo exhibition

The EC who earlier inaugurated a photo exhibition as part of the celebrations said bylections to the 12 Assembly constituencies in the State would be held before August-end.

Even while allaying the fears over EVMs, the Commissioner said the election regulator was prepared to address every genuine shade of opinion on improving the voting system. “We will take on board all good suggestions made to improve the system.”

At the same time, one should know that these machines were introduced way back in 1982 in a few polling booths in Kerala. Now two national elections had been completed using EVMs.

“Yet there are apprehensions in some quarters and we understand them. We treat EVM as evolving means of conducting elections and whatever doubts people have we are second to none in taking remedial measures.”

Voters' apathy

He said like all other things, EVMs too had undergone changes over a period of time for the better and if people still raised the issue of vulnerability and the way it could be tampered with, “We will remove them. They could come to us and demonstrate before us. We could show them to experts. We have an open mind and not a closed one.”

Mr. Sampath expressed concern over apathy among urban and young voters and appreciated Memoranda of Understanding entered between the Andhra Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer, I. V. Subba Rao, and the civil society organisations, universities and resident welfare associations for addressing such problems. These include JNTU, Anantapur, Mahatma Gandhi University, Nalgonda, Acharya Nagarjuna University, Guntur, Let's Vote and United Federation of Resident Welfare Associations. Earlier he inaugurated a photo exhibition organised in connection with the diamond jubilee celebrations.

Others who spoke were former Chief Elections Commissioners, B. B. Lyngdoh, V. S. Ramadevi, State Election Commissioner, Ramakanth Reddy,Director General,Election Commission of India, Information, Education and Communication, Akshay Rout and representatives of Congress, Telugu Desam, CPI, CPI (M), Praja Rajyam and Telangana Rashtra Samithi.

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