The Election Commission of India (ECI) will hold simulated elections in 36 polling stations in the city on July 24 to test the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system.

Introducing the new equipment to training officials at the Forest Headquarters, Vazhuthacaud, here, Deputy Election Commissioner Alok Shukla said the purpose of these mock elections was to test the system in realistic conditions and identify the feasibility of the project.

The VVPAT system is an additional unit attached to the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) for providing feedback to the voters. When a voter presses a button for the selected candidate, a ballot slip containing the candidate's name, serial number, and poll symbol will be simultaneously printed by the VVPAT system. This will enable the voter to verify the results.

The VVPAT system, produced by Bharat Electronic Ltd. (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd. (ECIL), is of two types — the open VVPAT system and the closed VVPAT system. Both have undergone extensive lab tests.

Dr. Shukla said both the prototypes would be used for the mock elections, and depending on the performance of the systems, the final decision would be made.

In the open system, the voter can access the printed slip which after verification has to be folded and dropped in the ballot box in the presence of the presiding officer. In the closed system, the paper slip will be locked behind a transparent screen that can be viewed by the voter for a stipulated time.

The commission has decided to involve college students and people who are interested, along with the voters, in the field trials. It will introduce video recording during these elections to analyse the voters' behaviour while using the VVPAT system.