Pressing a button in the EVM will enable the voter know who he is voting for through a printing slip

The Election Commission on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that it would convene an all-party meeting in May after the Karnataka Assembly polls to decide on changes to be made in the electronic voting machine (EVM) for introducing the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system.

Under the system, a voter, by pressing a button in the EVM, will know the candidate to whom he is voting in an election through a printing slip which will display the name and go into a box. A light will blink and the name of the candidate, his party and the serial number will be displayed before the printing takes place in a device attached to the EVM.

Swamy’s plea

Senior counsel Ashok Desai made this submission before a Bench of Justices P. Sathasivam and Ranjan Gogoi, hearing a petition filed by Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy for a direction to introduce EVMs with voter verification slips. Dr. Swamy appeared in person in the case. The Bench recorded the submissions and posted the matter for further hearing on May 2, when the Centre would explain its stand.

Mr. Desai said the Commission had developed the VVPAT and field trials were conducted.

The Conduct of Election Rules governing the EVM had to be amended by the government before a trial could be made on introducing the new EVM in elections. The commission had also written to the Centre about the cost of the project — to the tune of Rs. 1690 crore — of installing the device in 13 lakh EVMs.

Dr. Swamy wanted the Commission to introduce the new system initially in a by-election. In his petition, he sought a direction to the Commission that in future election “if the Commission desires to use EVMs, to utilise such EVMs it should incorporate a paper trail and issue a paper receipt to each voter.”