The Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines, used on a trial basis in the Bangalore South Lok Sabha constituency for the first time, functioned smoothly barring instances of some machines having to be replaced because of printer malfunction. A large number of voters, however, learnt about this new facility only after coming to the booth on Thursday.
Chief Electoral Officer, Karnataka, Anil Kumar Jha said 55 machines that had printing problem were immediately replaced but voting was not affected.
Most booths in the constituency had banners on display that explained the working of the VVAPT machine and its purpose — to allow voters to verify if their vote is cast correctly through display. However, polling officers in most stations were seen explaining to voters what the machine kept next to the EVM was and urging them to see the display.
“People get confused because there is a 7-second gap between the pressing of the button and the beep sound being heard,” said a polling officer at Banashankari III Stage. Many voters were confused if their vote was cast at all because of this lag. “Has my vote been registered?” was a common question asked by voters.
A polling officer in Yarabnagar ward said they conducted a mock poll on Thursday just before the voters came in. As many as 50 votes were cast to check if the VVPAT machines were displaying the correct symbol, he said.
Even those who were not aware of the VVPAT were happy with this verification facility. Deepika S. Murthy, a resident of Banashankari II Stage, said: “I wasn’t aware of the machine, but when I cast my vote, I could see the party symbol and the name of the candidate I voted for, and it was reassuring.”
Ranjitha B.V. (22), an MCA student at Shankarapuram, was among the few who knew about the facility before she walked into the booth. “I had read about it in the newspapers and I also saw the poster displayed at the polling both. It is good. We can verify if the vote has been cast right,” she said.