With voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) being used on a large-scale for the first time in the country in the Mizoram Assembly polls, the Elections Commission is leaving no stone unturned to make it easily accessible to voters.
The VVPAT is a machine attached to EVMS which allows voters to verify that their vote has been cast in the way they wished.
As soon as the voter casts his vote, the VVPAT will show a small slip in a glass covered screen with the symbol and the candidate he has voted for in a form of a small ballot paper, which after 3 to 4 seconds would automatically fall into an attached closed box.
The VVPATs are being used in only ten assembly constituencies of Aizwal district of the total 40 assembly segments.
The VVPAT system was first experimented in the Noksen Assembly by-poll recently in Nagaland and Mizoram would be the first state where it would be introduced on a large scale.
Chief Electoral officer, Ashwini Kumar, under whose supervisions the elections are being conducted, is leaving no stone unturned to make voters comfortable with the use of VVPATS.
“The VVPAT is a new thing which is being used for the first time. There are lot of people who are not aware of it. We have trained our polling officials in all these 10 assembly segments properly,” Mr. Kumar told PTI in Aizwal.
Asked how the Election Commission plans to educate people on the new system, Mr. Kumar said, “We are giving educational ads about VVPATS on Doordarshan and radio to educate voters.
“In all the polling stations in these 10 assembly segments, we are also putting up visual ads inside and outside polling stations and distributing pamphlets about its use,” he said.
“Those who don’t follow TV or radio ads might be curious seeing a new machine and keep on pressing the VVPAT screen. So, we are putting ads in local Mizo language in all polling stations in the 10 assembly seats,” Mr. Kumar said.
He said that there are 217 polling stations in the 10 assembly segments where five to six visual ads will be put up for the convenience of voters.
The opposition parties in Mizoram, mainly the Mizo National Front expressed happiness over VVPATs being used in the polls.
It had earlier expressed doubt about the reliability of EVMs and suggested to the Election Commission that EVMs might have been manipulated in the 2008 Assembly polls which resulted in victory for the Congress with 32 of the 40 seats.
“We are happy that VVPATs are being used in Mizoram polls. We would have been happy if it had been used in all the 40 assembly segments,” said Baik Thannsanga, MNF leader.
Around 6.86 lakh voters will exercise their franchise on November 25 for electing 40 members to the Mizoram Assembly from among 142 candidates.