Preliminary reports on the malfunction of VVPATs during the Kairana and the Bhandara-Gondia Lok Sabha bypolls have blamed it on excessive exposure of the machines to illumination at polling stations.
The Election Commission has, therefore, asked the manufacturers and the Technical Expert Committee (TEC) to suggest additional design improvements. It has also accepted the hardware improvement as recommended by the TEC to prevent the auto shutdown of VVPATs due to excessive light.
Two technical reasons
The EC had deputed two special teams to determine the causes of VVPAT failures. The preliminary fact-finding reports have indicated that there were two major technical reasons: failure of contrast sensor and length sensor.
“The Commission has asked the manufacturers and the TEC to suggest additional design improvements and also sought suggestions on any layout changes of polling stations to prevent any excessive exposure to illumination in future,” said an official.
The EC, in a statement, said: “Manufacturers have also been asked to do a detailed technical analysis once the VVPATs are free from election petition [as these cannot be currently accessed in strong rooms till the 45-day election petition period is over]”.
The Commission has decided to reiterate its Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) regarding the dos and don’ts, and has also formed a committee to examine ways to further strengthen the SoP. The EC has also decided to make the first-level checking process stringent. Besides, measures are being taken to minimise human errors.