Aiming to ensure transparency in the Bhoranj assembly bye-election, the election commission has decided to introduce the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) along-with EVM machines.

The bye-election for Bhoranj Assembly segment is scheduled to be held on 9 April, 2017.

Voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) or verified paper record (VPR) is a method of providing feedback to voters using a ballotless voting system. The VVPAT is a printer like machine attached to every EVM that allows voters to verify that their vote has been cast correctly. Once a voter presses button of his choice in the EVM, a printed paper appears containing the name of candidate and poll symbol so that voter could verify it.

After the voter views the receipt it goes inside a container linked to the EVM after seven seconds.

In recently concluded assembly election in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, political parties like BSP, SP and Congress in Uttar Pradesh and AAP in Punjab had levelled serious allegations against the fairness of the electronic voting machines. However, the election commission had contradicted the claims of the political parties.

Anxious Congress had challenged the BJP for using ballot papers in forthcoming assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, slated to be held in yearend. While, introducing VVPAT in Bhoranj Bye-Poll would certainly easy the apprehension of the Congress party as VVPAT is intended as an independent verification system for voting machines designed to allow voters to verify that their vote was cast correctly, to detect possible election fraud or malfunction, and to provide a means to audit the stored electronic results.

The VVPAT has some fundamental differences as a paper, rather than electronic recording medium when storing votes. A paper VVPAT is readable by the human eye and voters can directly interpret their vote. Computer memory requires a device and software which potentially is proprietary. Insecure voting machine records could potentially be changed quickly without detection by the voting machine itself. It would be more difficult for voting machines to corrupt records without human intervention.

Meanwhile, the election commission has made the voter lists of the Bhoranj assembly constituency available on its website. Any person could also contact for more information on the toll free number 1950 of the department.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.