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Election FAQs: EVM to VVPAT

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By uday

The voting for the Assembly elections in Karnataka is slated to be held on May 10 and in Belagavi as well it citizens will vote on May 10 from 7 AM to 6 PM.

What is an Electronic Voting machine?

Electronic Voting Machine () is an electronic device for recording votes. An Electronic Voting Machine consists of two Units – a Control Unit and a Balloting Unit – joined by a five-meter cable. The Control Unit is placed with the Presiding Officer or a Polling Officer and the Balloting Unit is placed inside the voting compartment. Instead of issuing a ballot paper, the Polling Officer in-charge of the Control Unit will release a ballot by pressing the Ballot Button on the Control Unit. This will enable the voter to vote by pressing the blue button on the Balloting Unit against the candidate and symbol of his choice.

What is VVPAT ?

VVPATs (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail)will be used along with EVMs in all polling stations of all the 224 Assembly Constituencies of poll going state of Karnataka to enhance the transparency and credibility of the election.


After a voter presses the button on the EVM against the chosen candidate, the VVPAT prints a slip containing name of the candidate and the election symbol and drops it automatically into a sealed box. The machines give the chance for the voter to verify their vote. The machine is placed in a glass case in a way that only the voter can see it. The slip is displayed to the voter for seven seconds after which the VVPAT machine cuts it and drops in into the storage box with a beep. The machines can be accessed, though, by the polling officials and not by the voter.

How can a voter be sure that the EVM is working and his vote has been recorded?

As soon as the voter presses the `blue button’ against the candidate and symbol of his choice, the lamp against symbol of that particular candidate glows red and a long beep sound is heard. Thus, there is both audio and visual indications for the voter to be assured that his vote has been recorded correctly. In addition, VVPAT provides an additional visual verification in the form of paper slip to the voter so he can ensure that his vote has been correctly recorded for the candidate of his choice.

What is the maximum number of votes which can be cast in EVMs?

An EVM being used by ECI can record a maximum of 2,000 votes. EVMs can cater to a maximum of 384 candidates including NOTA by connecting 24 Balloting Units.

What will happen if the EVM in a particular polling station goes out of order?

Ans. If an EVM of a particular polling station goes out of order, the same is replaced with a new one. The votes recorded until the stage when the EVM went out of order remains safe in the memory of the Control Unit and it is perfectly fine to proceed with the polling after replacing the EVM with new EVM and there is no need to start the poll from the beginning. On counting day, votes recorded in both Control Units are counted to give the aggregate result of that polling station.

Is it possible to program the EVMs in such a way that initially, say upto 100 votes, votes will be recorded exactly in the same way as the `blue buttons’ are pressed, but thereafter, votes will be recorded only in favor of one particular candidate irrespective of whether the `blue button’ against that candidate or any other candidate is pressed?

The microchip used in EVMs is sealed at the time of import. It cannot be opened and no rewriting of program can be done by anyone without damaging the chip. There is, therefore, absolutely no chance of programming the EVMs in a particular way to select any particular candidate or political party.

Whether there is any provision to complaint if the paper slip generated by the printer has shown the name or symbol of a candidate other than the one he voted for?

Yes, if an elector after having recorded his vote alleges that the paper slip generated by the printer has shown the name or symbol of a candidate other than the one he voted for, as per the provisions of Rule 49MA of Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, the presiding officer shall obtain a written declaration from the elector as to the allegation, after warning the elector about the consequence of making a false declaration.

If the elector gives the written declaration referred to in sub-rule (1) of Rule 49MA, the presiding officer shall permit the elector to record a test vote in the voting machine in his presence and in the presence of the candidates or polling agents who may be present in the polling station, and observe the paper slip generated by the printer.

If the allegation is found true, the presiding officer shall report the facts immediately to the returning officer, stop further recording of votes in that voting machine and act as per the direction that may be given by the Returning Officer.

Who loads the Serial numbers, names of candidates and symbols allotted to contesting candidates in VVPAT unit?

Serial numbers, names of candidates and symbols allotted to them are loaded in VVPAT unit with the help of manufacturer engineers i.e. ECIL/BEL.

Since 2001, the issue of possible tampering of EVM has been raised before various High Courts. After a detailed analysis of the various aspects of the technological security and administrative safeguards around the use of EVMs, the credibility, reliability and robustness of the EVMs has been validated by the various High Courts in all the cases. In some of these cases, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has also dismissed appeals filed by some petitioners against High Court orders, which were in favor of the EVMs. For details, refer Status paper on EVM available at

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