IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


4th April, 2024 Polity


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Picture Courtesy:  https://www.thehindu.com/elections/sc-assures-to-list-pleas-to-cross-verify-evm-vvpat-vote-count-before-lok-sabha-polls/article68023159.ece 

Context: The Supreme Court agreed to hear a series of petitions seeking mandatory cross-verification of votes cast in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips.


  • In recent years, concerns about the integrity and transparency of elections have prompted discussions about the verification of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips. The Supreme Court's decision to list petitions seeking direction from the Election Commission of India (ECI) to cross-verify EVMs with VVPAT slips is a response to these concerns.

EVMs are electronic devices used for casting and recording votes, while VVPAT is a system that allows voters to verify that their votes have been accurately recorded by printing a paper receipt.

Petitioners' Concerns

  • The petitioners argue that the current practice of verifying only a random sample of VVPAT slips is insufficient to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the electoral process.
  • They advocate for mandatory cross-verification of all EVMs with VVPAT slips to provide voters with greater confidence in the electoral outcomes.

ECI's Response

  • In response to the petitioners' arguments, the ECI has defended the existing system of VVPAT verification.
  • The ECI highlighted that EVMs are standalone machines with one-time programmable chips, making them resistant to hacking or tampering.
  • The ECI argues that conducting 100% verification of VVPAT slips would be logistically challenging and time-consuming, and the additional manpower required for counting.

Supreme Court's Response

  • The Supreme Court has acknowledged the urgency of the matter and assured the petitioners that the case will be listed for hearing in the coming weeks. This reflects the court's commitment to addressing the concerns raised by the petitioners regarding the transparency and fairness of the electoral process.

Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT)

●VVPAT is an independent system attached to EVMs, allowing voters to verify that their votes are cast as intended. It addresses concerns about the accuracy and transparency of electronic voting systems by providing a physical paper trail for each vote cast electronically.

●When a voter casts their vote on the EVM, the VVPAT system prints a paper slip containing the serial number, name, and symbol of the chosen candidate. The slip is displayed through a transparent window for a few seconds before being automatically cut and deposited into a sealed drop box.

●Similar to EVMs, VVPAT systems operate on power pack batteries, eliminating the need for external power sources.

●VVPATs were first used in a bye-election in the Assembly Constituency of Nagaland in 2013.


  • The Supreme Court's decision to list petitions seeking EVM-VVPAT verification highlights the importance of transparency and accountability in the electoral process. The outcome of the hearing will shape the ongoing debate surrounding electoral integrity and fairness. As stakeholders await the court's decision, the focus remains on upholding the principles of democracy and ensuring that the voices of voters are accurately reflected in the electoral outcomes.

Must Read Articles:

VVPAT:  https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/vvpat

VOTER VERIFIABLE PAPER AUDIT TRAIL (VVPATs): https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/voter-verifiable-paper-audit-trail-vvpats


Election Commission of India

The Hindu


Q. In the context of voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) slips in elections, consider the following statements:

1. VVPAT is a printer that connects to electronic voting machines (EVMs).

2. When a person votes electronically, a paper slip is printed for the voter to carry with them.

3. It provides voters the opportunity to confirm that their vote was cast accurately and also offers a paper trail for auditing needs.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

A) 1 only

B) 3 only

C) 1 and 3 only

D) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: C


Statement 1 is correct:

VVPAT stands for Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail. It's essentially a printer that creates a physical record of a voter's selection on an electronic voting machine (EVM). This paper trail serves as a verification mechanism, providing a tangible counterpart to the electronic record stored on the EVM.

Statement 2 is incorrect:

The paper slip is only briefly visible through a window before being deposited into a secure box. Voters cannot take it with them. This is a critical security measure to prevent tampering with the paper trail. If voters were allowed to keep the slips, someone could potentially pressure or bribe them into revealing their votes or even forge receipts to manipulate the outcome. By keeping the paper trail secure, VVPAT helps safeguard the integrity of the election process.

Statement 3 is correct:

VVPAT fulfils two key purposes. First, it empowers voters to confirm that the machine accurately reflected their choice by displaying a paper slip mirroring their selection. Second, these paper trails can be used for audits or recounts if discrepancies arise between the electronic records and the paper votes. This adds an important layer of security and transparency to the voting process.