Economic Times
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The Supreme Court reserved its judgment on petitions urging for 100% verification of Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips before the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. VVPAT provides visual confirmation of votes cast, displaying candidate details for verification. Currently, a sample of VVPAT slips is verified post-polling. The petitioners seek full counting of VVPAT slips.

The Supreme Court on Thursday reserves its judgment on petitions seeking 100 per cent verification of Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips, ahead of the Lok Sabha elections set to begin Friday.

The VVPAT is a mechanism that ensures that voters are given visual confirmation that their vote has been cast. Paper slips show in a display on the VVPAT machine with the candidate’s serial number, name, and party symbol for seven seconds so that the voter can verify their vote.

As it stands, the mechanism to tally votes post-polling is as follows: VVPAT paper slips of five randomly selected EVMs in each assembly constituency or each assembly segment in a parliamentary constituency are physically verified to confirm the accuracy of the election.

A petition filed by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and activist Arun Kumar Agarwal seek counting all VVPAT slips. Earlier, on April 1, the court sought replies from the Election Commission of India and the Centre on his petition.

The current sample system was put in place by the Election Commission, in 2018, after it asked the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) to come up with a “mathematically sound, statistically robust and practically cogent sample size for the internal audit of the VVPAT slips with electronic result of EVMs.”

First introduced in 2014, the VVPAT system was trialled in that year's general elections, with the system seeing widespread usage in the 2017 Goa Assembly elections. The VVPAT-EVM combo was used across the all 543 Lok Sabha constituencies in the 2019 general elections.

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