The Election Commission has convened a meeting with all seven national parties and 48 recognized state parties here on May 12 to discuss issues related to electronic voting machines and voter-verfiable paper audit trail (VVPAT), besides seeking their suggestions regarding its upcoming EVM “hackathon” challenge. The Commission has written to the chiefs of all national and state recognised parties, attaching a status paper on EVM/VVPAT. It has also sought their views on proposed electoral reforms such as making bribery in elections a cognizable offence and disqualification arising out of framing of charges for offenses of poll bribery.
The poll panel has also asked the parties to offer suggestions on changing VVPAT recount rules to provide for tallying of EVM results with paper slips generated by VVPAT machines.
The panel has asked all parties to submit their written response on the aforesaid issues by May 7. These will then be compiled and taken up for discussion at the all-party meeting on May 12. The political parties will deliberate their views on reforms aimed at curbing bribery during elections, apart from putting forth their suggestions on modalities of conducting the EVM hack challenge. “The purpose is to give the political parties a fair chance to put the EVMs to test and prove their tamperability. We will ask the parties how they would like us to conduct the challenge,” said a senior EC officer.