The Election Commission has ordered two lakh additional electronic voting machines (EVMs) to meet the shortfall in the event of early Lok Sabha polls being held along with assembly polls in five states due later this year. “We have ordered around 2 lakh voting machines to meet the shortfall,” a senior EC official told TOI. The two lakh machines, to be supplied by BHEL and ECIL by September-October, will be in addition to the nearly 14 lakh EVMs already in possession of the EC. Half of these 14 lakh machines date back to pre-2006 period and may be prone to snags. They can take only 800 votes each, unlike the post-2006 EVMs with which around 2,000 voters can vote.
The new EVMs expected in the next couple of months will be compatible with the proposed voter-verifiable paper audit trail ( VVPAT) system. A printing unit attached to the new EVM will generate a paper trail of the cast ballot, enabling the voter to verify if his vote has indeed gone to his preferred candidate.
The EC, however, ruled out a VVPAT-enabled EVM-based Lok Sabha election, even if it were to be held on time in April next year. In fact, the upcoming round of polls will see EC holding at least one assembly poll in a small constituency of Mizoram to test the efficacy of the new-age EVM.