Articles about voting issues in the Republic of India.

India: Election Commission to buy VVPAT machines in 2 years, issues letter of intent to manufacturers | India TV

The Election Commission has issued a letter of intent for purchase of 16,15,000 Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail ( VVPAT) machines in the next two years to be used in all polling stations in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The Commission issued letter of intent to ECIL and BEL — both PSUs — on Friday, two days after the Union Cabinet cleared its proposal to buy 16,15000 voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) units at an estimated cost of Rs 3,173.47 crore. The poll panel has informed them that the machines would be bought during 2017-18 and 2018-19.  The Commission will buy 8,07,500 VVPAT units each from the two manufacturers by September, 2018.  Read More

India: Congress questions Government’s ability to provide VVPATs by 2019 elections | Deccan Chronicle

With the Election Commission’s decision to monitor production of the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) by the 2019 assembly elections, the Congress Party on Thursday questioned the government’s ability of providing these machines. “We need at least 16 lakh Paper Trail machines before the 2019 elections. Whether the government will be able to fulfill the target or not is a crucial question. It’s a much wider issue and for the purity of election process it is essential. If the EVMs are not functionally accurate then they cannot be used,” Congress leader K.C. Mittal said. He further said the issue needs to be investigated by expert committees. “In the 2014 parliamentary elections I had raised objections. There is something wrong with the EVMs. The Uttar Pradesh Election Commissioner says he cannot hold municipal elections with the earlier EVMs. Then why were the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh held on the same EVMs? These questions need to be answered,” he added. Read More

India: Cabinet clears Election Commission’s proposal to buy new paper trail machines | The Indian Express

The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cleared the Election Commission’s proposal to buy new Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines on Wednesday. Ahead of the 2019 General Elections, the EC has been given the go ahead to procure 16,15,000 units, at an estimated base price of Rs. 3,173.47 crore. Since June 2014, the EC has reportedly given at least 11 reminders to the Centre seeking funds for VVPAT machines. “Amount of Rs. 3173 crores have been approved to acquire 16.15 lakh VVPAT machines,” confirmed Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday, reported news agency ANI. Read More

India: Election Commission wants more funds to buy VVPAT machines that generate paper trail of votes | Hindustan Times

The Election Commission has again knocked on the government’s door for immediate release of funds to procure voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines, following the Opposition parties raising their pitch for abandoning electronic voting machines (EVMs) for paper ballots. In a terse letter to the law ministry, the election commission has made an oblique reference to the skepticism over the use of EVMs by the Opposition parties. “It is felt that the process of procurement of VVPATs cannot be delayed any longer given prevailing environment,” the commission said in its letter on March 22. Sources said this is the 11th reminder to the government, though EC officials did not confirm this. Read More

India: Come, prove electronic voting machines can be tampered with, EC challenges sceptics | Times of India

With Congress, Left, AAP and others claiming that electronic voting machines were manipulated to favour BJP, the Election Commission on Wednesday threw a challenge to political parties, scientists and technical experts to prove that EVMs could be tampered with. The open challenge, which will be on the lines of a similar exercise undertaken in 2009, follows doubts raised by several opposition parties which met the EC and have also petitioned the President. These also include BSP, SP and RJD. The allegations have been raised in the context of BJP’s landslide win in the UP assembly elections. Read More

India: Election Commission challenges political parties, experts to hack, tamper their electronic voting machines | News Nation

The Election Commission on Wednesday dared political parties and experts through “open challenge” by inviting them to hack their EVMs and show they can be tampered with. While the Commission is yet to decide on the exact date, it said the challenge would be held in the first week of Mayand could continue for ten days. The last time such an event had taken place was in 2009 when 100 machines from different parts of the country were kept at Vigyan Bhawan. No one, EC claimed, could hack the electronic voting machines. When Delhi Chief Minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal had met Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi with a complaint on EVMs last week, he was told that the poll panel is planning such an event. This time, the venue could be Nirvachan Sadan, the ECheadquarters. The specifics would be decided by the Commission’s technical expert committee on EVMs and the details would be made public in the next couple of days.  Read More

India: Police clamp down on Kashmir transport after poll violence kills eight | Reuters

Indian police on Monday imposed curfew-like curbs on movement of people across several parts of disputed Kashmir, a day after clashes with protesters during a by-election killed eight people and injured more than 200. Separatist factions in Kashmir called for a two-day strike in protest. Their calls to boycott the poll in Srinagar, and the ensuing violence, resulted in voter turnout of a mere 7 percent on Sunday and forced 70 polling stations to shut down. During clashes in Budgam district, police initially used tear gas against protesters who were throwing stones, but then opened fire, killing seven people, a senior police official told Reuters. One protester was killed in a separate incident. Security was beefed up on Monday across the Himalayan region, with police blocking roads with barricades and restricting movement of vehicles. Some train services were also suspended in the region, a railway official said. Read More

India: 16 Opposition parties ask Election Commission to revert to paper ballots | Deccan Herald

Sixteen Opposition parties on Monday approached the Election Commission expressing no confidence in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs)and demanded elections through paper ballots. The concerted action follows a series of meetings between Opposition leaders, a few initiated by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, to forge a rainbow coalition against the BJP that has shown aggression in expanding its horizons after the electoral successes in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and Ahmed Patel held a strategy meeting on Monday morning that was attended by leaders of eight parties – the NCP, JD(U), CPI, CPM, SP, BSP, Trinamool Congress and the RJD. Azad and Patel also met Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to seek her support for the joint action against the use of EVMs. Read More

India: Election Commission should consider paper ballots in place of electronic voting machines: Congress | The Arunachal Times

The Congress on Monday said the Election Commission is only the arbiter and not the controller of the democratic process and asked the poll body to introspect and explore possibility of shifting voting from EVMs to the alternative system of paper ballots. The opposition party also said that the EC should not be an advocate for electronic voting machines (EVMs) and should conduct polls to the satisfaction of all stakeholders. A major row erupted last week over a video of a VVPAT demonstration by a poll official in Madhya Pradesh where the machine attached to an EVM allegedly dispensed slips of only BJP as the opposition demanded reverting to the old ballot paper system of voting while scrapping use of EVMs. There have been demands from various parties over the efficacy of EVMs following the spectacular victory of BJP in Uttar Pradesh and of Congress in Punjab. Read More

India: Rajya Sabha: Congress demands electronic voting machine use be stopped immediately | Hindustan Times

The Congress became the latest party to demand a ban on electronic voting machines (EVMs) on Wednesday, two days after Aam Aadmi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal questioned the BJP’s election win in Uttar Pradesh, asking the Election Commission to release the devices for investigation into tampering allegations. During a heated debate in the Rajya Sabha over the use of EVMs, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said: “EVM should be stopped right now. In the upcoming civic polls of Delhi, assembly polls in Gujarat and other states EVMs should not be used.” Read More