Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) based Audit of EVMs

GS-2 Mains : Polity 

Short Notes or Revision Notes 

Question : Evaluate the effectiveness of the current VVPAT audit process in ensuring transparency and election integrity.

Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs)

  • Used to electronically record and count votes.
  • Advantages:
    • Speed: Quicker counting compared to manual.
    • Accuracy: Minimize errors and invalid ballots.
    • Cost-effectiveness: Saves money in the long run.

Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT)

  • Introduced to make polling process more transparent.
  • Attached to EVM, prints a slip showing voter’s choice.
  • Voter sees the slip for 7 seconds before it falls into a box.
  • First introduced in 2013 (Noksen Assembly constituency, Nagaland).
  • Used in 100% of polling stations since 2017 elections.

Current VVPAT Audit Process

  • Established in 2018 based on Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) recommendations.
  • Supreme Court mandated counting VVPAT slips of 5 randomly chosen polling stations per Assembly constituency (2019).

Criticisms of VVPAT

  • Limited Impact on Election Integrity:
    • Seen as a backup mechanism, not a foolproof solution against tampering.
  • Technical Glitches:
    • Instances of malfunctions disrupt voting and raise doubts about accuracy.
  • Higher Cost:
    • Deployment expensive for a large democracy like India.
  • Logistical Challenges:
    • Managing VVPAT deployment across vast geographical regions is difficult.
  • Time-Consuming Process:
    • VVPAT verification extends voting time, leading to longer queues and potentially discouraging participation.

Suggestions for Improvement

  • 100% VVPAT Counting:
    • Voters keep the slip after verification and deposit it in a separate box.
    • All VVPAT slips are then counted for complete transparency.
  • Training and Capacity Building:
    • Thorough training for election officials on VVPAT usage and maintenance can minimize technical issues.
  • Improved Technology and Reliability:
    • Continuous investment in research and development to improve VVPAT technology is crucial.
  • Cost-Effectiveness and Sustainability:
    • Explore cost reduction methods like bulk procurement and alternative materials for paper trails.


The VVPAT system is a step towards transparency in Indian elections, but faces challenges. Addressing concerns about effectiveness, cost, and implementation is crucial for wider public acceptance.




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