What is the Full Form of VVPAT
VVPAT: Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail
VVPAT stands for voter verifiable paper audit trail. It is an independent paper record of the electronic voting machine. VVPAT is connected with EVM (which is an electronic voter machine) with the help of a printer port, and it maintains all the records of the vote data by logging the voting information and counting the votes on a paper slip. It is used to confirm that the EVM accurately recorded the data given by the voter. The voters can verify his/ her votes after submitting them, which reduces the possibility of fraud and manipulation.
VVPAT is one of the most important devices that the election commission of India introduces in the field of electoral reforms. It is very beneficial for the physically challenged voter. Voters with vision problems, voters who lack knowledge, and older people can all benefit from the VVPAT. People who cannot read or write can also verify whether their votes are cast accurately on electronic voting machines. The machine also gives voice information, enabling the physically challenged voters to confirm their submitted votes. Registered voters cannot touch the EVM unless a ballot has been released.
VVPAT is very helpful for partial voting. With the help of VVPAT, voters who are physically challenged and even old people can now give their votes without doubts, reducing the possibility of fraud and manipulation. Furthermore, no one can avoid their obligations under the Electoral Act thanks to this system of paper trails.
VVPAT can be used only when the EVM machine cannot be used because EVM has some limitations in its application due to its weight or other factors. However, VVPAT may be utilized in places where EVM cannot be. If EVM is compromised, the administration should ensure that a paper trail is properly working.
Everyone can access information from VVPAT about their entry, as everyone has a constitutional right to know how and for whom they have voted. Additionally, it also aids in lowering the likelihood of electoral fraud and manipulation. Voters also have less anxiety while casting their ballots using VVPAT since they won't have to worry about fraud and manipulation.
History about VVPAT
In early times, when a voter used to vote on the direct-recording voting machine then, the voter did not have any information or knowledge about where (to whom) their entries have given. At that time, an individual who used a direct-recording voting system to make a vote had no information on whether he had attained the right result. However, it is the right of every voter to know if he/she has given the vote to a person as wanted.
At the start of 1899, Joseph Gray created a mechanical voting system to remedy this issue. It simultaneously registered votes in its mechanism and punched those votes onto a paper ballot that the voter could see before placing it in a ballot box.
For a century, the concept of a parallel paper trail for a direct-recording voting system was not known until Rebecca Mercuri introduced it in 1992. However, she had proposed the same idea even earlier; some referred to it as the Mercuri method. In October 2000, she refined the mechanism in her final form of the invention. After that, the paper record was printed behind glass so the voter (or anyone else) could not steal or change it later. Based on the same concept, the VVPAT was introduced in 2002-03. The first VVPAT printer was named Avante Vote Trakker.
Importance of VVPAT
A voter-verifiable paper audit trail printer is very beneficial for the voters because it helps them check whether their vote has been successfully cast as per their choices. It is a handy instrument for physically challenged people because they cannot use the electoral voting machine normally like ordinary voters.
With the help of a new updated machine, there is also a function that provides the authority to the voter to verify their votes before casting the ballots because the Voters' ability to check their ballots before releasing them reduces the possibility of election fraud and manipulation.
Furthermore, no one can avoid their obligations under the Electoral Act thanks to this system of paper trails.
The electoral voting machine has some limitations due to its weight or other factors. However, VVPAT may be utilized in places where EVM cannot be.
What is the need for VVPAT?
The cost of each EVM is between Rs. 15,000 and 20,000, and its maintenance costs are around Rs. 1000 per year, which has contributed to the high price of holding elections in India. If the VVPAT system is deployed, this money would be saved or at least minimized to the maximum possible extent.
Compared to nations like Germany, the United States, Canada, and France, which spend around 300 crores for electoral purposes, India's election expenditures vary from 5000 to 10,000 crores, which are relatively significant. This significant expense might be decreased by utilizing this VVPAT device during elections.
The VVPAT system will also assist in preventing the use of EVMs in international elections. Paper trails used in international elections may guarantee that the entries have not been tampered with by anyone. By doing this, highly damaging outcomes from the UN, EU, or any other global election might be avoided.
The VVPAT technology can lessen the likelihood of election fraud and manipulation since there is no room for error because each voter receives (technically, views or hears) a copy of their ballot, which they can review before casting. VVPAT is, therefore, it is advantageous for everyone in India.
How is VVPAT helpful?