HYDERABAD: Ballot papers will be used instead of EVMs in the forthcoming elections to the GHMC and other Corporations. The State Election Commission (SEC) took a decision to this effect on Monday, in view of the pandemic.
“The SEC has decided to conduct polls to the GHMC and other (concerned) ULBs using ballot boxes and ballot paper, after detailed deliberations. The opinions of political parties have also been taken into account,” State Election Commissioner C Parthasarathi said on Monday.
Recently, a meeting was convened by the SEC with the GHMC Commissioner to decide whether the elections must be conducted using EVMs or ballot paper. Most of the political parties urged the SEC to use the latter. Of the total 50 registered and recognised political parties, 26 parties submitted their opinions to the SEC. Only three political parties were in favour of EVMs, while 16 parties favoured the use of ballot paper. Seven parties did not give an opinion.
The SEC, in a statement, said that several stages are involved in the use of EVMs and VVPATs in polling stations, namely, first-level checking, second-level checking, randomisation and commissioning of EVMs. Engineers deputed by manufacturers, representatives of political parties, and election staff are involved in all the stages. Further, many unskilled labourers must be deployed for cleaning, unpacking and packing EVMs and VVPATs in a closed environment.
“It was felt that facilitating the aforementioned activities amid the pandemic was risky. Therefore, the SEC has decided to use ballot boxes,” the statement said. Besides, the SEC does not have enough VVPATs for the GHMC polls.