Former election officials urge ECI to optimise VVPAT tallying mechanism

A few days earlier, another former CEO SY Quraishi had spoken in favour of 100 per cent VVPAT counting.

Published: 31st January 2021 11:21 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st January 2021 11:21 AM   |  A+A-

Image of EVMs and VVPATS used for representational purpose (Photo | G Satyanarayana/EPS)

Image for representational purpose (Photo | G Satyanarayana/EPS)

KOLKATA:  The Citizen’s Commission on Elections (CCE), a civil society initiative headed by former Supreme Court Judge Madan B Lokur and first chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, demanded that the Election Commission of India (ECI) must optimise the tallying of voter-verified paper audit trails (VVPATs) with the votes registered in the electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the ensuing Assembly polls in five states including Bengal.

While addressing a media conference and publishing a report prepared by the CCE on technical and other inadequacies of the EVMs, Jawhar Sircar, a former Chief Election Officer, said the ECI should tally the VVPATs with the votes in EVMs as much as possible. “There is no proof that EVMs cannot be tampered with. Hence, it is highly desirable that the VVPATs and EVM votes are tallied,” said Sircar on behalf of the CCE, the initiative comprising former Supreme Court Judges, civil servants, journalists, economists, professors and civil society activists. Sircar also referred to the examples in Madhya Pradesh elections where the EVMs and VVPATs could not be tallied at several booths.

“We have seen in Madhya Pradesh during the 2019 polls that the number of votes cast and the number of votes finally recorded in the EVM didn’t match. This happened in over 200 booths. The apex court had ruled that votes of five EVMs in every Assembly segment should be tallied with VVPATs to ensure transparency. In an Assembly constituency, which comprises hundreds of booths, counting merely tallying just five EVMs would not reflect the whole picture,” said Sircar. Sircar was the CEO in Bengal in 1999 when EVMs were first introduced in the country.

“When the EVM was introduced, we were not equipped with cellphones. There have been remarkable technological developments in all segments but there has been little technical upgradation in the EVMs since then,” he pointed out. The CCE has prepared a detailed report where it has discussed “how EVMs can be tampered with, after its IIT technologists consulted best universities in the West”.

Sircar said the report would be shared with the ECI. Subhashis Banerjee, a professor of Computer Science in IIT Delhi said the EVMs aren’t safeguarded from ‘side channel attacks’, which meant that the machines can be hacked through devices from a remote area. A few days earlier, another former CEO SY Quraishi had spoken in favour of 100 per cent VVPAT counting.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp