Kapil Sibal releases checklist for parties to follow on counting day | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Kapil Sibal releases checklist for parties to follow on counting day

May 26, 2024 08:59 PM IST

Kapil Sibal said that he trusts electronic voting machines and he wants to make sure that they are not tampered with

Rajya Sabha MP and senior lawyer Kapil Sibal released a checklist for political parties and their polling/counting agents to follow on June 4 when the votes cast in the seven phases of the general elections are counted, making it clear for them what to watch for when control units (CU) of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) are accessed to count votes.

Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal addresses a press conference in Delhi on Sunday. (PTI)
Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal addresses a press conference in Delhi on Sunday. (PTI)

“A lot of people are saying that these machines are possibly tampered with. So, we want to make sure that they are not tampered with, nothing more than that. We are not saying they are tampered with. Any machine can be tampered with. It is not as if there is any machine in the world that cannot be tampered with. We trust it; we aren’t saying that there is no trust. However, until the voter does not see that the vote they cast has been counted towards that candidate...It is only for this reason that we have given this,” Sibal said.

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First, the CU number, the ballot unit (BU) number and the VVPAT ID must be matched, he said. The CU is the unit that is with the polling officer who allows the voter to vote from the BU by pressing “Ballot” button on the CU. The voter casts their vote on the BU by pressing the blue button on the BU against the name of the candidate of their choice, verifies their vote by looking at the VPAT slip, and exits the voting compartment when a beep is heard.

Sibal said that if the time given on the CU, before the “Result” button is pressed differs, it suggests a problem. “If it shows a different time, that means the machine was opened elsewhere,” he said. He also said that if the date for “Poll Result”, visible after pressing the “Result” button on the CU, differs from the date of polling, it is a problem. He said that the serial number on the CU must match both before and after pressing the “Result” button. The total votes polled, visible after pressing “Result” button, must also match with the number mentioned in Form 17C Part I.

“Postal ballots are not included in this. If there is any difference between votes polled and the total, then it is a problem. If the time differs, it is a problem,” Sibal said.

On Sunday night, the chief electoral officer of Jharkhand, alluding to Sibal’s earlier press conference, tweeted, “A video is circulated in some news channels & social media, alerting candidates to check start & end time of poll on Control Unit of EVM on counting day. It is clarified that it is broadly reiteration of ECI’s protocol specified in EVM Manual - Chapter 14 which is already in public domain. … ROs/AROs are mandated to strictly follow these protocols which happens [sic] in the presence of candidates or their authorised agents.”

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