Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail

 

 By: Parveen Kaswan ( Add on Facebook for more updates)

 

The most important aspect of a voting system, with respect to accuracy, integrity and security, is whether or not it is independently auditable. That is, the very prerequisite to accuracy, integrity and security in today’s voting technology is that there be a voter-marked paper ballot, or at least a voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT), for every vote cast. This ensures that election officials will have something they can use to confirm whether or not the electronic tallies produced by the voting system accurately reflected the intention of the voters.

Computerized voting equipment is inherently subject to programming error, equipment malfunction, and malicious tampering. It is therefore crucial that voting equipment provide or require the use of a permanent record of each vote that can be checked for accuracy by the voter before the vote is submitted, and is difficult or impossible to alter after it has been checked.

The Technical Expert Committee in its meeting held on 19th February, 2013 finally approved the design of VVPAT system. The Election Commission of India held a meeting on 10th May, 2013, with recognised National and State Political Parties for demonstration of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) in the EVM as was desired by some parties in the meeting held with the Commission on 4th October, 2010, to further enhance voters’ satisfaction.

Now  Election Commission (EC) is cogitating on the option of deploying Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) in some constituencies as it will deal with the herculean task of conducting Legislative Assembly polls in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Mizoram before the end of 2013.

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The concept of Voter Verified Balloting was created by Rebecca Mercuri.  VVPAT is the acronym of “Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail” and VVBP is the acronym of “voter verified paper ballot”. The terms are equivalent and refer to a kind of “vote receipt” printed by an electronic voting machine that shows the elector his/her vote as it is being entered into the electoral system. The voter must be required to perform an action that confirms that their choices have been recorded correctly on the paper, hence making it a verified (rather than just “verifiable”) ballot in a legal sense. The VVPAT includes a direct recording electronic voting system (DRE), to assure voters that their votes have been recorded as intended. As a verification voter will get a printed paper that will assure the voter that his vote has recorded. It is kept by the election official, as the record of votes cast, for audit and recount purposes. Verification of a small percentage of VVPAT should to be activated when elections are close.

It is intended, and some argue necessary, as a means by which to detect fraud and equipment malfunction. Depending on election laws the paper audit trail may constitute a legal ballot and therefore provide a means by which a manual vote count can be conducted if a recount is necessary. The solution was first demonstrated (New York City, March 2001).

 

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