[Answered] Discuss the role and efficacy of the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) in enhancing electoral transparency in India. Also, Critically evaluate the demands for a 100% recount of VVPAT slips.

Introduction: Define the VVPAT system

Body: Highlight the role and efficacy of VVPAT & demand for a 100% recount of VVPAT Slips

Conclusion: Way forward

The Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) is a standalone system linked to an Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) that enables voters to confirm that their votes are recorded accurately. Upon casting a vote, the VVPAT prints a slip displaying the serial number, name, and symbol of the chosen candidate. This information remains visible to the voter through a transparent window for seven seconds

Role and efficacy of VVPAT

  • Voter Verification: By showing a paper slip containing the information of the selected candidate, the VVPAT enables voters to confirm that their votes are accurately recorded. Voters are empowered by this verification process because it fosters trust in the electronic voting system.
  • Auditing and Accountability: Post-election audits and investigations are made possible, if needed, by the paper trail produced by VVPAT. With the implementation of VVPAT, one can confirm the veracity of the electronic vote count in the event of disagreements or accusations of electoral fraud.
  • Deterrence against Manipulation: The presence of a paper trail prevents electronic voting machines (EVMs) from being tampered with or manipulated. Any attempt to tamper with the voting process is discouraged by the knowledge that every vote is physically recorded.
  • Public Trust: VVPAT helps to increase public trust in the electoral system. Voters’ confidence in the fairness and transparency of elections is bolstered when they can physically verify their ballots, which ultimately strengthens the democratic system.

Demand for 100% recount of VVPAT slips

  • Practicality and Feasibility: It might be difficult and time-consuming to conduct a 100% recount of VVPAT slips for every constituency. It can cause a considerable delay in the election results and add to the workload for the election officials.
  • Cost considerations: Labor, materials, and time would be expensive for a thorough recount of VVPAT slips. These resources might be applied to other crucial electoral processes.
  • Risk of Disruption: Calls for a 100% recount run the risk of upsetting voters and jeopardizing the integrity of the democratic process. Long-term uncertainty and possible public upheaval could result from it.
  • Belief in Current Mechanisms: The current post-election verification procedures and random VVPAT audits are intended to protect the electoral process’s integrity. Requiring a perfect recount could be a sign of mistrust for these established processes.

Conclusion

It is important to assess the viability, practicality, and possible effects on the electoral process of the demand for a 100% recount of VVPAT slips. Maintaining the integrity of the democratic process requires finding a compromise between efficiency and transparency.

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