EVMs, VVPATs play truant; delay polling in Tamil Nadu

Representative image. PTI

The introduction of the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) in all the 38 Lok Sabha constituencies of the state, for the first ever time, did run into trouble with several complaints over its non-functioning leading to a delay in over 692 polling booths. The Electronic voting Machines (EVMs) too had its share of trouble with as many as 384 of them malfunctioning, in different parts of the state, affecting the pace of polling on Thursday.

VVPATs were also put to use in all the 18 Assembly constituencies, which went in for bypolls alongside the general elections.

In a few polling booths in Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai district, polling got delayed for close to an hour over non-functioning of VVPAT. According to the returning officers of those districts, they all were replaced once the issue was brought to their notice.

“If the VVPAT machine does not work after the person cast his vote, he can file a complaint with the presiding officer in the booth. Then, the presiding officer will cast a vote and would check the VVPAT machine. If the VVPAT machine is actually malfunctioning, it would be replaced. If the VVPAT machine works normally, then an FIR would be filed against the voter for filing a false complaint,” said a returning officer, who did not want to be named.

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VVPATs will help voters confirm whom they had voted for by way of printing a slip. However, people cannot carry the printouts .

Sharing her first voting experience, S Anitha, who exercised her franchise at the KK Nagar polling station in Chennai South constituency said, “I have heard only about the ballot papers and have seen the voting machines only on televisions. This is the first time I saw a voting machine in person. I feel satisfied that I have done by duty.,”

An elderly woman, S Ponnuthai, who has been voting since 1976, said, “After the introduction of EVMs, it is the first time that am returning to the house fully satisfied. Earlier, I did not even know whom I voted for. The red light would blink just for a few seconds before vanishing. So, I pressed the EVM twice, thinking that I did not vote. But,  the VVPAT machine displayed the symbol to which I voted for. Therefore, I am satisfied.”

By 11 am Arani Lok Sabha constituency had recorded the highest polling percentage at 36.51%, while Chennai Central recorded the lowest polling at 22.89%.

Madurai, Tirunelveli, Chennai North, Chennai South, Sriperumpudhur, Kancheepuram, Tirupur, Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Pollachi, Dindigul, Cuddalore, Virudhunagar, Ramanathapuram, Thoothukkudi, Tenkasi and Kanyakumari recorded less than the state average polling percentage.

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