Candidates dissatisfied with the election results will be able to get EVM checked, know the whole process

Ananya Shroff
5 Min Read

New Delhi: There are only a few hours left for the counting of votes to begin after the Lok Sabha elections. After the counting of votes, the Election Commission announces the results. In such a situation, candidates dissatisfied with the election results can apply for EVM verification. The Election Commission has issued a protocol in this regard. Under this, the first two losing candidates after the declaration of results can allow verification/audit of the burn memory in the EVM microcontroller after the results of June 4.

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Letter to all Chief Election Commissioners

In a letter to all chief electoral officers on June 1, the Election Commission said the first two runner-up candidates in a constituency will be able to seek verification of EVM microcontrollers for alleged tampering or modification. This window will remain open for seven days after the declaration of results. This standard operating procedure has also been shared with all recognised political parties. According to the SOP issued following Supreme Court directions on April 26, candidates will be able to seek verification of about 5% of EVMs in each assembly constituency/parliamentary constituency within seven days from the counting day. This will happen by June 10.

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The scrutiny will be done in the presence of the candidates

The checking and verification will be done in the presence of the candidates along with engineers from the EVM manufacturers (ECIL and BEL). This process is likely to be completed within two months of the declaration of results, except in the case of election petitions. For the 2024-25 election cycle, the process of checking and verification of each EVM unit (which includes control unit, ballot unit and VVPAT) will cost ₹40,000 plus 18% GST. This decision has been taken by the Election Commission of India. The Supreme Court had said in its judgment that this amount will be refunded if the machine unit is proved to be tampered with in the verification process.

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5% EVMs will be verified

Regarding the 5% limit on verification, the ECI said that for an assembly constituency/segment in which, say, 400 ballot units, 200 control units and 200 VVPATs have been used, 20 ballot units, 10 controlling units and 10 VVPAT burn memories/microcontrollers shall be used for the purpose. The first and second place winners shall be allowed to choose a set of units as per the polling station number or unique serial number of BU, CU and VVPAT (available with the candidates before polling).

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Responsibility of District Election Officer

The SOP makes the District Election Officer responsible for the entire process. The District Election Officer will send the details of the verification applications to the Chief Electoral Officer of the state, who will send the details of the verification request to the EVM-VVPAT manufacturers within 30 days of the declaration of results. In the case of a constituency where an election petition challenging the result has been filed in court, the verification of the burnt memory will be done only if the candidate concerned obtains a court order allowing it to be done while the petition is pending.

This process will be completed within two months.

Within two weeks ECIL and BEL will prepare a state-wise and district-wise checking and verification schedule in consultation with the CEO and with details of their authorised engineers. Overall, this process is expected to be completed within two months of the declaration of results. For this purpose, a secure hall will be built along with the strong room for storing EVM units. It will be opened and closed in the presence of candidates under videography.

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