NEW DELHI: The Election Commission said on Thursday that it received 11 applications for verification of burnt memory/microchips of EVMs used in the recent elections. These include eight for Lok Sabha polls and three for assembly polls.
8 EVM verification applications for Lok Sabha polls
The eight applications received for Lok Sabha polls include those from BJP and Congress for verification of tampering or modification in micro-controller chips embedded in the EVMs.BJP candidate has filed 3 applications, INC 2, YSRCP one and DMK 1 for LS polls.
This comes in the wake of the Supreme Court‘s rejection of the demand for a return to the paper ballot system, although the court has permitted candidates who finished second or third to request EVM verification on a limited scale.
Among the candidates seeking verification is BJP’s Ahmednagar (Maharashtra) candidate Sujay Vikhe-Patil, who lost to Nilesh Lanke of the NCP (Sharad Pawar) faction. Vikhe-Patil has sought verification of machines from 40 polling stations. Applications for verification have also been received from a YSRCP candidate and a DMDK candidate.
Across the eight parliamentary seats under scrutiny, which span six states, the total number of polling stations for which verification has been sought stands at 92.
3 EVM verification applications for assembly polls
Separately, candidates from YSRCP in Andhra Pradesh and BJD in Odisha have also applied for EVM checks. Assembly elections were conducted in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections.
The verification exercise for assembly poll results encompasses three assembly constituencies and involves 26 polling stations.
According to the SOP, the state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) had to communicate the consolidated list of applicants to the manufacturers within 30 days of the results’ declaration, by July 4. The EC has confirmed that the CEOs conveyed this information 15 days ahead of the deadline. “The technical SOP enumerating the methodology and steps for checking and verification of burnt memory/ micro-controller of the EVM units will be issued by the EC in due course,” the Commission stated.
Verification has a cost
As per the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) released by the EC on June 1, candidates must pay Rs 47,200 per EVM set for the verification process.
Explaining the costs involved, EC said, “According to the EC’s Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), the cost submitted by manufacturers BEL and ECIL to carry out EVM ‘check and verification’ is Rs 40,000 (plus 18 per cent GST) per set of EVM.”
Additional expenses, such as labor costs to shift the units, CCTV coverage, electricity charges, videography costs, and other operational costs at the district election officer level, are factored in as well.
To alleviate the burden on candidates, the EC has decided to waive administrative charges, as addressed in the SOP. “It, however, said to make the verification process ‘more accessible’ and inclusive in compliance with the referred mandate of the Supreme Court, it is decided that instead of going purely by the actual economic costs incurred, the administrative expenditure on EVM verification will be treated as ‘election expenditure and borne by the central or state government, as the case may be.'”
“Accordingly, the administrative charges will be waived for the applicants — the same shall not be charged to the applicants,” it noted.
Each EVM set comprises at least one Ballot Unit, one Control Unit, and a VVPAT machine.