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Two seconds for verification & peace of mind
- Paper audit process amuses people, live webcast debut with 2700 digital cameras

Democracy has matured — not only in terms of peaceful and unbiased polls and heavy turnout of voters but also in the field of technology.

Electors in Patna got a taste of the state-of-the-art technology inducted by the Election Commission, including voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) and webcast during the parliamentary polls held on Thursday.

Election Commission has for the first time introduced the VVPAT in eight parliamentary constituencies of the country, including Patna Sahib. VVPAT is a small display unit attached to the EVM and a paper ballot comes out once the button on the EVM is pressed, somewhat similar to the ATMs. The paper ballot falls into a box after around two seconds, enough for the voter to verify if his vote is cast right. These stored ballots can also be used if there is recounting.

State chief electoral officer Ajay V. Naik said the facility was available in 1,746 polling stations of Patna Sahib Lok Sabha constituency. “The Election Commission has introduced VVPAT on experimental basis. Since we were using the machine for the first time, thus we faced difficulties at a few places today,” said Naik.

The joy of getting the precious votes verified right in front of their eyes was visible on the faces of the electors as well. “VVPAT is simply amazing. It leaves no doubt or confusion regarding the button one has pressed. It has enhanced transparency in voting system,” said Subodh Kumar, a voter at Patna Montessori School, Boring Road.

The VVPAT machine generates a slip, which is viewed through a glass window on the display unit but it is retained in the machine itself and not given to the voter.

For the first time, the Election Commission has gone for webcasting from selected booths across the state. It is on the website of chief electoral officer, Bihar. “Webcast was done from 671 polling stations in Patna district using 2,016 digital still cameras and 679 video cameras,” said Naik.

UK visit

The British high commissioner to India, James David Bevan, visited several polling stations in the Patna Sahib constituency. Around 10.30am, he reached Patna Women’s College booths.

Bevan, who had visited Nagpur during the earlier phase, said: “I have come to know about the electoral system of the world’s largest democracy, how the administration conducts such a big exercise.”