Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) ensure accurate vote recording, minimising errors inherent in manual counting. They enhance the speed of voting processes, delivering prompt results compared to manual tabulation. EVMs also mitigate invalid votes through built-in features, reducing errors like overvoting or undervoting. Despite initial investment costs, EVMs prove cost-effective over time by saving on printing, transportation, and storage expenses associated with paper ballots.

VVPAT allows voters to ensure that their votes are cast correctly. VVPAT can be extremely useful for voters who are physically handicapped and unable to utilise EVMs. Voters may confirm their votes prior to casting ballots, which reduces the possibility of election fraud and rigging. Furthermore, this paper trail mechanism prevents anyone from escaping their responsibilities under the Electoral Act. VVPAT can be utilized in situations when EVM is impractical due to its weight or other limitations. 

The Supreme Court has issued two directives regarding Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). Firstly, it mandates that after symbol loading, the Symbol Loading Unit (SLU) must be sealed and stored securely for at least 45 days. Secondly, the Election Commission of India (ECI) is tasked with exploring the feasibility of using electronic machines to count paper slips and considering the inclusion of bar codes for each party alongside symbols. This directive applies to all EVMs whose symbol loading process occurs on or after May 1, 2024.

What is EVMs and VVPATs


An EVM consists of two units: the control unit and the balloting unit. These are linked by a cable. The EVM’s control unit is located with the presiding officer, commonly referred to as the polling officer. The balloting unit is stored in the voting space, where voters cast their ballots. The balloting device is typically covered on both sides to protect the voter’s privacy.

At the voting station, the polling official confirms your identity before pressing the ballot button, which allows you to vote. Candidates’ names and symbols are displayed on the ballot unit, with blue buttons next to each. The voter must push the button beside the name of the candidate of their preference.

The voting process

The control unit with the polling officer includes several buttons. One of them is labelled ‘ballot’. When the officer hits this button, a flashing red light labelled ‘busy’ turns on. This means that the control unit is prepared to record one vote. The green light on the ballot unit, wherein the registered voter is turned on, indicates that the machine is prepared to vote. The voter then pushes the button beside the name of the contender of his or her preference. The ballot unit also includes a Braille script for visually challenged voters. When the voter casts their vote, the control unit makes a beep sound to indicate that the voting is over.  The control device also has an LED screen and buttons for viewing the total number of votes registered. After all votes have been counted, the polling officer pushes a button on the back of the control unit to close the machine. On counting day, a button labelled results is utilized to view candidate-specific vote totals. Additionally, a ‘clear’ button can be utilized to remove all data from the control panel.


The VVPAT (Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail) allows a voter to determine if their vote was properly cast and went to the candidate they favor. When a voter clicks the button next to the name of their candidate of preference, the VVPAT, which is linked to the control and ballot units, produces a paper slip that the voter may see for a period of seven seconds. After that, the paper slip is dropped into a box in the VVPAT machine.

Currently, votes collected on 5 VVPAT machines have been verified against EVMs in each Assembly segment. The Supreme Court applications seek 100% double-checking of VVPAT slips against votes logged on EVMs. The petitioners have also requested that the seven-second light on the VVPAT remain illuminated so that voters can check to see if their votes have been properly recorded. Another option was to distribute paper slips to voters. The Election Commission has disputed this, claiming that it jeopardizes voter secrecy and could be abused.

The voting process

The Election Commission claims that the EVM mechanism is foolproof. The poll body claims it reduces vote counting time, is tamper-proof, and is user-friendly. It is also portable yet sturdy, which is important in a country where voting officials must travel far and even climb hills in order to reach remote polling booths. The EVM can self-diagnose and is a stand-alone machine. EVMs do not require energy and come with battery/power packs. This is another critical feature that allows voting in locations without a reliable power supply. EVMs and VVPATs are subjected to First Level Checking (FLC) before each election. During this inspection, the data on the EVMs is deleted, and the functionality of various components is tested. This examination is conducted in the presence of members from political parties.

Background of EVM and VVPATs issue

Shift from paper ballots to electronic voting machines (EVMs): 

  • Under the paper ballot system, each candidate’s name, symbol, and serial number are printed on a piece of paper known as ballot paper. 
  • Voters can mark the designated space for each contender in the contest to cast their ballot. 
  • After that, a voter must deposit the ballot in the ballot box and fold it according to the instructions. 
  • Only votes that are correctly marked are counted in favour of that candidate.

When was VVPAT made available? 

The Commission was able to utilize VVPAT with EVMs after the Indian government notified the amendments to the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 on August 14, 2013. On September 4, 2013, at the Nagaland byelection for the Noksen Assembly Constituency, the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) was first implemented.

Supreme Court’s decision on EVMs and VVPATs

On Friday, April 26th, the Supreme Court dismissed a petition calling for a complete verification of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips alongside the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) tally.

The first was that when all symbols had been loaded into the computer, the SLU, or symbol loading unit, must be secured and stored for at least 45 days. The SLU storage containers must be secured and signed by the candidates. The court explained that the sealed containers carrying the SLUs must be kept in storerooms alongside the EVMs for at least 45 days after the results are declared.

The second was that if candidates request this, a team of engineers must inspect the burnt memory in the EVM microcontroller after the results are announced.

The court stated that this request, which can be submitted by candidates who finished second or third in the election, must be lodged within seven days of the results being declared.

According to the court, the candidate will be responsible for the expenses associated with this verification. If it is discovered that the EVM has been tampered with, the payment will be returned.

The Supreme Court additionally recommended that the Election Commission investigate the idea of utilizing a machine for calculating VVPAT slips. Currently, VVPAT slips from five randomly chosen EVMs in each Assembly segment are being checked.

VVPAT Directions

The VVPA is a separate mechanism attached to the EVM, which enables voters to verify that their votes have been submitted correctly. When a vote is given, a slip with the candidate’s serial number, name, and symbol is generated and visible to the voter for seven seconds behind an opaque screen before being stored in a sealed box.

In the event of apparent inconsistencies, the paper slips may be cross-checked against the electronically recorded votes to determine whether the declared result is accurate.

During the proceedings, the poll panel stated that each VVPAT machine had a 4MB flash memory that saves the party insignia. The court stated that this equipment, known as the SLU, shall be stored in locked storerooms alongside the EVMs.

EVM process

The EVM consists of two units: the control unit and the voting unit. They are connected with a cable. The control unit is with the polling officer, whereas the voting unit is located where people vote and is normally covered on both sides for privacy. Each main component of the EVM contains its own microchip. Every microchip comprises a one-time programmable chip that cannot be overwritten, thus the preloaded software cannot be reconfigured in a specific way. Furthermore, all EVMs are standalone machines that are not accessible via a network and are not linked to any external devices. There additionally exists no operating system or OS, which means that EVMs cannot be programmed to select a specific candidate or party.

Reforms in the electoral process

Authorities’ efforts at electoral reform can be roughly categorized into two groups: pre-2000 and post-2000. The following section discusses both of these:

Election Reforms Prior 2000

Voting Age Reduction: The 61st Amendment Act of the Constitution lowered the voting age requirement from twenty-one to eighteen years old.

Election Commission Deputation: During the duration of their employment, all staff members involved in compiling, updating, and fixing electoral rolls will be deemed to be on deputation to the Election Commission (EC) under the EC’s supervision.

Increase in the number of proposers and security deposit: In order to deter frivolous candidates, the number of electors that must sign as proposers in the papers of nomination for elections to the State Legislative Councils and the Rajya Sabha has been raised to 10% of the constituency’s electors, whichever is less. In an effort to deter insincere applicants, the security deposit was additionally increased.

EVMs, or electronic voting machines: EVMs were first utilized in 1998 during the state elections in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan. Today, they are extensively used because they are reliable, effective, and a more environmentally friendly option.

Disqualification following a conviction for breaking the National Honours Act of 1971: This will prevent the offender from running for office in the state legislature or the parliament for six years.

Prohibition against running for office from more than two constituencies: More than two constituencies cannot be represented by a single contender.

The demise of a candidate in the contest: In the past, the election was overturned due to the passing of a rival candidate. No election shall be overturned in the future due to the passing of a contender. The party in question will have the opportunity to nominate a different candidate within seven days of the Election Commission sending them a notice to that effect if the deceased candidate was supported by an established national or state party. It is against the law to carry a weapon to or near a polling place. There is a maximum two-year jail sentence for this. Employees of organizations are entitled to paid holidays on election days, and failing to observe this policy may result in fines.

Ban on the sale of alcohol: During the 48 hours that follow the hour when the polls close, no private or public store, restaurant, or other establishment within a polling area may sell, provide, or distribute alcohol or other intoxicants.

The deadline for the byelections: It is currently mandatory to hold bye-elections to any House of Parliament or State Legislature within six months of the vacancy occurring in that House. There has been a shorter campaign time.

Election Reforms Following 2000

The nation’s election system is the focus of the electoral reforms. Below is a list of these electoral reforms:

Ceiling on election expenditure: The amount of money a political party can spend on a candidate or on an election is currently uncapped. However, the Commission has set a spending limit for each contender. It is between Rs. 50 and Rs. 70 lakh for Lok Sabha elections, contingent on the state from where the candidate is running, and between Rs. 20 and Rs. 28 lakh for assembly elections.

Limitation on exit polls: Prior to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Election Commission (EC) released a statement stating that findings from exit polls could only be aired following the conclusion of the last round of voting. This was done to make sure that potential voters wouldn’t be misled or biased in any way.

Postal ballot voting: In 2013, the European Commission made the decision to broaden the scope of postal ballot voting within the nation. Before, postal ballots were only available for voting by Indian employees serving in foreign missions and, to a lesser extent, by defence personnel. Now, there are 6 types of voters who can utilize the postal ballot: service voters, special voters, spouses of service voters and special voters, voters undergoing preventive detention, voters on election duty and Notified voters.

Creating Awareness: In honour of the day the European Community was founded, the government has declared January 25th to be “National Voters Day.”


The Supreme Court’s directives on EVMs and VVPATs uphold the integrity of India’s electoral process by ensuring transparency and accountability. Mandating secure storage of symbol loading units and allowing for inspection of EVM memory address concerns of tampering and bolstering voter trust. However, the dismissal of the petition for complete VVPAT verification may raise some doubts. Moving forward, continued vigilance and technological advancements, such as exploring machine counting of VVPAT slips, are crucial for enhancing electoral integrity. With these measures, India can maintain fair and credible elections, safeguarding the democratic principles it upholds.


Which state used EVM first in India?

The EVMs were initially used in a by-election for the Paravur assembly constituency in Kerala in 1982, with a small number of voting stations.

Who makes EVM in India?

Electronic voting is the preferred method of conducting elections in India, with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). State-owned Electronics Corporation of India and Bharat Electronics created the technology for India’s Election Commission.

What is the full form of Vvpat?

Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail is the full form of VVPAT.

What is the benefit of EVM?

EVM lowers forging votes because, according to election commission guidelines, one individual can cast one vote at a time, and the votes are saved in the EVM’s memory. The software was directly regulated by polling booth officers. When votes are fully closed, there will be no chance of a fraudulent vote.