Allegations of EVM Malfunction in Kerala Mock Poll Dismissed by Election Officials

Allegations of EVM malfunctions in Kerala mock polls raise concerns over electoral integrity, prompting legal challenges. Officials dismiss claims, but transparency measures remain crucial to uphold public trust in democracy.

Trim Correspondents
Updated On
New Update
Allegations of EVM Malfunction in Kerala Mock Poll Dismissed by Election Officials

Allegations of EVM Malfunction in Kerala Mock Poll Dismissed by Election Officials

In a mock poll conducted in Kasargod, Kerala on April 17, four Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) allegedly registered votes for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) despite voters pressing symbols of other political parties. The incident prompted candidates from the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and United Democratic Front (UDF) to file complaints with election authorities.

However, Kerala's Chief Electoral Officer, Sanjay Kaul, rejected the allegations as baseless, citing the Election Commission's (EC) standards and safety measures in place for EVMs. "The voting machines used in the Lok Sabha elections in Kerala are completely safe and flawless, and there is no need to worry," Kaul stated. He explained that a Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slip that had not been printed during the initial inspection was printed during the mock poll, and the 'Not to be counted' message on the slip made it evident that it was from the preliminary process.

The Supreme Court of India is currently hearing petitions seeking a direction to ensure that voters can verify their votes through VVPAT slips. During the proceedings, the court asked the EC to explain how EVMs and VVPATs work together to ensure the integrity and transparency of the electoral process. The EC clarified its procedures, stating that EVMs undergo mock polling before being stored, with representatives from all political parties present.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan highlighted the case from Kasargod where discrepancies were detected in mock poll results, with extra votes recorded for the BJP. The petitions seek to cross-verify votes cast on EVMs with VVPAT paper slips, raising significant questions about the transparency and fairness of the electoral system.

Why this matters: The integrity of the electoral process is vital for maintaining public trust in democracy. Allegations of EVM malfunctions, even if dismissed by officials, can sow doubts among voters and political parties. Ensuring robust safeguards and transparency measures is critical to uphold the credibility of elections.

The Chief Electoral Officer of Kerala reiterated that the EVMs used in the Lok Sabha elections are completely safe and flawless. "The agents of the LDF and UDF candidates had raised complaints regarding BJP getting extra votes in the mock poll, but the Chief Electoral Officer dismissed these allegations as baseless," Kaul said. The Election Commission remains committed to conducting free and fair elections, with the necessary standards and safety measures in place to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the voting process.

Key Takeaways

  • Mock poll in Kerala showed BJP votes despite other party symbols pressed.
  • Kerala CEO dismissed allegations, said EVMs are safe and flawless.
  • Supreme Court asked EC to explain EVM-VVPAT integrity and transparency.
  • Advocate Bhushan highlighted Kasargod case of extra BJP votes in mock poll.
  • Ensuring robust safeguards is critical to uphold credibility of elections.