With the approach of the state election, the Chief Electoral Officer of Meghalaya, Frederick Roy Kharkongor, officially launched an awareness programme here yesterday to familiarise voters with the electronic voting machine (EVM) and voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT).
Also present at the programme was T Lyngwa, Secretary to the government and Electoral Roll Observer of East Jaintia Hills, Deputy Commissioner A Baranwal, Superintendent of Police Jagpal Singh Dhanoa and others.
The Election Commission of India is stressing on continued awareness programmes on EVMs and VVPAT in order to instill confidence in the population with regards to electronic voting.
“When the EVM was first started in the 2018 general assembly election, there were doubts in the minds of the people on whether the machine is trustworthy or not,” Kharkongor said, while also informing that the Election Commission has periodically improved the EVMs and VVPAT, which work hand in hand during the election process. The current version is the M3 model, which will be used in the state elections in 2023.
This version has a “factory reset mode and is equipped with security features of the highest level to prevent any type of manipulation (meaning an attempt to tamper with the machine),” an official press release stated.
The CEO also spoke about the three components of the EVM, which comprises ballot unit, control unit and VVPAT.
He further stated that the voting percentage in East Jaintia Hills was very high in the past elections and he hoped that the turnout in the upcoming election will also be good.
“Whom you vote for is your choice, your voice and your right. Please come out in large numbers and cast your vote,” Kharkongor added.
Baranwal said that the EVM/VVPAT machines have been crucial milestones in the electoral history of India, which are the hallmarks of the continuous efforts of the Election Commission in order to make voting more transparent and to make the entire election process more credible and trustworthy.
“We hope that, through these awareness programmes, we will not only be able to inculcate awareness on the importance of voting and how to exercise your voting rights judiciously but also to impart sufficient awareness about the different practices, to give more awareness on the objectives and functions of the EVM/VVPAT and to understand how your right and votes determine the future of the state and country at large,” he added.
After the programme, Kharkongor held a meeting with the DC, SP, Zonal Magistrate and Sector Officer of the district to review the overall preparedness for the upcoming Assembly election. There was also a demonstration of EVMs and VVPAT for the participants to get firsthand knowledge of how they function