NEW DELHI: The largest difference in VVPAT and EVM count in the eight cases of mismatch found in the recent general elections was in Shillong parliamentary constituency of Meghalaya. Two polling stations for which VVPAT slips were matched with the EVM count in Shillong showed up anomalies, one amounting to four slips and the other 34 slips. A polling station in Rajampet in Andhra Pradesh showed a mismatch of seven between the VVPAT and EVM counts. The EVM and VVPAT count did not throw up a perfect match in Shimla constituency where a polling station showed a difference of one vote. In Rajasthan, the EVM tally differed from the VVPAT count by one vote in a polling station each in Chittorgarh and Pali constituencies. Manipur reported two cases of mismatch between VVPAT and EVM count. A polling station in Inner Manipur showed a difference of one vote while another polling station in Outer Manipur showed a gap of two. Election Commission officials, who are determined to examine reasons for the mismatches, are yet to get access to the said EVMs and VVPATs as state chief electoral officers are still obtaining a list of election petitions filed in the respective high courts. “Our information so far is that no election petition has been filed challenging the result in constituencies where the eight cases of mismatch were found. So, we should get to examine the EVMs and VVPATs soon,” an EC functionary told TOI. Preliminary assessment by the EC of the eight mismatches – which amounted to barely 0.0004% of the total 20,687 random EVMs for which VVPAT slips were counted and too minor to make any difference to the result – attributed them to human error. An official explained that in Shillong, where VVPAT slips were 34 less than the EVM count, and even in Rajampet where the mismatch was of seven votes, the discrepancy was possibly due to failure on part of the presiding officer to delete mock poll data, notwithstanding EC’s repeated instructions to do so. The officer added that while a recount was usually taken in the event of EVM count not tallying with the number of VVPAT slips, it was possible that the same was dispensed with as the candidate/agents did not insist on it, knowing it would not alter the result. As for the difference of 1-2 slips, it is suspected to be an outcome of bundling of VVPAT slips. “The bundled slips may still be counted as one in a recount,” an EC official said.
Source