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VVPAT To Be Used In All Booths During Gujarat Assembly Elections

Gandhinagar:  Electronic Voting Machines with paper trail (VVPAT) facility will be used in all the 50,128 polling booths during the coming Assembly elections in Gujarat.

Gujarat will be the second state after Goa to use the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system for Assembly polls, said the state’s Chief Electoral Officer, BB Swain, speaking to reporters here today.

Since the voters in Gujarat are not familiar with VVPAT, the Election Commission will conduct an awareness drive.

“We will use VVPAT machines in the upcoming Assembly polls. These machines will be installed in all the 50,128 booths. We will conduct an awareness drive, giving demonstrations to political parties and members of the press in all the districts,” said Swain.

“For voters, we will prepare a mock polling booth in a van and give demonstrations at public places and educational institutions,” he added.

Arranging so many VVPAT machines won’t be a problem as a large number of machines have already arrived in the state while the remaining lot will reach soon, he said.

The EC has completed revision of electoral rolls and prepared ‘mother electoral rolls’ (the final rolls which will be used during the election), he said.

“Against 2012, there is an increase of around 52 lakh voters (in the last five years). The total number of voters in Gujarat now is 4.33 crore, including 10 lakh new voters (added during the last one year) who will exercise the voting right for the first time,” he said.

The EC has also increased the number of polling booths to make sure that voters do not have to travel too far.

“Following surveys, we decided to limit the number of voters per single rural polling booth to 1,200 and to 1,400 for an urban polling booth. So the number of booths has gone up to 50,128, some 4,500 more than in 2012,” he said.

Elections are due in Gujarat before year-end.