PMK to seek audit of voter paper trail

Chennai, May 31 (IANS) The PMK will seek an audit or cross-checking of May 16 polling as recorded by the electronic voting machines and on the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system, said party leader Anbumani Ramadoss.

The party will also seek an amendment to the Representation of the People Act giving the Election Commission sufficient powers to conduct the polls in a free and fair manner like the powers to disqualify a party or a candidate for bribing voters and other acts.

“We will soon petition the Election Commission to audit the paper trail system (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) that was installed in 17 assembly constituencies during the May 16 assembly polls in Tamil Nadu,” former union minister and PMK leader Ramadoss told IANS.

“We demand reverting to paper ballot system. The voting machines can be tampered with in couple of minutes. The system can be programmed in such a way that every fifth vote will be in favour of a particular party,” Ramadoss said.

Alongside the voting machine, another box-like item with a paper roll was kept in the polling booths in the 17 assembly constituencies.

Once a voter pressed the button on the voting machine to register his vote, he was able to see the symbol getting printed in the paper roll in the adjacent box.

“Instead of paper getting stored inside that machine, the voter should be able to tear it off and put it inside another box so that cross verification is possible,” Ramadoss said.

The PMK is one of the political parties that has raised doubts over the integrity of electronic voting machines which, they said, could be programmed in such a way that votes could be manipulated in favour of certain symbols.

Ramadoss also said proportional representation should be brought in instead of the first-past-the post system.

“Around 92 lakh people have voted against AIADMK and DMK in the recent elections. But they are not represented in the assembly,” he said.

Looking back at the May 16 assembly elections, Ramadoss said he was satisified with the results of 15 months’ work and the new strategy that the party followed.

The party went alone in the polls and drew blank in all the 232 constituencies it contested.

Even Ramadoss, the chief ministerial candidate of the PMK, lost the election.

“I don’t want to sound like a bad loser. But the fact is money power and an Election Commission that was indecisive on complaints it received pulled us down in this election,” he said.

Looking at the positive side of the 2016 elections, Ramadoss said the party got 12 per cent vote share polled in around 100 constituencies and this shows the party is growing.

“As per our calculations, bulk of the people who voted for us are below 40. This voter segment is expected to grow in the coming elections. The youth have accepted our slogan – growth and progress,” Ramadoss said.



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