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     New Delhi, January 18, 2024: Ahead of the General Elections to Lok Sabha 2024, a nationwide awareness programme on Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) is underway to provide citizens with a first-hand experience of the voting process and familiarity with the machines.

     The awareness programme, which is being organised ahead of every General Election to Lok Sabha and some state Legislative Assemblies, focuses on imparting knowledge about the basic features of EVMs and VVPATs, elucidating the step-by-step procedure of casting votes, and educating voters on how to verify their choices through the VVPAT slip, Election Commission sources said.

     Awareness through physical demonstration fosters deeper understanding of EVM & VVPAT functionality and is instrumental in dispelling misconceptions, boosting voter confidence, and ensuring a more informed and participative electorate, they said.

     The programme includes outreach and awareness activities in 3464 Assembly Constituencies spread across 613 Districts in 31 States/UTs (other than Chhattisgarh and 4 states that went for polls recently).

     Over 3500 demonstration centres and around 4250 mobile vans have been set up to physically demonstrate EVM/VVPAT functionality to the public.

     CEOs and DEOs are also sharing the updates on social media platforms to enhance the outreach of this awareness programme.

     As per ECI’s standing instructions, state Chief Electoral Officers need to start a focussed awareness campaign approximately 3 months prior to the announcement of election, they said adding for this purpose the date of announcement of the last election may be considered.

     A schedule for the awareness campaign is prepared by the DEO assembly constituency/ segment-wise which is also shared with National and State Recognized Political Parties and local media.

     The Commission has a detailed Standard Operating Procedure for use of EVMs for Training and Awareness (T&A) purposes including public demonstration programmes. SOP includes protocol for handling and storage of T&A EVMs, use of only FLC-OK EVMs with dummy symbols, destruction of VVPAT slips generated during training and awareness, etc.

     The list of EVMs used for T&A is also provided with acknowledgement to the political parties.

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