Election Commission Revises Protocol For Symbol Loading Unit Of EVM, VVPAT

New Delhi: The Election Commission has implemented new protocols for handling and storing symbol loading units (SLUs) following Supreme Court orders.

The SLUs, which upload candidate names and symbols onto VVPAT machines, are now required to be sealed and stored alongside EVMs in strongrooms for at least 45 days post-results declaration. State chief electoral officers have been instructed to establish necessary infrastructure to adhere to these protocols.

Effective May 1, 2024, the revised protocols apply to all instances of symbol loading in VVPATs. The Supreme Court’s ruling also permits verification of micro-controllers embedded in EVMs upon request from candidates who finish second or third in the elections.

Previously, SLUs were handed over to local poll officials after elections, then returned to manufacturers BEL or ECIL.

Transparency measures were enhanced in recent years, allowing candidates or their representatives to observe the symbol loading process on TV monitors.

Furthermore, the prescribed 45-day post-results period provides an opportune window for the filing of election petitions, enabling stakeholders to address any concerns or irregularities that may arise during the electoral process. This mechanism serves as a vital safeguard against malpractice and electoral fraud.

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