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'Voting machines don't bite'

Jyoti Shukla in Raipur | November 21, 2003 10:49 IST

"Some people might mislead you that when you push the button to vote, the voting machine will bite you finger. This is not true. Please do not believe them," says a poster on the wall behind the joint election commissioner's seat in the Election Commission's office in Chhattisgarh.

Electronic Voting Machines will be used in all the 15,671 polling booths during the December 1 assembly polls in the state. Aware of the vulnerability of villagers to rumours, the EC is leaving no stone unturned to educate the common man about the working of the EVMs. Demo centres have been set up in several villages.

In Raipur, outside State Election Commission's office, there is a small blue tent where a government employee demonstrates how a vote is to be case. The crowd outside this tent is definitely several times bigger than any seen at the bigger tents selling posters, badges and different paraphernalia of various political parties.

Officer on Special Duty S K Sood said that the EVMs in Chhattisgarh are mostly single ballot units, which can accommodate names of up to sixteen candidates. Only three constituencies - Raipur, Durg and Korba - have more than 16 candidates in the poll fray. For these places, the SEC has borrowed some double ballot units from Maharashtra.

The new technology has caused changes in the election lingo. From the earlier, "…chhap par mohar laga kar vijayee banaye"  (vote for … party by putting the seal on this symbol), the graffiti on the huts in villages now reads, "Button daba kar vijayee banaye" (push the button and vote for ...)

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