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#Thread - A heads-up on the EVM-VVPAT hearing tomorrow before the Supreme Court. 1/n
2. A batch of Writ Petitions challenging the ECI's decision to audit EVM counts using VVPATs in no more than one polling station per constituency are coming for hearing. 2/n
3. First of those was filed by M.G. Devasahayam (a former civil servant who has has himself conducted elections) and others. The Supreme Court had issued notice in the matter in January this year. thehindu.com/news/national/…
4. M.G Devasahayam's petition among other grounds, argued that elections not only are to be free and fair but also be seen to be free and fair and for that it is necessary therefore to audit the EVM counts in a statistically significant sample of polling stations.
5. This statistically significant sample ought to be in the vicinity of 30%, if one were to look at a 98% confidence level and a based on an expert opinion obtained from one Dr. S.K.Nath, a former Director General of the Central Statistics Organisation.
6. The Petitioners including M.G. Devasahayam had a history of engagement with the @ECISVEEP on the subject. The recommendations of the recent report of Dr. Abhay Bhat and others recommending choosing only 479 polling stations randomly across the length & breadth ...
7. ...of the country was available at the time to the Petitioners. Dr. S.K. Nath's report also questions the several fallacious assumptions in the report.
8. In February, the Election Commission filed a Counter-Affidavit in M.G Devasahayam's petition not replying to the contentions in the petitions, but only taking a preliminary ground that such a prayer is not maintainable and that previous similar petitions have been ...
8... dismissed by the Supreme Court.
9. In the meanwhile, another Petition by Dr. @rameshbell was filed before the Supreme Court seeking a 50% sample selection of polling stations based on a statistical method that had received assent and certifications by ...
10. ...
Prof. Srikanth K Iyer, Professor of Mathematics, Indian Institute of
Dr. Surinder Pal Singh Kainth, Asst. Professor of Mathematics,
Punjab University;
Prof. Thomas B Gregory, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics Ohio
State University

and others.
11. Even as the two petitions were pending before the Supreme Court, 21 political parties moved the SC seeking a similar prayer asking for 50% sample selection of polling stations in each constituency.
12. During the hearing of that petition, the Supreme Court sought the physical presence of an official of the EC to state if the sample sizes could be increased.
13. The Deputy Election Commissioner, Mr. Sudeep Jain (Incharge of the EVM) division stated to the Court that no such higher sample selection was required and that they now have an "ISI Report" that has indicated a small sample size was enough and the EC was satisifed.
14. The Supreme Court bench presided by the CJI then asked to file an affidavit detailing the basis of the satisfaction the ECI on its current methodology of auditing the EVM counts in merely one polling station per constituency/assembly segment.
15. The ECI then filed an affidavit also annexing the "ISI Report" that recommended randomly choosing 479 polling stations to do the VVPAT audit across the country.
16. The petitioners in all the cases have filed rejoinders questioning the basis of the report.

A news break today has also indicated that the "ISI Report" is not really an ISI report, but only a report by the head of the ISI Delhi centre in its personal capacity.
17. Link that newsreport is here: newsclick.in/vvpat-so-calle…
18. Among other things the petitioners have pointed out how the basic assumptions in the ISI report are incorrect.
19. That they have incorrectly considered the election across India as one homogenous event even as the reality is that the elections happen to each constituency and are 543 different events.
20. That the experts committee have completely missed the point that the audit is required not as a quality check on the machines but to satisfy the integrity of the election in *each* constituency.
21. The experts committee has put the cart before the horse when it assumes that EVMs by themselves are all identical (which is not even true because there can be different candidate list lengths across different constituencies) and there is no chance of bias.
22. The petitioners have also pointed out how by their own methods, it would require 60% sample size for a constituency with 500 polling stations and much higher percentages when it is less than 500 (Avg no of polling stations in each constituency is approx 250)
23. Some of the excerpts of the rejoinder on the Bhat report are here.
23. The ECI in their Affidavit had also indicated how VVPAT audits in 50% of all polling stations take more than 6 additional days and delay the results.
24. The Petitioners have also responded to that pointing out that EC's assumption is based on counting one polling station at a time when in fact normally there is a parellelism of upto 15 tables bringing down the EC's estimates by 15 times!
25. The EC's affidavit and the Petitioner's responses to it will be considered tomorrow by a bench led by the CJI in the Supreme Court. Senior Advocates @KapilSibal , @DrAMSinghvi and @sanjayuvacha are slated to represent the Petitioners' side.
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