Old video of vote-counting procedure shared as 'EVM tampering' in Indian elections

By: Umme Kulsum
April 24 2024

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Old video of vote-counting procedure shared as 'EVM tampering' in Indian elections

Screenshot of a viral post claiming that BJP workers can been seen tampering with EVMs in the video. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The video dates back to December 2022 and shows VVPAT slips being removed to further verify the vote count in Bhavnagar during the Gujarat polls.

Claim ID 37d6d722

What’s the claim?

A video of some people removing paper slips from voting machines stored in a room is being shared with the claim that it shows tampering with the polling mechanism and 'electoral fraud' by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during the ongoing 2024 Indian general elections. The footage focuses on a man opening a sealed box, retrieving a machine, emptying the slips, and putting them into a black envelope before resealing the box with a new paper roll. 

A user on X (formerly Twitter) shared the clip with the caption in Hindi, "In the election held on 19.4.2024, BJP's parliamentary workers will change slips from EVM and VVPAT machines kept under tight security, so Modi ji will cross 400 like this (translated)." Archived versions of the posts and similar others can be found here, and here.

 Screenshot of claims made online. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, the video in question is neither recent nor does it depict tampering with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

What did we find?

Logically Facts conducted a reverse image search using the keyframes from the viral video and discovered a Facebook post (archived here) shared on December 12, 2022. The post featured the same viral clip, with a caption in Gujarati that translates to: "See with your own eyes how BJP's contractors win. This is from Bhavnagar district." 

We then came across an X post shared in December 2022 by the user "@WeThePeople3009" (archived here). The post featured the same clip and alleged that it was recorded during the 2022 Gujarat Assembly Elections in the Bhavnagar constituency of the state.

Upon further investigation, it was found that Indian documentary filmmaker Rakesh Sharma had then raised doubts about the video shared by '@WeThePeople3009' and had tagged the Election Commission of India (ECI) and the spokesperson for the ECI. In response, the Bhavnagar Collector and District Magistrate issued a clarification (archived here) on the video on December 15, 2022.

The clarification stated: "As per ECI instructions, after the counting is done, the VVPAT slips are removed from the VVPATs and are put in a black envelope and the same is sealed. So that the VVPATs can be used for further elections. The entire process is videographed. One copy of the same is kept in the strong room and one with the DEO (District Election Officer) concerned (sic)." (The Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail or VVPAT is a printed paper slip containing the symbol of the candidate for whom a vote has been cast using the EVM. The VVPAT slip is visible to the voter for seven seconds before dropping into a sealed box. )

This shows that the video is not recent but reportedly captures a post-counting procedure during the 2022 Gujarat assembly elections. The clarification from Bhavnagar's top bureaucrat also indicates that the incident in question does not depict any tampering with EVMs.

Why are VVPATs removed?

The Election Commission of India also took to X on April 23 to clarify that the now-viral video shows a post-counting exercise as per the ECI guidelines (archived here).

The commission has a guide on removing VVPAT slips from the machines once voting concludes and the votes are counted. After the counting of votes concludes, VVPAT slips are often taken out from the drop-box of the printer after the declaration of results or counting of votes to ensure transparency in the tallying of votes. The guide states that removing VVPAT slips allows election officials to reconcile the electronic vote count with paper records, providing an additional layer of verification to the poll results.

The verdict

A video from 2022 of VVPAT slips being removed from machines after the counting of votes is being falsely shared as EVM tampering during the ongoing 2024 India general elections. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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