By-elections in nine states have been marred by complaints of malfunctioning electronic voting machines or EVMs as well as allegations of tampering.
In Uttar Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party has alleged that the BJP has tampered with EVMs in Kairana and Noorpur in a bid to avenge its defeat in the Gorakhpur and Phulpur bypolls earlier this year. Around 84 faulty EVMs have been reported from Noorpur, while 175 have been reported from Kairana.
In Maharashtra, voting was halted in around 35 booths in the Bhandara-Gondiya by-elections due to malfunctioning EVMs, but voting has not been cancelled in any polling station. The election commission has dismissed the reports as an exaggerated projection of reality. It says "severe heat conditions" have been interfering with the machines.
According to the commission, 20 to 25% EVMs with voter verified paper audit trail or VVPAT are allocated as reserves to replace a defective machine.