A video has been circulating on social media showing some men taking out ballots from several Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines and placing them into a black bag. The claim accompanying this video suggests that the footage is related to the first phase of polling in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, held on April 19, 2024. Users have also claimed that ballots were being stolen from VVPAT machines by BJP functionaries.

A user named Sandeep Varma tweeted the video, alleging that after the elections on April 19, ballots were being stolen from VVPAT machines kept under tight security, and the BJP was carrying out the exercise.

A user named Jennifer Fernandes tweeted the video, questioning the Election Commission and asking why these machines were being tampered with.

A user named Kiran Patnaik also raised questions while tweeting the video, asking where the ballots were being taken without them being counted.

Fact Check

Alt News performed a reverse image search using one of the frames from the viral video on Google. This led us to the original video, which was uploaded by a user on December 13, 2022. In other words, the video is old and has no connection to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

The Collector of Bhavnagar had also issued a reply from their official handle, stating that as per the Election Commission’s guidelines, after the completion of counting, the ballots were removed from the VVPAT machines, placed into a black envelope, and sealed for future elections. He added that the entire process was videographed, with one copy stored in a strong room and another kept with the relevant district election officer.

To sum up, several social media users shared an old video of the routine process of removing ballots from VVPAT machines, falsely linking it to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and making the false claim that ballots were being stolen from the machines by BJP workers.

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About the Author

Abhishek is a senior fact-checking journalist and researcher at Alt News. He has a keen interest in information verification and technology. He is always eager to learn new skills, explore new OSINT tools and techniques. Prior to joining Alt News, he worked in the field of content development and analysis with a major focus on Search Engine Optimization (SEO).