The Election Commission of India on Friday told the Supreme Court that an increase in the sample size of Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail slips would lead to a six-day delay in the results of the Lok Sabha polls, The Hindu reported. The poll panel also said an increase in the sample size will improve the reliability of the results by a “very negligible” amount.

The Supreme Court had asked the Election Commission to explain why verification of ballots through paper trail should not be extended to more than one polling station in every Assembly segment. The Supreme Court on Monday said it will hear on April 1 a petition filed by 21 Opposition parties, who have sought the verification of at least 50% of the votes using the VVPAT machines.

The commission, in its affidavit said, that the current confidence level in the Electronic Voting Machine and VVPAT system is already 99.9936%. It said the Opposition’s petition was not based on scientific logic or statistical basis.

The Election Commission said the present method of counting the VVPAT slips is the most suitable, PTI reported.

The parties that have approached the court include the Congress, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party, Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party, Aam Aadmi Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, the Trinamool Congress, National Conference, the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Rashtriya Lok Dal, Sharad Yadav’s Loktantrik Janata Dal, and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

The parties want stricter standards and safety norms instituted to prevent tampering of electronic voting machines.

Opposition parties have raised doubts about the credibility of electronic voting machines a number of times in the last two years. However, the Election Commission has repeatedly denied allegations that the machines can be tampered with.

On January 24, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora reiterated that the country would not revert to using ballot papers for elections.

The Lok Sabha elections will be held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19, and the results will be declared on May 23.