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Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) UPSC NOTE

 

  • In the first two general elections of 1952 and 1957, a separate box was placed for each candidate with their election symbol. 

  • Voters had to drop a blank ballot paper into the box of the candidate whom they wanted to vote for. 

  • Thereafter from the third election, the ballot paper with names of candidate and their symbols was introduced with voters putting a stamp on the candidate of their choice.

  • The EVM was introduced on a trial basis in 1982 in the Assembly constituency of Paravur in Kerala. 

  • They were deployed in all booths during the Assembly elections of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry and West Bengal in 2001. 

  • The Supreme Court in various judgments has upheld the validity of using EVMs in elections. 

  • In the 2004 general elections to the Lok Sabha, EVMs were used in all 543 constituencies. 

  • In Subramanian Swamy versus Election Commission of India (2013), the Supreme Court ruled that a paper trail is an indispensable requirement for free and fair elections. 

  • The 2019 elections had EVMs backed with 100% VVPAT in all constituencies

Concerns

  • Despite its advantages, there have been doubts raised about the functioning of EVMs by various political parties and civil society activists from time to time. 

  • The most repeated allegation is that EVMs are susceptible to hacking as it is an electronic device.


Voting practices in other countries

  • Many western democracies continue to have paper ballots for their elections. 

  • Countries like England, France, The Netherlands and the U.S. have discontinued the use of EVMs, for national or federal elections, after trials in the last two decades. 

  • In Germany, the Supreme Court of the country declared the use of EVMs in elections as unconstitutional in 2009. 

  • Some countries like Brazil, however, use EVMs for their elections. 

  • Among our neighbours, Pakistan does not use EVMs. 

  • Bangladesh experimented in a few constituencies in 2018 but reverted to paper ballots for the general elections in 2024.

Way Forward

  • The 100% use of VVPAT has enabled the voters to verify that their votes are ‘recorded as cast’. 

  • However, few additional steps need to be adopted to make the entire process more robust and ensure that the votes are ‘counted as recorded’. 

  • 100% match of EVM count with VVPAT slips would be unscientific and cumbersome. 

  • The sample for matching of EVM count and VVPAT slips should be decided in a scientific manner by dividing each State into large regions as suggested by experts. 

Way Forward

  • In case of even a single error, the VVPAT slips should be counted fully for the concerned region and form the basis for results. 

  • This would instil a statistically significant confidence in the counting process. 

  • Further, in order to provide a degree of cover for voters at the booth level, ‘totaliser’ machines can be introduced that would aggregate votes in 15-20 EVMs before revealing the candidate-wise count.


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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) UPSC NOTE
Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
https://www.learnerz.in/2024/04/electronic-voting-machines-evms-upsc.html
https://www.learnerz.in/
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https://www.learnerz.in/2024/04/electronic-voting-machines-evms-upsc.html
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