Electronic Voting Machines
“The real winner of Election 2004 was the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM). A part from ensuring a smooth counting process the little boxes provided political parties with accurate information about voting patterns in different segments in the constituency. In the days of manual voting when the ballots of the whole constituency were mixed in a huge carton before it were counter, there was no accurate way of telling how a peculiar area had voted. Now the EVM with its booth wise voting figures provides this information on a platter. What’s more, the ballot break up forms it possible to pin the blame on workers in areas where the party performed poorly and did not achieve the expected votes”.
General Elections 2004 has created a history by making ballot boxes a thing of the past. Nearly, 10,75000 Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) have ‘digitised’ the poll outcome not only in all the Parliamentary Constituencies for the first time, but also in the Assembly constituencies in the four states where elections were held. ‘Other countries including Brazil, the United States and the Netherlands, also used electronic voting machines but in smaller numbers.
The change in this field is having a deep impact on politics. Supporters say it’s also good for the environment in a country attempting to protect its vanishing forests. More than 8,000 tons of paper, made from about 16 million trees, has been used to print ballots for past federal elections.
The electronic Voting Machine (EVM) is a modern phenomenon in India. The Election Commission (EC) has utilized the services of. two major industrial enterprises i.e, M/S Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), Hyderabad and M/S Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Bangalore, for the design and development of suitable version of the EVMs. These machines were practicised for the first time during the General Elections to the Kerala legislative Assembly held in May, 1982. Thereafter, these machines were utilized in 1982-1983 in ten other constituencies spread over eight states in various party of the country including some sensitive regions in the North-East.
During November, 1998, the Election Commission introduced EVMs for elections to the State Assemblies in three states-Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and the NCT of Delhi-in a total of 16 Assembly Constituencies with nearly 3,000 polling stations. The experiments was an unqualified success. The simple and easy function of the machines and fast counting was well received by the electors, parties, candidates and the election officials.
A formal study of the use of EVMs was conducted by the Centre for Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) on behalf of the Election Commission of India. This has indicated that more than 95% of the voters have welcomed the use of EVMs. Encouraged by this positive response, the commission used EVMs in assembly constituencies during bye elections held in February, 1999. The entire state of Goa voted with EVMs to elect a new State Assembly in June, 1999. The Election Commission formulated detailed planning and monitoring of the entire operations on each of the three occasions in which EVMs were used. It has also conducted comprehensive reviews immediately after the completion of such elections to further improve the management of the electoral events using EVMs. Consequently, the commission made extensive use of EMVs during the General Election for Lok Sabha in 1999 in 46 Parliamentary Constituencies spread over 17 States and Union Territories, this being a quantum jump over the maximum coverage of EVMs so far.
What does an EVM units comprise of?
The EVM consists of two units that can be inter-linked one, a ballot unit which a voter uses to exercise his vote. And the other, a control unit—used by the polling officials.
The Ballot Unit: An electronic ballot box
A simple voting device, it displays the list of candidates. A facility to incorporate party names and symbols is in-build. All the voters have to just press it the desired switch located next to the name of each candidate. The main advantage is the speed, a part from the simplicity of operation, which requires no training at all. A single ballot unit takes in the names of 16 candidates. And thus, by connecting four ballot units the EVM can accommodate a total of 64 candidates in a single election.
The Control Unit : ( controls the polling process )
Conduction of polling, display of total votes polled, sealing at the end of the poll, and finally, declaration of results these are the various accomplishments of just one gadget: the control unit. In total control of the polling, this electronic unit gives you all necessary information at a press of a few buttons. For instance, if you need to know the total number of votes, you just have to press the total switch. Candidates-wise result can be had only at the end of polling.
Independent & Reliable
The EVM is compact and comes in its reusable carry pack. Further, the EVM works/operates on a battery power source. Making it independent and totally reliable.
To commence polling, the polling officer activates the “Ballot” switch on the control unit. The voter then has to press the button of his/her choice on the ballot unit. This is followed by a short beep sound, indicating that vote has been cast. Once again, the poling officer has to press the “Ballot” switch to clear the machine for the next voter to cast his/her Vote.
Super-Sensitive Circuitry: No invalid votes
Inside the control unit, hidden from us, is an extremely ‘sensitive circuitry that takes care of common election errors or malpractices like vote duplication. For instance, if one was to press two more buttons simultaneously. Then no vote would be cast. Even if there was a micro-second differences in the pressing of the switches, the EVM is sensitive enough to trace and identify the switch that was press first.
Normally, an EVM displays results on the displays panel of the control unit. But a printout option is available with the use of a Down-load Adaptor Unit (DAU). The DAV has to be connected to the control unit and any standard printer. Further, with the help of a modem, the DAU can also enable transmission of voting information to a distant centralized computer.
The most important aspect of the use of the EVM is that it makes the booth capturing an impossible task.
In short words, EVM is an electronic marvel and retains all the characteristics of voting by ballot papers while making polling a lot more expedient being fast and absolutely reliable, the EVM saves considerable time, money and manpower. And of course, helps maintain total voting secrecy without the use of ballot papers. Thus, EVM is 100 percent tamper proof.