EVM and VVPAT have made it easy to conduct elections among such a large population in India in a short time and with transparency. However, questions were also raised on the credibility of EVMs and that is why VVPATs were also added to it so that people’s trust in it remains intact.
In this article, we will discuss EVM and VVPAT in a simple and easy way and understand its other important aspects too, so read till the end;
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The EVMs were prepared by a technical expert committee of the Election Commission in collaboration with two public sector undertakings, Bharat Electronics Limited, Bangalore and Electronic Corporation of India Limited, Hyderabad.
EVMs were first used in 1982 in the 70-Parur assembly constituency of Kerala. In 2003, EVMs were used in all state elections and by-elections. This experiment was completely successful, after this the Election Commission used only EVMs in the Lok Sabha elections in 2004 and now it is a common practice.
What is EVM?
Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) is an electronic device for recording votes. Which is made up of two units – a control unit and a balloting unit – which are connected by a five-meter cable.
Its control unit is kept with the presiding officer or polling officer and the ballot unit is kept inside the polling room. In the earlier system where the Presiding Officer or Polling Officer used to issue the ballot paper to the voter after stamping it and dropping it in the ballot box, but now instead of issuing the ballot paper, the person who has the control unit issues a digital ballot by pressing the button. So that the EVMs are ready to cast their votes. The voter casts his vote by pressing the blue button on the ballot unit in front of the candidate of his choice and his election symbol.
EVMs do not require electricity. The EVM runs on a simple battery added by Bharat Electronics Limited/Electronics Corporation of India Limited.
What are the benefits of using EVMs?
EVMs eliminate the possibility of illegal and questionable votes, which were seen in large numbers during each election, during the paper ballot system. In fact, in many cases, the number of ‘illegal and doubtful votes’ exceeded the margin of victory, leading to numerous complaints and lawsuits. Thus EVMs have made the electoral system more authentic, so that the process of counting of votes has become easier and faster.
With the use of EVMs, one gets rid of printing lakhs of ballot papers for each election, resulting in huge savings in terms of cost of paper, printing, transportation, storage and distribution. And at the same time it has a direct positive effect on the environment as well.
The process of counting of votes becomes very fast. While the counting of votes took an average of 30-40 hours under the traditional ballot paper system, the same count can be done within 3 to 5 hours in EVMs.
So overall it has advantages but still questions have been raised about its authenticity from the very beginning and there are many such cases which have reached the court such as
- Madras High Court-2001
- Kerala High Court-2002
- Delhi High Court-2004
- Karnataka High Court- 2004
- Bombay High Court (Nagpur Bench)-2004
- Uttarakhand High Court – 2017
- Supreme Court of India – 2017
However, after a detailed analysis of various aspects relating to EVM controversy, the EVMs’ credibility, reliability and error-freedom have been upheld in all cases by various High Courts.
VVPATs were introduced with the aim of taking voters and critics into confidence and proving the authenticity of EVMs . EVMs fitted with VVPAT were used for the first time in the by-election of 51-Noksen (Scheduled Tribe) Assembly Constituency of Nagaland.
Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) is an independent system linked to electronic voting machines that allows voters to verify that their vote has been cast according to their wishes. When a vote is cast, a slip containing the candidate’s name, serial number and symbol is printed and visible through a transparent window for 7 seconds. After that, this printed slip is automatically cut and dropped in the sealed drop box of VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail).
EVM and VVPAT
After the introduction of VVPAT, the voting process through EVMs has become more authentic and transparent and many questions arising on it have been put to rest. Overall , this has proved to be a good step in the direction of election reform.
If you have any other query related to EVM then you can visit this FAQ of Election Commission. Also, a link to some other important articles related to this topic is being given below, definitely visit it.