LAHORE: When Prime Minister Imran Khan considers using Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) for transparent elections without criminal fraud and ballot tampering, research shows that this phenomenon appears to have worked well in more than 20 countries, including India, where April -The May 2019 general election saw 67 percent of the 911 million eligible voters cast their votes via this mode in 542 constituencies.
This machine has been used in all elections and state assemblies in India since 2014, when more than one million EVMs were used in all constituencies in the country.
EVM is an electronic device for recording sound. The Electronic Voting Machine consists of two Units – the Control Unit and the Voting Unit – connected by a five meter long cable. The EVM control unit is housed together with polling officers and the voting unit is stored inside the voting compartment. They don’t need electricity. Research conducted by “Jang Group and Geo Television Network” further shows that to date, EVM has been used in India’s 113 state assembly elections and three Lok Sabha elections since 2000. According to the “Times of India,” the largest in the world democracy has spent over Rs54 billion Indian Rupees (Pakistani equivalent of Rs116.39 billion) on EVM for the 2019 ballot.
Citing India’s Election Commission ahead of the 2019 ballot, “Business Standard”, a renowned Indian English language daily newspaper, has stated: “About 2.2 million ballot units, 1.63 million control units and nearly 1.73 million Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) will be used for the upcoming elections in 2019. “He added:” India’s elections have been marked by criminal fraud and ballot tampering since the 1950s. The first major elections with large-scale organized booth arrests observed in 1957. “
According to various media in India, electronic voting requires a capital outlay every few years for updating equipment, as well as annual expenses on maintenance, security and supplies. If it functions properly, the speed can be an advantage where there is a lot of scramble for votes on each ballot. With the EVM, instead of issuing ballot papers, polling officers will press the Vote Button which allows voters to cast their votes.
India, Australia, United Kingdom, Belgium, Brazil, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Namibia, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Switzerland, Venezuela and the Philippines, etc., using EVM.
In 2019, “India Today” has leaked: “The M2 EVM cost (produced between 2006-10) is India Rs 8,670 (equivalent to 18,687 Pakistani Rupees) per EVM (Voting Unit and Control Unit). Cost of M3 EVM is temporarily fixed. around Rs 17,000 Indian (equivalent to 36,642 Pakistani Rupees) per unit. “
The Brookings Institite in the United States states: “For a democracy of this magnitude with a complex multi-party system, election fraud is naturally a major concern. But the use of EVM in India’s electoral procedures over the years has given voters confidence that their vote is makes a meaningful difference to election results and democratic governance.Under a ballot system, polling stations are often picked up and ballot boxes filled, resulting in very high turnout. EVM helps address this risk by including an important feature – registering only five votes per minute. Committing election rigging will require an arrest at the polling station for a longer time. “
It states: “In 2013, India’s Election Commission officially incorporated the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trace machine in the electoral system. VVPAT – leaving a given ballot trail – acts as an additional layer to be verified and guaranteed in the electoral process. A paper record ensures that voting votes have actually been cast to the intended candidate and recorded as such. “
“Brookings Institute” said further: “As per the decision of the Supreme Court of India in 2019, random matching of VVPAT slips with EVM took place at five polling stations per assembly segment. Of the 1.73 million VVPAT deployed, slips of 20,625 VVPAT were physically counted. . The physical audit did not find a single case of a discrepancy between the VVPAT slip and the number of EVMs. “
According to the Election Commission of India, Brookings Institute, and India Today etc, EVM was first used in 1982 at 50 polling stations in Kerala state with a by-election. However, the absence of a specific law regulating its use caused the Supreme Court to cancel the election.
First created in 1977 at the Electoral Commission, India Electronics Company Ltd, Hyderabad, was given the task of designing and developing it. In 1998, this EVM was used in 25 Legislative Council constituencies spread across the three states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi.
Its use was further expanded in 1999 to 45 Parliamentary Electoral Districts and then, in February 2000, to 45 Electoral Districts of the Haryana Council. According to a 2013 Hamburg University of Technology report, Nepal, Bhutan, Namibia and Kenya have purchased Indian-made EVMs. In 2013, Namibia had acquired 1,700 control units and 3,500 ballot units from Bharat Electronics Limited India.