Growing opposition to EVMs

EVMs were first used in 1998

GN Bureau | March 14, 2017


#electronic voting machines   #elections  


 
The Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), which saved paper and helped in bringing out the results in 2-3 hours, is increasingly facing opposition from politicians who now want that the ballot papers be brought back.
 
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday reportedly directed the chief secretary to write a letter to the election commission and demand that ballot papers be used instead of EVMs in the elections for the municipal corporations of Delhi.
 
Congress leader Ajay Maken too tweeted: “Many are doubting EVMs-Not prejudiced-nor casting aspersions on results; I want @ArvindKejriwal to hold MCD elections through BallotPapers”.
 
The latest opposition to the EVMs comes just days after Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati called for fresh polls and said that tampering of EVMs was responsible for her party’s poor showing.
 
“Either the EVMs did not accept votes other than BJP, or the votes of other parties have gone to BJP in the EVMs,” she said.
 
The poll panel has rejected her allegation.
 
The Election Commission of India said that the most important advantage of EVMs is that the printing of millions of ballot papers can be dispensed with, as only one ballot paper is required for fixing on the Balloting Unit at each polling station instead of one ballot paper for each individual elector. This results in huge savings by way of cost of paper, printing, transportation, storage and distribution. Secondly, counting is very quick and the result can be declared within 2 to 3 hours as compared to 30-40 hours, on an average, under the conventional system. Thirdly, there are no invalid votes under the system of voting under EVMs. The importance of this will be better appreciated, if it is remembered that in every General Election, the number of invalid votes is more than the winning margin between the winning candidate and the second candidate, in a number of constituencies. To this extent, the choice of the electorate will be more correctly reflected when EVMs are used.
 
EVMs, manufactured in 1989-90, were used on experimental basis for the first time in 16 Assembly Constituencies in the States of Madhya Pradesh (5), Rajasthan (5) and NCT of Delhi (6) at the General Elections to the respective Legislative Assemblies held in November, 1998.
 
The EVMs have been devised and designed by Election Commission in collaboration with two Public Sector undertakings viz., Bharat Electronics Ltd., Bangalore and Electronic Corporation of India Ltd., Hyderabad. The EVMs are now manufactured by the two undertakings.
 

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