Electronic Voting Machines, popularly known as EVMs, are electronic machines that are used by the Election Commission of India to record your vote in various polls held across India. However, since the very inception of the EVMs in 1982, blames and aspersions have been cast on the machines from various quarters despite the poll body successfully demonstrating that the EVMs cannot be manipulated.
So, before you go to the polling station to cast your vote to decide the fate of political parties in the recently announced Lok Sabha elections 2019, here are few key features of EVMs that you should be aware of to dispel any doubts or myth regarding the device, the right functioning of which is so critical for the largest democracy in the world.
1. An EVM is designed with two units: the control unit and the balloting unit. These units are joined together by a cable. The control unit of the EVM is kept with the presiding officer or the polling officer. The balloting unit is kept within the voting compartment for electors to cast their votes. This is done to ensure that the polling officer verifies your identity.
2. With the EVM, instead of issuing a ballot paper, the polling officer presses the Ballot Button which enables the voter to cast their vote.
3. A list of candidates names and/or symbols are available on the machine with a blue button next to it. The voter can press the button next to the candidate’s name they wish to vote for.
4. The wide range of technical security, administrative protocols and procedural safeguards mandated by the ECI robustly ensures the integrity, non-tamperability and credibility of the EVMs.
5. So far, the Commission has successfully used EVMs in conducting 113 General Elections to the State Legislative Assemblies and 3 Lok Sabha Elections.
6. 55.41 crore (554 million) voters exercised their franchise in 2014 Lok Sabha elections using EVMs.
7. The machines are manufactured and delivered by BEL and ECIL to the ECI.
8. Under the EVM system, there is no invalid vote, whereas in the ballot paper system large number of ballot papers were invalidated and in some cases, the number of such invalid ballot papers was even more than the winning margin of the elected candidate.
9. It is auditable, transparent, accurate, secure and helps reduce human error.
10. Above all, it gives faster results in hours, which is particularly relevant in large countries like India having constituencies of several hundred thousand voters, where counting used to take days and weeks earlier.