ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINES [EVMs]

Author: Vinita Shetty

Anand Vishwa Gurukul College of Law

Introduction

India is second largest populated country, and is one of the largest to vote in a democratic process using Electronic Voting Machines. Electronic Voting Machines commonly known as EVMs is used by Election Commission of India (ECI) for conducting the election.

EVM consist of two parts Control Unit and Ballot Unit which is joined together by a cable. Control unit is kept in the polling station with the presiding officer or the polling officer as the votes are counted through it. Balloting units are kept in the voting compartment for electors to cast vote.

There is provision for 16 candidates in a single balloting unit & up to maximum of 4 units can be connected in parallel for a maximum of 64 candidates. There are certain allegations on EVMs which are set up by ECI, which has been explained below along with the precautions that has been taken to avoid them.

Challenges for Electronic Voting in India

Indian EVMs in the recent times have become the topic of debate during 2019 Indian General Election. There are natural and operational challenges which has been faced in the electronic voting systems, among these challenges include:


COST

This may be a major concern, current EVMs cost approximately $200 for each set of units.

POWER

Many polling places are located in areas that lack electricity service. Thus, the EVMs operate entirely from battery power, rather than merely using a battery as a backup.

NATURAL HAZARDS

India’s varied climate has great extremes of temperature, as well as other environmental hazards such as dust and pollution. EVMs must be operated under adverse conditions and must be stored for long periods in facilities that lack climate control. This includes attack by rats, fungus or due to mechanical danger that might cause malfunction.

ILLITERACY

Though many Indian voters are well educated, many others are illiterate which was the major concern.

UNFAMILIARITY WITH TECHNOLOGY

Some Indian voters have very little experience with technology and may be intimidated by electronic voting even though they just have to press a single button.

OTHER

Though EVM manufacturers and election officials have attempted to keep the design of the EVMs secret, this presents only a minor obstacle for would-be attackers. There are nearly 1.4 million EVMs in use throughout the country, and criminals would only need access to one of them to develop working attacks. There are many other possibilities for manipulating Indian EVMs, both with and without the involvement of dishonest election insiders.

Some reports also formulated an opinion that the EVMs used in India are not tamper-proof and are susceptible to a range of attacks. Indian election authorities should immediately review the security procedures now in place and should inspect all EVMs for evidence of fraud.

In recent years there have been numerous allegations and press reports of election irregularities involving Indian EVMs. It is difficult to assess the credibility of these charges, since there has apparently never been a prosecution related to EVM fraud, and there has never been a post-election audit to attempt to understand the causes.

For instance, in the 2009 parliamentary election, there were reported EVM malfunctions in more than 15 parliamentary constituencies across the country. Especially troubling are the reports that when the voter pressed a button for one candidate, a light would flash for another, which could be explained by a simple attack on the EVM cable.

Legal Sanctity of using these Machines

Electronic Voting Machine was introduced in India to solve the problem of Ballot Box capturing and casting of false vote, which was a common scenario in India while using the Ballot Paper, and to conduct fair election.

Therefore, the Indian Parliament amended the Representation of the People Act, and introduced Section 61A(Voting machines at election) in The Representation of the People Act, 1951,[1] which lays down the provisions for the use of EVMs by ECI to conduct general and state elections in India.

It further lays down certain provision against tampering of EVMs/Ballot papers in section 135, 135A, 136 of The Representation of the People Act, 1951[1] which states the punishment for offence removing Ballot paper of EVMs from polling Station without permission, booth capturing, fraudulently destroying or defacing any ballot paper or EVMS respectively.[2]

The tampering of Electronic Voting Machines is considered to be corrupt practice at the elections should be held void according to section 100 of The Representation of the people Act, 1951. [1]

Restoring Faith in EVMs

A very disturbing claim has been brought forward by the political parties after almost every election in 2017 that EVMS have been rigged. However, the Election Commission has maintained that the technology of the EVMs cannot be rigged and its tamper proof. Where Election Commission is bringing up new technologies, there are some who want to revert back to paper ballot systems in order to avoid such malpractices.

The efforts by Election Commission to maintain the faith on EVMs are commendable As of for tampering allegations, the Election Commission decided to replace over 9 lakh EVMs with advanced M3 Machines ahead of 2019 elections. These machines will become inoperable the movement someone attempts to tamper with them.

The Election Commission Of India also stated the EVMs provided are of such high-end technology that it cannot be hacked.

.[3]

“Russia seeks to have Indian EVMs for Presidential election in 2018” stated in reports of Economic Times.[4]

Nikolia Levichev, Deputy chairman of the Russia’s election commission, visited Uttarakhand during February Assembly pools to observe and understand the process of voting through EVMs. He was impressed by the use of EVMs in most states of India as it reduces the role of people in the poll process. Meanwhile, to return the favor, Russia will assist India in developing a “state-of-the-art tabulation system” for counting of votes. This system is likely to help the officials in obtaining region-wise and group-wise polling patterns.

Conclusion

The allegations of tampering have been examined in petitions by various courts, including the Supreme Court, only to be rejected by them. The Election Commission has asked the political parties well as activists and individuals to demonstrate tampering of EVMs before the commission. But on this parties either back out or make unsuccessful attempts on such allegations.

Rajat Moona, member of the Technical Expert Committee stated that EVMs and VVPAT cannot be manipulated and are source coded in India.

In the 2019 in Indian General Elections, VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trial) machine were used along with EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) in order to tally the votes.

[1] STATUTES Indian Law: The Representation of the People Act, 1951 [2] CASES Indian Case: State of UP vs Shri Raj Narain 1975 AIR 865, 1975 SCR (3) 333. [3]CASES Indian Case: Dr. Subramanian Swamy vs Election Commission of India SLP (Civil) No.13735 of 2012 [4] INTERNET 1]Russia wants India's EVM technology for its 2018 presidential election (Apr 05, 2017, 01:05 AM IST) https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/russia-eyes-indias-evm-offers-tabulation-system-for-counting-of-votes-in-exchange/articleshow/58017863.cms 2]https://indiankanoon.org/doc/438670/ 3] https://indiankanoon.org/doc/113840870/

19 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Marine Pollution In India And Its Laws

Marine pollution The ocean constitute almost 70% of the globe. It is estimated that around 50-80% of Oxygen produced on Earth comes from the oceans. Marine pollution also known as oceans pollutions co

ENERGY POLICY ACT : A CRITICAL ANALYSIS

INTRODUCTION : The Energy Policy Act, which was signed into law in 1992, came into effect on 24 October 1997. This law, for the first time, mandates energy-efficiency standards for all general purpose

Subscribe Form

6376393977

Copyright © 2020 . All Rights Reserved.
designed by generallaw