Electronic Voting Machine (EVM)
Electronic Voting Machine is also known as EVM, It is a machine that is programmed for casting and counting votes electronically. EVM is very helpful at the times of election for vote collection and counting.
Have you ever thought of how a voting situation would look like with the absence of an EVM? The answer is no, we are into the world of technology, and casting votes electronically is the only way we can think of. Thus, EVM helps a lot in conducting the elections fairly and unbiased.
Gone are those days when the election commission in India used to conduct ballot paper voting, because of the introduction of the EVM a few years back the recording of votes has become much easier, faster and error-free.
How does an EVM work?
The electronic voting machine or the EVM generally consists of two units which are joined by a five-meter cable. These units are known as the balloting unit and the controlling unit.
The charge of the controlling unit is with the polling officer or the preceding officer whereas the other unit called the balloting unit is kept in the voting compartment for the people to cast their votes. These units are kept separately so that the polling officers check and identify your identity.
The electronic voting machine is connected with the ballot box and has the name of the political parties along with the button in front of the names. The machine has the capability to automatically lock itself whenever a new voter votes by pressing the button.
The EVM gets opened only with a unique and new ballot number, so in this way, it ensures that each person votes for one time only. The EVM consists of a list of candidates along with their representative symbols in front of which a button is provided. The person can simply press the button for the respective candidate he/she wishes to vote for.
EVM’s run on normal batteries and have the capacity to record 2000 votes. There is no need for electricity in these machines and votes are safe even if the machine stops in between.
Eager to know the discovery of EVM? Let us check its history:
The introduction of Electronic Voting Machine removed the old practice of Ballot Paper Voting. In the year 1977, the Election commission of India given the duty of designing and developing the EVM to the Electronics Corporation of India LTD (ECIL).
A prototype of the EVM was developed which was represented to the political parties in 1980. Once the broad consensus was reached regarding the introduction of EVM the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited along with ECIL was given the charge to manufacture EVMs.
EVM was the first time used in the general elections in Kerala but there was an absence of laws to use the machine which resulted in striking down the election by the Supreme court.
In 1998-1999 the EVM use came into force full-fledged more than 40 constituencies were are part of it. From that time, for every State Assembly election, the EVMs are used by the election commission.
What is Electronic Voting Machine tampering?
When it comes to malpractices being conducted in the elections, EVM tampering is the most common amongst them.
EVM tampering means the alteration in the EVM software program written on the existing controlling unit or installation of a malicious software program by adding a new set of chips in the control unit and also hacking the key in such a way that the button pressed would not record the vote in a fair manner.
So we can understand that the hacking of EVMs is not a big deal for the hackers and it gets easily tampered which leads to voting in an unfaithful way.
VVPAT in Electronic Voting Machine
VVPAT is also known as the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail. It is processed in which the voter comes to know that his vote is cast safely or not with the help of immediate feedback received, therefore it is also known as the Verifiable Paper Record Method.
A VVPAT acts as an independent verification system which helps the voter to know whether his vote is cast correctly or not. It also helps to understand the possible malpractices and election fraud.
A VVPAT further is responsible for providing a means to audit the stored election results. The VVPAT involves a direct vote recording system which ensures the voter that their vote is cast insecurely and the response is stored.
As per the above discussion, we can conclude that Electronic Voting Machine also known as EVM is a very useful machine for casting and collection of votes. It was developed by the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited along with ECIL on the order of the Election commission of India during 1970-1980.
Later on, it was fully accepted by all the parliamentary constituencies in India and was used as the main element in all the elections. Coming to the working and structure of the EVM, it has two units interconnected with each other with electric cables.
It also has the name of the political parties along with a button which when pressed stores the response of the voter. The controlling unit and the balloting unit both play an important role on the side of the election commission officer as well as the voter.
Other than this the EVM’s are designed in such a way that they have a direct response and feedback mechanism so that the vote is recorded only as the voter intended. VVPAT is a mechanism installed in the EVMs which acts as direct feedback and helps the voter know that their vote has been cast and recorded securely.
EVM tampering had been an issue in the recent past. Many political parties were involved in the tampering of the EVM machines which lead to the conduct of unfaithful elections.
In tampering of EVM, the malicious software is installed or the circuits are changed in the controlling unit which leads to unfair elections as the votes are not recorded as desired by the voters.
VVPAT makes sure that machines are not hacked and tampered hence due to this fair elections are conducted. Lastly, I would like to tell you that EVM’s are a very wonderful set of technology introduced by the election commission in India, thus it is very useful for conducting safe election practices in the country.
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