From the Viewsroom

Cut out any doubt

Aditi Nigam | Updated on March 09, 2018 Published on April 11, 2017

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The jury’s still out on the reliability of EVMs

The Election Commission has ruled out the possibility of any tampering and manipulation of electronic voting machines. While this is reassuring, there is need to ensure that public faith is not shaken in the integrity of the electoral system.

Last week, 16 political parties petitioned the EC on alleged cases of malfunctioning and tampering of EVM machines. “...out of eight European countries that experimented with electronic voting, six reverted back to paper ballots. In 2009, the highest court in Germany had held that EVMs are unconstitutional as a voter/common citizen cannot verify the result... without any specialised knowledge of the subject,” said the petition.

While winning and losing is part of the electoral game, the ruling BJP raised similar questions about EVMs earlier. Party spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao has even written a book, Democracy At Risk! Can We Trust Our Electronic Voting Machines, with a foreword by BJP veteran LK Advani, highlighting the vulnerability of EVMs in India to tampering, fraud and manipulation.

Globally, too, the jury is still out on whether EVMs are perfect instruments for recording votes and can be trusted for credibility. Transparency and fairness are key to a credible poll process, and the EC has done a commendable job in the country the size of India. It therefore needs to eliminate any doubts being raised on EVMs. With the 2019 Lok Sabha elections just two years away, hope rests on the EC’s undertaking before the Supreme Court that Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail machines will be in place. Also, as a voter, I may want to verify if my vote went to the right place. Can I?

Senior Deputy Editor

Published on April 11, 2017
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