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What is EVM ?

EVM

About EVM

What is EVM ?

An electronic voting machine (EVM) is a portable instrument for the purpose of conducting elections to the parliament, legislature and local bodies like panchayats and municipalities.
 
EVM is a microcontroller-based instrument designed to modernise the election procedure and there is no scope for invalid votes and total secrecy of voting data is maintained and it also facilitates quick and accurate counting. The voting data recorded in EVMs can be retained for years and can be extracted if necessary.
 
The Electronic Voting Machine is a reliable system to conduct elections where one person has to be elected out of many candidates. The EVM is designed for a single post and a single vote.
Through an EVM, a voter can cast their vote for the candidate of their choice or choose the NOTA option. Each EVM has a None of the Above (NOTA) button for electors to use if they don't want to vote for any of the contestants.
 
In 1989, the Election Commission (EC) developed India's indigenous Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in alliance with two central government undertakings -  the Electronics Corporation of India (ECIL) and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL). EVMs were used for the first time in the Goa State Assembly elections of 1999.
 
How to use EVM?
 
— A voter needs to press the button against the candidate of his/her choice and then a red light glows against the symbol and name of the candidate for whom the vote has been cast. Simultaneously, a long beep can be heard, which confirms the polling of a particular vote.
 
— At the booth, a presiding officer will enable the ballot unit after the voter enters the polling compartment
 
— Press the blue button on the ballot unit against the symbol and name of a candidate of your choice.
 
— The red light will glow against the name or symbol of the selected candidate and a beep will be heard
 
— Voter will see a print of a ballot slip containing the name and symbol of the candidate and the serial number
 
Working Module of EVM
 
An EVM consists of a control unit and a balloting unit connected together by a five-metre cable. The control unit belongs to a polling officer while the balloting unit is kept in a compartment to cast votes. EVMs can even be used in areas with no electricity, as they can be operated on alkaline batteries.
 
The control unit is kept in the polling station with the Presiding Officer and is placed inside the voting compartment as the votes are counted through it whereas the balloting units are kept in the voting compartment for electors to cast their votes.
 
The balloting unit presents the voter with blue buttons horizontally labelled with corresponding party symbols and candidate names. The Control Unit, on the contrary, provides the officer-in-charge with a 'Ballot' marked button to proceed to the next voter, instead of issuing a ballot paper to them.
 
Controversy around the use of EVMs
 
Digitalisation, with the advent of EVMs, marked the transition from the primitive paper ballot systems and a long wait for results to a more reliable, safe and secure medium for conducting elections.
 
However, technology and transition have their own challenges and there are certain strata of political parties and people who challenge the authenticity of EVMs and there is always an ongoing debate on the same.'
 
Some political parties allege that EVMs were tampered with ahead of polls and are demanding the reintroduction of the ballot paper system of voting.
 
The call to abandon EVMs is not new. In 2009, when the Congress party was doing well in elections, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stalwart Lal Krishna Advani voiced concerns about the reliability of the machines after his party’s electoral defeat. Many political parties also supported the demand to revert to paper ballots.
 
However, the Election Commission, citing a study by technical experts that EVMs cannot be hacked, rejected the demand.
 
Tables turn: The issue made a comeback in the year 2020 after the results of assembly elections held in five states. By then, the tables had turned. With the BJP in power, this time the call for paper ballots came from the other side of the political spectrum.
 
The Congress spoke about “apprehensions among political parties and the people” over the misuse of EVMs and urged the EC to “revert to the old practice of using ballot papers as most major democracies have done.” The Aam Aadmi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party supported the move.
 
The reliability of EVMs came under scrutiny yet again during the Uttar Pradesh civic polls in November 2020, following reports that several voting machines were recording votes only for the BJP, irrespective of the buttons pressed.
 
Even though officials replaced the “faulty” machines, blaming a “malfunction”, non-BJP parties alleged the machines had been tampered with.
 

Latest Updates on EVM

LS polls: MLA breaks EVM, attacks polling officer inside booth in Odisha

3 min read Last Updated :May 25 2024 | 10:55 PM IST
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LS elections: EVM related complaints from some polling stations in Delhi

3 min read Last Updated :May 25 2024 | 10:16 PM IST
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LS polls: 45,576 EVMs at 20,031 polling stations in Haryana, says officer

3 min read Last Updated :May 23 2024 | 7:09 AM IST
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Supreme Court questions ECI on five technical aspects of EVM-VVPAT case

3 min read Last Updated :Apr 24 2024 | 11:52 AM IST
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Polling for DUSU panel on EVMs; paper ballots for students' unions

2 min read Last Updated :Sep 04 2023 | 7:58 PM IST
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SC to hear plea to replace party symbols on EVMs with candidate's details

1 min read Last Updated :Oct 29 2022 | 3:44 PM IST
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Guwahati civic polls underway, around 30% ballots cast till 1 p.m.

2 min read Last Updated :Apr 22 2022 | 2:40 PM IST
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You should be proud of EVM, over 3.5 bn people have used it since 2004: CEC

2 min read Last Updated :Jan 08 2022 | 6:42 PM IST
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Bihar panchayat elections to automate vote counting with Staqu's AI tech

2 min read Last Updated :Oct 28 2021 | 12:28 AM IST
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Anything can be done with EVMs: BJP suspects foul play in Bengal bypolls

2 min read Last Updated :Nov 28 2019 | 10:18 PM IST
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'Warrior of lost causes' Savitribai Phule launches agitation against EVMs

3 min read Last Updated :Nov 26 2019 | 9:23 PM IST
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Consensus needed among parties on 'one nation, one poll': CEC

3 min read Last Updated :Nov 16 2019 | 6:06 PM IST
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'Keep EVMs at home'

Last Updated :May 31 2017 | 11:18 PM IST
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