EVMs vs Paper Ballots

  • Electronic voting machines (EVMs) were designed without any software in them, so that to tamper with them you had to replace the chip.
  • We know that today it is possible to replace the chip if we have access to EVMs. And in a situation where the machines are kept in places where they are difficult to access, it may not be possible to tamper with all of them but it is possible to tamper with some of them by replacing the chip.
  • Following election results, we invariably come across reports of malfunctioning EVMs. On the VVPAT (voter verifiable paper audit trail) front too, there are reports of malfunctioning. Also, as per the rules, paper ballots and VVPAT machines are not counted until the Returning Officer asks for it.
Global Experience with EVMs
  • World over, countries are moving to paper ballots. Just as they are giving up on nuclear energy world over, countries realise that EVMs are problematic too, because they carry the risk of being tampered with.
  • EVMs have been in place for two decades and it is time to acknowledge that they have failed. Some European countries have acknowledged that EVMs have failed. Countries there started with EVMs and are now going back to the paper ballot.
Problems of paper ballot
  • Paper ballots are cumbersome. Transporting them and guarding them is a problem. And ballot boxes can be captured.
  • If EVMs are manipulated, all the votes could be captured with a greater degree of sophistication to favor one party. Tampering with EVMs would make booth capturing much easier.
  • Election Commission (EC) has said that the machines cannot be hacked into as they are designed in such a manner so as to make that impossible.But it is quite possible to replace the chips to get the desired verdict.

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