Advantages and Disadvantage’s , Details of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) for polling

What is an Electronic Voting machine (EVM)

  • An Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) is a device used for recording and tallying votes in an election.
  • It is an electronic device designed to make the process of voting more efficient, accurate, and secure compared to traditional paper-based voting systems.
  • EVMs are used in various countries around the world, and their specific designs and features may vary.
  • Key components of an Electronic Voting Machine typically include:
Parts of EVM voting machines
Parts of EVM voting machines

Control Unit:

  • The control unit is the main processing unit of the EVM.
  • It controls the overall functioning of the machine, manages the authentication of voters, and records the votes cast.

Balloting Unit:

  • The balloting unit is the component through which voters cast their votes.
  • It typically displays the list of candidates and their respective symbols.
  • Voters make their selections by pressing the button or using a similar interface.

Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) (optional):

  • In some EVMs, a Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) is included.
  • It provides a printed paper receipt of the vote cast by the voter, allowing them to verify their choice before it is electronically recorded.
  • VVPAT adds an extra layer of transparency and helps in auditing the electronic results.

Battery or Power Source:

  • EVMs are powered by batteries or an external power source.
  • The power source ensures the proper functioning of the machine throughout the voting process.

Display and Buttons:

  • The EVM includes a display screen that shows the names and symbols of the candidates and their respective political parties.
  • Voters use buttons or a similar interface to select their preferred candidate.

Process of voting using an EVM

The basic process of voting using an EVM involves the following steps:

  • A voter enters the polling booth and presents themselves to the election officials.
  • The election official verifies the voter’s identity and eligibility to vote.
  • The voter is then allowed to cast their vote by pressing the button next to the candidate’s name and symbol on the balloting unit.
  • The EVM records the vote electronically.

After the voting process is complete, the EVM is sealed, and the electronic data is used to tally the votes. The results can be obtained quickly and accurately.

Setting of EVM voting machines in booth

Advantages of EVM in election

  • Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) offer several advantages in the electoral process as the Election Commission of India site, contributing to efficiency, accuracy, and transparency.
  • Here are some of the key advantages of using EVMs in elections:
Advantages of EVM machines
Advantages of EVM machines

Faster Results:

  • EVMs enable quicker and more efficient counting of votes compared to traditional manual counting methods.
  • Results can be available shortly after the voting process concludes, reducing the time needed to declare election outcomes.

Reduced Errors:

  • EVMs minimize the chances of human errors associated with manual vote counting, such as miscounting or misinterpretation of voter intent.
  • This can lead to more accurate and reliable election results.

Cost Savings:

  • Over the long term, EVMs can be cost-effective as they eliminate the need for printing and transporting paper ballots.
  • The costs associated with manual counting, storage, and transportation of paper ballots are also reduced.

Minimized Invalid Votes:

    • EVMs often include features that help prevent invalid votes, such as warning messages for overvoting or the casting of multiple votes in a single race. This contributes to the accuracy of the electoral process.

Easier for Voters:

    • Using EVMs is generally considered user-friendly, and voters find it easier to cast their votes electronically. This can be particularly beneficial for voters with disabilities, as many EVMs are designed to accommodate diverse needs.
  1. Environmental Impact:
    • The shift to EVMs reduces the environmental impact associated with the production and disposal of paper ballots. Electronic voting eliminates the need for large quantities of paper, ink, and other resources used in traditional voting systems.
  2. Prevention of Booth Capture:
    • EVMs can contribute to preventing booth capture or manipulation by ensuring that each voter can cast only one vote, and the votes are accurately recorded without interference.
  3. Enhanced Security Measures:
    • When properly implemented and maintained, EVMs can incorporate advanced security features, such as encryption and secure transmission of results. This can help protect the integrity of the election process.

Reduced Waiting Time:

  • EVMs can streamline the voting process, reducing the time voters spend at polling stations.
  • This can lead to shorter queues and a more efficient overall voting experience.

Easy Data Retrieval:

    • Electronic storage of voting data facilitates easy retrieval and analysis of election results. This can be valuable for electoral authorities, political analysts, and researchers studying voting patterns.

Improved Accessibility:

  • EVMs can be designed to accommodate various accessibility needs, including features for visually impaired voters or those with physical disabilities.
  • This contributes to a more inclusive electoral process.
Scope of EVM voting machines for election
Scope of EVM voting machines for election

Deterrence of Voter Intimidation:

  • EVMs can help deter voter intimidation tactics, as the secrecy of the voting process is maintained through electronic means, reducing the likelihood of coercion or undue influence.
  • While EVMs offer these advantages, it is crucial to address concerns and challenges associated with their use, such as security vulnerabilities and the need for transparency to maintain public trust in the electoral process.
  • Ongoing evaluation and improvement of EVM technology are essential to ensure the integrity of elections.
Chips of EVM and hacking
Chips of EVM and hacking

Disadvantage of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM

  • Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) have banned in many developed countries like USA, Gemrnay, and Japan, even it is used in India, the United States, and various other countries. Its hacking is possible and presented in the demo of 2010 in the media.
  • While EVMs offer several advantages, they also have some disadvantages that have been a source of concern for critics.
  • Some of the perceived disadvantages of EVMs in elections include:

Vulnerability to Hacking:

  • Critics argue that EVMs are susceptible to hacking or tampering, raising concerns about the security and integrity of the electoral process.
  • If an adversary gains access to the EVMs, they could potentially manipulate the results.
  • There are many modern ways of Hacking the chips with programs
EVM protest for hacking
EVM protest for hacking

Lack of Transparency:

  • EVMs operate using proprietary software, and the source code is often not disclosed to the public.
  • This lack of transparency can lead to mistrust among voters and political parties who may question the accuracy and fairness of the voting process.
  • Chips are imported but not disclosed to voters
  • Its source code is  not known to be verified publicly
  • The is no independent verification of tamper proof

Limited Voter Verification:

  • Unlike traditional paper-based systems where voters physically mark their choices on a ballot, EVMs provide limited means for voters to verify that their votes have been accurately recorded.
  • This can lead to concerns about the possibility of votes being miscounted or manipulated without detection.
  • No record or proof is given to voters which is dangerous to democracy
EVM hacking
EVM Hacking

Machine Malfunctions:

  • EVMs are electronic devices and can be prone to technical malfunctions.
  • Critics argue that malfunctions or glitches in the machines could lead to lost or miscounted votes, potentially influencing the outcome of an election.

Cost and Maintenance:

  • The initial cost of acquiring EVMs and the ongoing expenses related to their maintenance can be significant. Some argue that the funds spent on EVMs could be utilized for other pressing needs in the electoral process or public services.

Dependence on Electricity:

    • EVMs require a stable electricity supply to function. In areas with unreliable power infrastructure, the use of EVMs may pose challenges, potentially leading to disruptions in the voting process.

Accessibility Concerns:

  • EVMs may not be accessible to all voters, including those with disabilities.
  • Ensuring that the voting process is inclusive and accommodating for all citizens is crucial for a fair and democratic election

Limited Auditabilit

  • Some critics argue that EVMs may lack sufficient auditability, making it challenging to conduct post-election audits and verify the accuracy of the results.
  • Many EVMs are not checked in properly
  • Many EVMs are carried out and updated irrespective of transparency

Lack of Standardization:

    • Diversity in Systems: Different regions or countries may use different EVM models or systems, leading to a lack of standardization. This can make it difficult to implement uniform security and auditing procedures.
EVM tampering
EVM tampering

What is EVM Tampering?

  • EVM tampering refers to any deliberate, unauthorized, or malicious alteration of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) used in elections.
  • Tampering can take various forms and can occur at different stages of the electoral process, including manufacturing, transportation, storage, and during the actual voting process. Supreme Court of India issued a notice to Election Commission in 2017 to add VVPAT but they do not count the ballot papers.
  • Here are some examples of EVM tampering:

    EVM tamper Sc notice
    EVM tamper SC notice

Manipulating Software or Firmware:

  • Tampering with the software or firmware of EVMs can alter the way votes are recorded, stored, or transmitted.
  • Hackers or malicious actors may attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in the software to manipulate election results.

Physical Tampering:

  • EVMs can be physically tampered with to manipulate votes or compromise their integrity.
  • This could involve opening the machines and making unauthorized modifications, such as replacing components or installing malicious hardware.

Interception of Communication:

  • Some EVMs may transmit data wirelessly or via other communication channels.
  • Tampering can occur if unauthorized individuals intercept or manipulate these communications to alter vote counts or compromise the security of the system.

Malicious Code Injection:

  • Tampering can involve injecting malicious code into EVMs to alter their behavior during the voting process.
  • This code could be designed to manipulate votes, compromise security features, or disrupt the operation of the machines.

Insider Threats:

  • Individuals with authorized access to EVMs, such as election officials or technicians, may engage in tampering either for personal gain or under external pressure.
  • Insider threats pose a significant risk to the integrity of the electoral process and require robust security measures to mitigate.
  • Efforts to prevent and detect EVM tampering typically involve a combination of technical safeguards, physical security measures, rigorous testing and certification processes, transparent audit trails, and public oversight.

Conclusion

  • It’s important to note that the implementation and features of EVMs can vary from country to country.
  • Some EVMs may have additional security features, such as encryption and secure transmission of results, to ensure the integrity of the electoral process.
  • Public trust in the accuracy and security of EVMs is crucial for the successful adoption of electronic voting systems.
  • It’s important to note that while these concerns exist, many electoral authorities and proponents of EVMs argue that technological advancements and proper safeguards can address these issues and enhance the overall integrity and efficiency of the electoral process.
  • Additionally, different countries may have varying experiences and opinions regarding the use of EVMs in elections.
  • Election authorities and independent organizations responsible for overseeing elections must remain vigilant to ensure the integrity and credibility of the electoral process. Any credible allegations of EVM tampering should be thoroughly investigated, and appropriate actions should be taken to address any breaches of security or misconduct

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