The Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are said to have been first used in 1982 for the North Paravur Assembly by-election in Kerala, and for a limited number of polling stations. This equipment was approved for wider use by the Election Commission of India in technical collaboration with Bharat Electronics Limited and Electronics Corporation of India in 1989. But EVMs made their universal debut in the 1999 parliamentary elections after extensive consultations with stakeholders and have since become an integral, even indispensable, part of India’s electoral system. Political parties across the spectrum have questioned the credibility and efficacy of EVMs. The general outcry reached its crescendo lately with a section of the political class demanding their replacement with the earlier system of paper ballots. While there are a large number of countries, including most of the developed ones which still use paper ballots for voting, India was one of the few countries which introduced EVMs to get over the multiple problems associated with the previous system of voting.
The introduction of EVMs saved huge costs involved in production and printing of crores of ballot papers, their transportation and storage. It was a very eco-friendly move that saved thousands of trees, which used to be hacked for the paper. The use of EVMs can save an estimated 10,000 tonnes of ballot paper before every general election and many times more whenever an Assembly or local body election is held. Voting and counting have become faster and there has been a substantial reduction in the number of counting personnel and the remuneration that is paid to them. Indubitably, the people have found it easier to exercise their franchise through EVMs rather than the ballot paper system.
EVMs are easier to transport and store because of their light weight and portability. They are also protected against the elements as they are wrapped with polypropylene. The shelf-life of these EVMs is approximately 15 years.
Full Article: Push-button vote.