Essay Topic: EVM vs Paper Ballots- Which voting system is better for India?
In India, electronic voting machines (EVMs) have taken the place of the old ballot paper system. Even though the use of EVMs is prohibited in many nations around the globe, such as England, the Netherlands, France, Germany, and the United States, there are still some using it. So, which one is better for the Indian voting system?
Elections using Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in India began more than 30 years after the country gained independence. Only paper ballots had been used up to that point. Vote-rigging, following the discovery of various fraudulent activities such as forged voting, booth capturing with muscle strength, unnecessary time spent having paper ballots packed, and the waste of tonnes of paper during the election process, the Election Commission of India devised an alternative and better way for people to exercise their voting rights.
Why are some people against EVM?
The public in general has mixed feelings about EVMs. Some say that EVMs can be fiddled with or hacked for the benefit of a single candidate. Some argue that tampering or hacking an EVM is unlikely.
You may use fake monitors and memory units to register your vote for someone other than your preferred candidate. In the case of EVMs, you never know if your vote was properly registered. The ballot paper, on the other hand, cannot be tampered with. You will see which candidate received your vote. With today’s technology, we can conveniently track polling booths using CC cameras from afar. As a result, there will be no problems with booth recording.
EVM: Pros and Cons
Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT)
In 2013, the Supreme Court ordered the VVPAT to be included in EVMs. This is basically a printed version of a voter’s ballot. This mechanism was created to ensure that voters knew their votes were getting counted for the candidates they preferred, not for any other political party.
The electoral process has unwittingly become more effective as a result of the change from manual to technical tools. The process has become simpler and more reliable than ballot papers, either in terms of quicker result declaration, removal of vote miscounting, or the ease of the vote casting process.
Working for the better
The EVM software can be developed further to eliminate the flaws found in different machines and to make it a feasible device in the future.
One major disadvantage of the EVM machines is the malfunctioning process. It has been mentioned during many election processes in the past due to certain inherent flaws in the machine.
EVM tampering is deliberate, and there is no proof that it is possible so far. Tampering occurs when a person or a community of people hacks the system in order to assign all of the votes cast on that EVM to a single preferred party.
Paper Ballots- Pros and Cons
The biggest advantage of a paper ballot is that it is impossible to hack. It cannot be pre-processed to produce a specific result, regardless of how complex the operation is.
Other than developed countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom, which have already adopted paper ballots, Indian political parties are arguing that it cannot be achieved in India. It’s only normal that we have different election methods since these nations have different democratic structures.
Using paper ballots creates a huge wastage of paper, which ultimately destroys the environment. Consuming paper on such a large scale despite the availability of more environmentally friendly alternatives is a clear disregard for the environment.
This is one of the biggest disadvantages of the paper ballot voting system.
There have been numerous examples where political parties have used muscle control to influence election results in their favor.
Apart from booth capture, other means of vote-rigging have been used in previous elections. Certain ballot papers may be changed willingly or under duress, making the voting process dangerous for both voters and election committee representatives.
Which is better?
To be honest, both EVMs and paper ballots have their benefits and disadvantages. It depends on how we utilize them. Even though there have been a few controversies surrounding EVMs, we cannot compare it to unequal treatment that occurred when paper ballots were being used to hold elections. Until there is evidence of tampering with EVMs, they are unquestionably the better alternative; but, if they can be hacked, it could result in disaster during pre-determined elections.
As a result, technological innovation should not be halted in order to make EVMs tamper-proof and ensure that elections are safe and fair for all voters.