Electronic Voting in India

Electronic voting in India has been done with electronic voting machines (EMV) partially in 1999, and totally since 2002. EMV's are made by two government owned defense equipment manufacturing units. The e-voting system is composed of two pieces of equipment, the voting unit used by the voter, and the control unit, manipulated by the electoral officer. The former has a blue button for each candidate, with capacity for 16 candidates, but since as many as four units can be chained, the number increases to 64 candidates. The latter has three buttons on the surface, one to release a single vote, another to see the total number of vote casts at a given point, and yet another to close the election process.

EVMs are powered by a 6 volt alkaline battery, enabling the use of EVMs all through the country without interruption. A maximum of 3840 votes can be recorded, more than enough for a polling station since they usually have no more than 1400 voters assigned. It is impossible to vote more than once by pressing the button over and over. Once a particular button on the voting unit is pushed, the vote is registered for that particular candidate and the machine gets locked. Moreover, the machines cannot be pre-programmed to favor a party or a candidate, and the selection of EVMs for polling stations is randomized by computer selection.

The benefits of EMV's include saving on paper ballot printing, transportation, storage, as well as on counting staff; fast vote counting with results in 2 or 3 hours as opposed to 30 to 40 hours with the ballot-paper system; making it easier for illiterate people to vote; preventing multiple votes by a single voter; 10 year lasting memory; and safety, sine EMV's use a 6 volt battery, there is no risk for the voter to get an electric shock.

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