Two interesting aspects were brought forward related to making the forthcoming polls completely electronic with sole usage of the EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines). The first is off course the public interest litigation which demands the Elections Commission to add a last option “None suitable” on the EVM panel, similar to the “None of the above” or “Insufficient data to predict” option to an objective type questions in an exam . Though it may seem an overly reaction to the quality of the current Indian polity, I welcome the suggestion. For an educated voter who doesn't like any of the choices he has, it is always better to vote for none – rather than fume sitting at home and not vote at all. This will obviously reduce the instances of rigging.

The other point was raised in Kanishka Singh's article which raises pertinent questions on how much free and fair elections can EVMs lead to given the low public awareness and scope for manipulations. If it's about fooling the gullible I don't think the story would be any different, people would still be told to press a particular button as they were in the past to stamp at a particular place, if it is about convincing them that the EVM would give an electrical shock it would be no different than the threat of the voting-ink they were told earlier and off course the people with masters in booth-capturing can still bolt with the EVM or threaten the electoral staff to do what they want. Ultimately the backlashes I see would be more technology related rather than process related.

Of these two issue I can certainly think of some ways the EC can go for, in future:

  • Giving a receipt to the voter to acknowledge that he has indeed voted (and perhaps include identification of the candidate for whom he voted). Very valid point raised in the HT article.
  • EVMs be hooked on to a hacker-proof network enabling taking a back-up of the votes at regular intervals at any nodal centre. This would ensure that votes don't get lost at any time and certainly speedify the counting process.
  • Make the EVM speak up the name of the candidates for illiterate, handicapped people. Undoubtedly, this would demand additional investments on sound-proof cabins.
  • Additional investments for interactive awareness programs telling about EVMs at least a month before the polls.

What do you think?

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