Electronic Voting Machines ("EVM") are being used in Indian General and State Elections to implement electronic voting in part from 1999 elections and recently in 2017 state elections held in five states across India. EVMs have replaced paper ballots in local, state and general (parliamentary) elections in India. There were earlier claims regarding EVMs' tamparability and security which have not been proved. After rulings of Delhi High Court, Supreme Court and demands from various political parties, Election Commission decided to introduce EVMs with voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) system. The VVPAT system was introduced in 8 of 543 parliamentary constituencies as a pilot project in Indian general election, 2014. Now it is major voting machine.
In 1980, M. B. Haneefa invented the first Indian voting machine, gazetted "Electronically operated vote counting machine" (Gazette: 191/Mas/80, 15 October 1980). His original design (using Integrated Circuits) was exhibited to the public in Government Exhibitions held in six cities across Tamil Nadu. The EVMs were commissioned in 1989 by Election Commission of India in collaboration with Bharat Electronics Limited and Electronics Corporation of India Limited. The Industrial designers of the EVMs were faculty members at the Industrial Design Centre, IIT Bombay. The EVMs were first used in 1982 in the by-election to North Paravur Assembly Constituency in Kerala for a limited number of polling stations.
Procedure to use
The control unit is with the presiding officer or a polling officer and the balloting Unit is placed inside the voting compartment. The balloting unit presents the voter with blue buttons (momentary switch) horizontally labelled with corresponding party symbol and candidate names. The Control Unit on the other hand provides the officer in-charge with a "Ballot" marked button to proceed to the next voter, instead of issuing a ballot paper to them. This activates the ballot unit for a single vote from the next voter in queue. The voter has to cast his vote by once pressing the blue button on the balloting unit against the candidate and symbol of his choice.
As soon as the last voter has voted, the Polling Officer in-charge of the Control Unit will press the 'Close' Button. Thereafter, the EVM will not accept any votes. Further, after the close of poll, the Balloting Unit is disconnected from the Control Unit and kept separately. Votes can be recorded only through the Balloting Unit. Again the Presiding officer, at the close of the poll, will hand over to each polling agent present an account of votes recorded. At the time of counting of votes, the total will be tallied with this account and if there is any discrepancy, this will be pointed out by the Counting Agents. During the counting of votes, the results are displayed by pressing the 'Result' button. There are two safeguards to prevent the 'Result' button from being pressed before the counting of votes officially begins.
(a) This button cannot be pressed till the 'Close' button is pressed by the Polling Officer in-charge at the end of the voting process in the polling booth.
(b) This button is hidden and sealed; this can be broken only at the counting center in the presence of designated office.
ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINE