Explainer: What is EVM? Why it sparked controversy after Exit Polls?

India’s main opposition parties Tuesday alleged voting fraud with Electronic Voting Machines or EVMs in the country’s general election, days after exit polls predicted a comfortable win for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling right-wing party.

The Election Commission moved swiftly to deny the reports, saying voting machines were “absolutely safe in strongrooms”, and those shown in video clips were reserves.

Amid Indian election commission’s credibility chaos, here are some facts about EVMs we should know:

An Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) is an electronic device used for recording votes. EVMs came as a replacement to ballot papers and was first used in No. 70 Parvur assembly constituency in Kerala in 1982.

An EVM comprises of a control unit which is placed with the polling officer and a balloting unit which is placed inside the voting compartment.

The role of the polling officer is to release a ballot by pressing the ballot button on the control unit. This will allow the voter

Why EVM’s over ballot boxes?

  • The most important merit of EVM is that it eliminates the possibility of casting ‘Invalid Votes’, which during the paper ballot regime was noticed in large number during each election. The counting process is very quick and the result can be declared in hours as opposed today.
  • Voting by EVM’s has made the process simpler as one does not need to mark a ballot paper and put it in the ballot box. In an EVM, the voter has to just press the blue button against the candidate and symbol of his choice and the vote gets recorded.
  • There are both audio and visual indications for the voter to be assured that his vote has been recorded correctly. As soon as a voter presses the blue button, the lamp against the symbol of his chosen candidate glows red and a long beep is heard.
  • There is no need for printing millions of ballot papers. This leads to the saving of money on account of paper, printing, transportation, storage, and distribution.

What makes EVMs safer than ballot box system?


According to the Election Commission, the electronic voting machine does not have wireless, Bluetooth, electricity or any other kind of network in it. The EVM runs on battery. Hence, it cannot be hacked or tempered.

The controversy over Electronic Voting Machine continues to rage on after Exit Polls predicted a decisive mandate in favor of the BJP-led NDA.

Read more: SC craps PIL on EVMs and Election Commission credibility



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