Technology used in Election: Electronic Voting Machine

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In a democratic system, voting is a fundamental right of every citizen. Participation of all the legitimate voters in all kinds of elections makes democracy strong. The election is a basis of democracy which allows people to choose their favorite representatives for various positions depending upon types of election such as local election, state-level election, national-level election, etc. In a conventional election system, paper ballots are used to cast votes. With the advancement in technology, the election system has changed considerably. Modern technologies are now used in most elections all over the world, which have huge advantages over the traditional election. Among them, Electronic Voting Machine or EVM is the most popular technology that makes the voting process faster, reliable, and accurate.


Electronic Voting, also known as e-voting is a voting system in which various electronic devices are used for casting and counting votes. The concept of e-voting has been developed to replace the traditional method of voting which consumes both time and resources. However, e-voting has not been widely accepted all over the world due to several controversial issues regarding the same.

Electronic Voting System started in the 1960s after the introduction of the punched card system. The United States was the first country to use them in elections during the 1964 presidential election. After that, it was followed by Latin American and Asian countries. The electronic voting system can be further divided into a Paper-based electronic voting system and d Direct-recording electronic voting system. In the former method, papers are used to cast votes but after voting, they are counted electronically whereas, in the latter method, votes are recorded electronically by using a voting machine that is connected to the computer software. India, the biggest democracy in the world, has been using the electronic voting system successfully since 2004 for its elections.

Technologies used in Election

In a traditional paper-based registration system, new voters fill out paper forms and submit them to election officials. Then the officials confirm the validity of the registration and enter the information provided by voters into the registration system. In the online voter registration system, the process is the same except for one thing; voters submit electronic form instead of paper form. Therefore, it is a paperless registration system. The election officials check the validity of the information provided by the voter by matching the personal data of the voter such as citizenship certificate, driving license, national identity card, etc. If the information is matched, then the voter’s new registration is added in the system of the election commission.

But even if online voter registration is implemented, the traditional registration system cannot be completely eradicated because, in almost every society, there are people who don’t have access to the internet or who don’t have knowledge or skill regarding this.

Electronic Poll Book is generally a hardware or software or even a combination of both, which is used in the electronic voting process. It is used to replace the traditional paper-based poll book so that the verification and identification of voters could be done with accurate and immediate results. It also detects any changes in voter’s information such as name, address, etc. It manages public information that can also be found on the website of the election commission.

Election Management System is typically a software system used by election officials to manage the overall activities regarding election successfully. Its main objectives are to protect elections from various threats and to maintain the security of elections.

Internet Voting System, also known as i-voting, is a process in which voters from different locations use their personal computers connected to the internet for voting. It has become quite popular in recent years and has been used in different kinds of elections in various countries around the world. It is beneficial in those areas where people face difficulties traveling to the voting centers due to various reasons such as traffic problems, lack of infrastructures such as roads, lack of security, etc. It has a huge advantage over the traditional voting system, in which people must be physically present in a voting center.
Voter’s secrecy and privacy are maintained so that she/he can vote without any fear or pressure. The first country to practice internet voting nationally is Estonia in 2005, in which 1.9 percent of people participated.

Electronic Voting Machines or EVM

It is an electronic device used to cast or record votes during elections. It was invented to replace the traditional method of election in which ballot papers and boxes are used. In the traditional voting system, voters typically cast his/her vote for the selected candidate by putting the stamp against the candidate’s name and then put it in the ballot box. In this conventional method, there are lots of uncertainty and possibilities of errors. Also, it consumes lots of time and resources. Besides, there is an issue of security. The main objectives of EVM are to make the election process faster and easier in comparison to the conventional voting system, to save time and resources, and to get an accurate result in a short period.

The traditional voting method has lots of issues and problems. For example, the ballot boxes used in the election could be hampered by corrupt election officials, they could also be damaged during transportation from the voting center to the designated office of the election commission. Apart from this, there are problems such as bogus voting, booth capturing, and hooliganism in elections, especially in the third world countries. Dishonest and corrupt candidates might try to purchase votes from people by offering money or by other means.

EVM has been introduced or invented to counter all these problems. It has typically two units, the controlling unit that is placed near the polling official and the balloting unit that is placed near the voter. Both units are joined by a cable. During voting, the polling official presses the ballot button on the control unit and releases a ballot. In the balloting unit, there is a list of all the candidates along with their symbols. Then, the voter press the button on the balloting unit to vote for the candidate he/she wishes to for vote. All the votes recorded in the EVM remain safe in the control unit’s memory and cannot be tampered with.

Advantages of Electronic Voting Machine

In many developing and third-world countries, especially in South Asian countries, there are many problems such as poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, discrimination, class division, gender-violence, social inequality, corruption, lack of public awareness, etc. All these problems are reflected in the politics and political system. Most countries in this region have a multiparty democratic system. Since the election is a part of the political and democratic system, these problems are reflected in elections too. Therefore, elections in this region are often controversial due to incidents such as bogus voting, invalid voting, booth capturing, undue influence of voters, tampering with ballot boxes, etc. These problems can be easily solved by using EVM in elections. Technically, it is hardly possible to tamper with EVM and there is no way to figure out which candidate or party the voter selected for voting. The privacy of voters is maintained. Besides, another advantage is the safety of votes. All the votes recorded remain safe in the memory of the voting machine and they cannot be destroyed. There are cases in which cadres of a political party enters polling center during the vote-counting process and tear apart the paper ballots. Such type of incident can be avoided by using EVM instead of paper ballots.

Another advantage of using EVM is, it increases the number of votes in elections because EVMs can be easily used by those people also who cannot read or write. For illiterate people, it is easier to use EVM in comparison to paper ballots. In conventional voting, a voter has to put a stamp on a ballot paper and then fold the paper carefully before putting in on the ballot box whereas in electronic voting using EVM, the voter just need to push the button next to the candidate’s name and a symbol she/he wants to vote for. Also, it reduces the time in casting the votes. Besides, it is also beneficial to differently-abled people and elderly people because it is easier to vote using EVM in comparison to paper ballots. They can easily cast their votes without the help of assistant so that their privacy is maintained.

Apart from these, there are other advantages of using EVM instead of paper ballots. It is easier to transport EVM as compare to conventional ballot boxes because they are lighter and portable. So, it helps to reduce the time and cost of transportation in developing countries where transportation is time-consuming and risky due to narrow and bad quality roads, traffic jams, lack of enough security, etc. One of the noticeable advantages of EVM is, it does not require a power supply to operate as it runs on batteries. In developing countries, there are still many villages in remote parts where electricity is not available. Even in those areas where electricity is available, power outage or power failure is common due to the poor infrastructures. These problems do not affect EVM.

Challenges of Electronic Voting Machines

Even though EVMs are widely used all over the world in modern times, there are still lots of controversies and issues regarding the use of EVM and many advanced countries still hesitate to use it in elections. Several countries have even imposed a ban on the use of EVM. It is said that EVMs are vulnerable to hacking by which the hackers can manipulate the results of the election. In traditional voting, if the result is doubtful, then paper ballots can be rechecked again by different people to ensure that there is no error in vote counting. But in the case of electronic voting, it is not possible. So, there is a lack of transparency. Similarly, voters must get confirmation that the candidate he/she voted for has got the vote. Again, it’s not practical with EVM. Skeptics to EVM claim that they can be tampered with. EVM connected with the internet could be hacked easily, according to some experts.


In conclusion, it can be said that standalone EVM is better than those connected to the internet because it would be impossible to hack. Although lots of issues have been found that make EVM doubtful and controversial, mass tampering of EVM is rare and almost impossible. However, lots of improvements are needed continuously to make EVM more reliable, accurate, and error-free. It should be safe and secure from internet attacks such as hacking. Besides, one of the big challenges faced by EVM is the trust deficit and lack of public awareness. It is extremely important to make the general public aware of EVM and the electronic voting process so that it is widely accepted by society. It is not possible to replace the paper ballots with EVM completely in the current scenario but there is a possibility of rising in the use of EVM all around the world in near future. It will modernize the election process and ultimately strengthen the democratic system. So, it is necessary to address all the concerns regarding the electronic voting system and EVM for the betterment of our society.

Cite this paper

Technology used in Election: Electronic Voting Machine. (2020, Oct 31). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/technology-used-in-election-electronic-voting-machine/

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