Electronic voting machines are mostly used by the developed countries to count the votes during the general elections. However, there are several controversies associated with these electronic voting machines. Earlier, vote counting was done by paper ballot but with the advancement in technology, electronic voting machines came into the picture. There are several merits and demerits associated with the Electronic voting machines.
We have listed out top ten merits and demerits of this technologically advanced vote counting machines as follows:
1. In most of the advanced version of electronic voting machines, there are no external communication paths which make it difficult for the hackers to hack the machine and tamper the count numbers.
2. Electronic voting machines with touch base screen are proven to be advantageous for the physically challenged people. In a paper ballot, these physically challenged people were not able to cast their votes in private. However, with the new EVM in place, even handicapped people can use their right to vote in private.
3. Electronic voting machines are cost effective and economical. In the paper ballot, the amount of raw material used is higher. It directly impacts the environment as paper ballot uses papers to cast votes. However, the cost associated with holding elections with EVMs is considered to be negligible.
4. The best thing about electronic voting machines is that they are real time savers. With electronic voting machines in place, one can count the votes in few minutes which makes life easier for the election officers on duty. In a paper ballot, the vote counting process is quite tedious and time-consuming.
5. Electronic voting machines are quite effective against the bogus votes. Electronic voting machines are programmed to capture a maximum of five votes in a minute. Due to which a single vote cannot cast fake votes. Also in few advanced electronic voting machines, a sound of beep comes after one casts their vote which lets the officer on duty know that the vote has been cast by an individual.
6. Electronic voting machines are designed in a way that they keep a track of number and details of votes recorded. The election commission can even save the data for a longer period of time which might be helpful for referencing in future.
7. In a largely populous country where millions of people come out to cast their votes, the electronic voting machine works as a wonder. In a paper ballot, it takes a huge amount of time for everyone to cast votes.
8. Electronic voting machines are easier to carry and transport from one place to another without any hassle. One single machine can record several votes captured through that machine.
9. Few electronic voting machines also come with a voice support to assist the visually impaired voter. In such cases, the visually challenged person can cast their vote without any problem.
10. In electronic voting machines one can see all the symbols and names of the candidates together which makes it easier for the voter to choose among the many and cast their votes.
Top ten disadvantages of electronic voting machines
Along with the advantages, electronic voting machines are also notorious for its misuse. There have been cases when people have accused a particular part of EVM tampering. We have jotted down top ten disadvantages of using electronic voting machines.
1. With recent elections in the United States, many software programmers have claimed that the electronic voting machines are vulnerable to malicious programming and if it gets affected then any hacker can hack the machine and can tamper the vote counts easily.
2. Many physically challenged people have complained that the touch base screen is not efficient enough to capture the vote accurately. Sometimes it leads to the voter ending up voting for someone else unintentionally.
3. Although it takes the time to count votes that were captured using paper ballot but people fully trust the process as high technology are also vulnerable to hackers attack.
4. The biggest change with technology is that no matter how much data it records but a single virus can destroy the entire data storage. The electronic voting machines which were used during the elections are susceptible to damage which will result in loss of data.
5. The highly humid area and those areas which receive frequent rainfall are not suitable for casting votes using electronic voting machines. As machines are prone to damage due to high humidity level thus usage of electronic voting machines are not advisable in such areas.
6. Most of the electronic voting machines used in the country were foreign manufactured, which means the secret codes that control the electronic voting machines are in foreign hands and they can be used to influence the election results.
7. Fake display units could be installed in the electronic voting machines which would show manipulated numbers but originally fake votes could be generated from the back end. This process does not need any hacker to hack the software. Such fake display units are easily available in the market.
8. Most of the electronic voting machines used in the country do not have any mechanism by which the voter can verify their identity before casting the vote due to which fake voters can cast numerous fake votes.
9. The electronic voting machines also do not generate a slip confirm the candidate one voted post pressing the button. In these cases, it is very easy for a criminal or a hacker to manipulate the votes. If the machines would generate such slips, then people could verify if the number of votes captured via EVMs was in line with the details on slips received by the voter.
10. Electronic voting machines can be tampered during its manufacturing and in such cases, it does not even require any hacker or malware to manipulate the actual voting.
Now going through the pros and cons one can decide whether electronic voting machines are useful or disadvantageous.