Along with the advancing technology, people have developed innovative gadgets to make their life easier. The electronic voting machine is one such boon of technology which helps people in recording and calculating votes during elections. But along with the EVMs comes controversies and where electronic machine fails to deliver up to voters trust there is a paper ballot. The paper ballot is the conventional way vote counting during the general election. It is till date one of the most trusted methods used for counting votes.
In this article, we have listed out top ten advantages and disadvantages of using paper ballot during elections.
Top ten advantages (merits) of paper ballot
1. The paper ballot is a traditional method used for vote counting. The basic thing it is able to provide to the voters is the trust factor. As it does not have electronic circuits, it is impossible to highjack elections which use the paper ballot.
2. People who are not technology savvy or who do not feel comfortable using computerized voting systems during elections can happy cast their votes using the paper ballot. Paper ballot can be easily used even by the people with low literacy level.
3. Few of the Electronic voting machines works on the battery which might get stuck in between due to low power charge. Thus in the case of uninterrupted voting, paper ballots are the best. Also, post usage of electronic voting machines, the batteries are dumped in open which might be hazardous to the environment.
4. Using paper ballot is time-consuming but it generates a lot of employment for the people who are engaged in vote counting. Due to automation of electronic voting machines, it takes less manpower to calculate the votes which directly impacts the employment rate of people during the general election.
5. The paper ballot is also effective in reducing fake and bogus votes as the software of electronic voting machines can be manipulated with malicious malware which can be used to tamper the actual election results. Manipulating votes in the paper ballot is not that easy as per person gets only one slip to cast their votes.
6. The votes capture by paper ballot can be store for a limited period of time but for electronic voting machines, once they get corrupted it is impossible to get back the original data. In some cases, there were re-elections as the EVMs failed to record the votes properly and recorded only half of the actual votes cast.
7. Casting votes using paper ballots do not use any codes which can be hacked by the hackers. It is impossible to manipulate paper ballot votes.
8. In rural areas, where the cases of robbery are more, in such areas, it is easier for the robbers to rob the EVM but it is difficult for them to rob paper ballot.
9. Electronic voting machines need to be charged on period basis thus in an area where there are frequent power cuts, paper ballots are best.
10. In the paper ballot, it is easier to identify different party symbols but in electronic display system attached in EVM, it is very difficult to make the difference between two almost identical symbols.
Top ten disadvantages (demerits) of paper ballots
Paper ballots are considered to be the most trustworthy methods to be used during an election but it comes with few limitations. We have listed down few disadvantages of the paper ballots due to which EVMs are preferred nowadays.
1. There is no scope for automation in paper ballot system. Electronic voting machines are preferred because it reduces the manual work and with one press of the button, the votes are recorded.
2. Post-election, it takes a huge amount of time to count the votes before declaring the results. In electronic voting machines, the counting is be done within few minutes.
3. The people who are physically challenged find it difficult to cast their votes through the paper ballot and even if they cast their votes using paper ballot they require someone to cast their vote on behalf. In such cases, their privacy while casting vote is breached. However, with EVMs in place they can just touch the screen in order to cast their votes via touchscreen EVM.
4. Paper is a substance that is inflammable thus under certain circumstances, the paper in which the votes were recorded in ballot might get damaged then becomes impossible to retrieve the records of the votes.
5. Paper ballots cannot be manipulated but using paper as a raw material in such voting system it becomes harmful for the environment. On the other hand, using electronic voting machines are much more economical.
6. In few places where the governance is corrupt, they can easily insert several bogus paper votes in the ballot and then it becomes impossible to track the honest votes.
7. Few electronic voting machines give paper trial for the votes recorded. However, on the paper ballot, there are no such confirmations. There is no automation in place which can tell that how many votes were recorded per minute.
8. Casting votes using paper ballot is a time-consuming task whereas voting via EVM is done in few seconds.
9. The cost of expenditure on the paper ballot is way higher than on EVM. Using EVMs are quite economical for the election commission.
10. With the paper ballot, the greatest challenge is that one could never use historic reference in case of the paper ballot whereas in EVMs one can store the records for years.
Both paper ballot and EVMs have their pros and cons but it is up to you to decide that which one does justice to the current voting scenario.