EVMs and Voter-Verified Paper AuditTrail : The Hindu


Halt this waste of resources.
There's no substitute for trust.
BUILD TRUST in governance, please.
You can't go back to stone age, because science can be abused, and is being misused.
M G Warrier

Man-handled machines!
This refers to the report “Election Commission seeks funds for paper trail units” (The Hindu, April 17). The Election Commission initiative to ‘come clean’ by introducing Electronic Voting machines (EVMs) with Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) needs a quick reconsideration on the following grounds:
i)                   The estimated cost at Rs3,174 crores for 16 lakh new EVMs and the expected time-lag between placing order and supply of machines are indicative of scarcity of suppliers and the resultant monopoly of the prospective supplier on technology. When distrust in the system is the issue, even the procurement of machines and ‘waste’ of precious resources just to follow a ‘fire test’ in the land of Sita may not finally save Election Commission from future allegations its enemies are capable of weaving together from thin air.
ii)                If the allegations about manipulating  EVMs in the past elections had any substance, there should have been a spate of re-polls resulting in revision of results at least in some constituencies. Nothing of that sort has so far happened.
iii)              If the fear is that men behind machines may tamper with the working of the machines, what way the chance of tampering with the new machines or other malpractices can be prevented? The only option is quick corrective actions when such criminal offences are detected and fast track trial and punishment to the guilty which will work as a deterrent.
iv)              Today, the result of a By-election in Malappuram (Kerala) has been announced. The Muslim League candidate representing UDF has won with a huge majority, leaving BJP at third position. Which side the EVMs have taken there?
We have not abandoned science though it has been abused and misused by many. No system can be totally mischief-proof, till greed disappears from human mind. The only way is to raise level of incentives for being honest and make punishments for crimes more severe. In any case, the kind of panic being shown to ward off allegations in the instant case is disproportionate.
M G Warrier, Mumbai


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