EVMs are not designed for the presidential election voting system

EVMs are based on a technology where they function as a vote aggregator in direct elections and not for a proportional representation system

EVMs are based on a technology where they function as a vote aggregator in direct elections and not for a proportional representation system

Have you ever wondered why electronic voting machines, used in four Lok Sabha elections and 127 assembly polls since 2004, are not deployed in polls to elect the President and Vice President of India, members of the Rajya Sabha and members of state legislative councils? EVMs are based on technology where they function as a vote aggregator in direct elections such as the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies.

The voter presses the button opposite the name of the candidate of his choice and the one who receives the maximum number of votes is declared elected.

But the election of the President takes place according to the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote.

In accordance with the system of proportional representation by single transferable vote, each voter can mark as many preferences as there are candidates running.

These preferences for candidates should be marked by the voter, by placing the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and so on, against the candidates’ names, in order of preference, in the space provided in column 2 of the ballot.

EVMs, officials explained, are not designed to record this voting system. EVM is a vote aggregator and under the proportional representation system the machine will have to calculate votes based on preferences and that requires quite a different technology.

In other words, a different type of EVM would be needed.

According to the August 2021 issue of “My Vote Matters”, a quarterly magazine of the Electoral Commission, since 2004, EVMs have been used in four Lok Sabha elections and 127 assembly elections.

According to the EC website, first designed in 1977 by the Electoral Commission, the Electronics Corporation of India Ltd. (ECIL), Hyderabad was given the task of designing and developing it.

In 1979, a prototype was developed, which was demonstrated by the Electoral Commission to representatives of political parties on August 6, 1980. Bharat Electronic Ltd (BEL), Bangalore, another public sector company, was co-opted with ECIL to manufacture EVMs once a broad consensus has been reached on its introduction.

The machines were first used in the assembly election in Kerala in May 1982. However, the lack of a specific law mandating its use led to the Supreme Court nullifying that election.

Subsequently, in 1989, Parliament amended the Representation of the People Act 1951 to create a provision for the use of EVMs in elections.

A general consensus on its introduction could not be reached until 1998 and these were used in 25 legislative assembly constituencies spread across three states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi.

In assembly elections held in May 2001 in the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Pondicherry and West Bengal, EVMs were used in all assembly constituencies.

Since then, for every State Assembly election, the Commission has used EVMs.

In Lok Sabha polls in 2004, more than ten million MVEs were used in the country’s 543 parliamentary constituencies.

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