New Delhi (ABC Live) Voting Technologies : A democracy is a government where supreme power vests in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.
That is what our Constitution of India has envisioned for us, as voting gives the ability for people to express their opinions about the government.
Elections are the heart of democracy, but still today only around half of all voters take part in voting due reasons that are angry with the government and don’t care to vote or they denote want to stand in long queues for voting.
The people who do not use their Universal Adult Franchise right for the above mentioned reasons would find one more reason for default; if elections are defective and thus the entire democratic system would be at risk.
The dynamism of Indian democracy is based upon the universal franchise organised freely and independently with utter assurance to citizens that their each and every votes are recorded and counted correctly. Democracy is endangered where people believe that their votes do not matter or are not counted correctly.
The democracy started it journey with paper ballot system for to count votes polled but as size of democracy dwelled the traditional paper ballot system needed a suitable voting technology to ease pressure on it to perform efficiently and accurately.
Emergence of Electronic Voting Machine in India happened in year 1982 when it was experimented in by-election to North Paravur Assembly Constituency in Kerala for a limited number of polling stations and latter on used in 1999 general elections.
Currently following technologies systems are available for us keeping in view the large numbers of Indian voters;
- Direct Recording Electronic (DRE)
- Optical Scan
Election Commission of India decided to us Direct Recording Electronic Technology (Electronic Voting Machine) which offers voters with their choices on a computer screen, and voters choose by touching the screen or turning a dial. The vote is then recorded electronically, usually without ballot paper.
The advantage of this technology is that it displays of the ballot in different languages, also provide greater accuracy in recording votes preventing over-votes, whereby people mistakenly vote for more than one candidate.
But disadvantages of Direct Recording Electronic Technology (Electronic Voting Machine) has erupted now in India when the accessibility and accuracy of Electronic Voting Machines are challenged by losers political parties with allegations of EVM hacking as this system lacks transparency, which has raised concerns about security and verifiability. Electronic Voting Machine had no capacity for an independent recount. And, of course, Electronic Voting Machines are computers, and computers malfunction.
In contrast to Direct Recording Electronic Technology optical scan Optical voter is provided with pre-printed paper ballots that are marked by the voter than optical scanner scan accordingly, as universities use this technology to evaluate OMR sheets of their students.
Optical Scan systems provide transparency because the paper ballots can be recounted and audited by hand if needed.
Again disadvantage of Optical Scan systems is that manual error in marking at right place would invalidate the voters’ votes.