- In January 2019, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora made it clear that India is not going back to paper ballots.
- Many opposition parties are in favor of the use of paper ballots in 2019 general elections amid the fears of EVM tampering.
Why EVM is a better option :-
- In June 2017, Election commission threw an open challenge to tamper with EVMs. But no one could succeed in doing that.
- Election Commission is going to use advanced M3 model EVMs in 2019 General elections. EC claimed that this will eliminate the instances of faulty machines.
- India is the second most populous country in the world. If we use paper ballots, it requires a lot of human resources and paper. EVMs will save paper and hence trees.
- Though many developed countries went back to paper ballot, for them it won’t take much effort because of their small population, and hence we cannot say that it is apt for all countries. Decisions should be taken based on all the factors involved. Brazil is also successfully using EVMs for elections.
- Paper ballots are susceptible to violence and booth capturing. Hence going back to paper ballots will be a retrograde step.
- In paper ballot method of voting, if the stamp is not put properly it will be counted as an invalid vote. With EVMs this problem will be eliminated.
- With EVMs, results can be declared faster.
- When voter cast vote through EVM, he can get ‘Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail’ (VVPAT) which is a printout of his vote. This VVPAT came into effect with Supreme court order of 2013. And hence everyone can be sure of who got their vote.
Why Paper ballot is a better option :-
- Though EC is claiming EVMs cannot be hacked, many parties are complaining about the security of EVMs. Hence paper ballots can keep everyone at peace.
- Though it takes so much resources, it is very important to ensure fair elections. Otherwise nation may go into the hands of criminals if EVMs are really susceptible to hacking.
- Germany, Netherlands, Japan and some other developed countries reverted to paper ballot after trying EVMs.
- Digitalization is on rise in every field. But not all sectors are same. For example, fraud in elections is not same as a fraud in e-commerce sector. If voting system is not secure, entire nation will be in the hands of the non-deserving leader.
With the proliferation of technology and the threats to cyber security, there should be more debates on whether EVMs are preferable system of voting or not.
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