Understanding the Electronic Voting Machines

Understanding the Electronic Voting Machines
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Some countries had to cancel the e-voting due to security concerns.

Understanding the Electronic Voting Machines. Electronic Voting Machines are the means to either aid or take care of casting and counting votes in electronic or digital format. In some parts of the world, it is also known as e-voting.

Depending on the particular implementation, e-voting may use standalone electronic voting machines (also called EVM) or computers connected to the Internet. It may encompass a range of internet services, from basic transmission of tabulated results to full-function online voting through common connectable household devices. The automation can be limited to marking a paper ballot, or may be a comprehensive system of vote input, vote recording, data encryption and transmission to servers, and consolidation and tabulation of election results.

A worthy e-voting system must perform most of these tasks while complying with a set of standards established by regulatory bodies, and must also be capable to deal successfully with strong requirements associated with it.

Electronic voting technology can include specialized voting kiosks. It can also involve transmission of ballots and votes via telephones, private computer networks, or internet.

In general, two main types of e-voting can be identified:

  • E-voting which is physically supervised by representatives of governmental or independent electoral authorities (e.g. electronic voting machines located at polling stations);
  • Remote e-voting via the Internet (also called i-voting) where the voter submits his or her vote electronically to the election authorities, from any location

Benefits of Electronic Voting

The proponents of Electronic Voting Machines consider it to be a wonderful technology towards promotion of democracy. They consider that electronic voting technology speeds up the counting of ballots, reduces the cost of paying staff to count votes manually and can provide improved accessibility for disabled voters. Also in the long term, expenses are expected to decrease.

Results can also be reported and published faster. Voters save time and cost by being able to vote independently from their location. This may increase overall voter turnout. The citizen groups benefiting most from electronic elections are the ones living abroad, citizens living in rural areas far away from polling stations and the disabled with mobility impairments

Is Electronic Voting Safe?

There is a huge concern with regards to protecting the sanctity of votes, especially in countries with a transitional democratic structure. A number of countries end up in continuous allegations of vote thefts. This creates a major concern as the experts believe it may end up in changing results in some ways. For instance, there is a software which runs on these EVMs. It means that the architects of the software can easily manipulate the results. It also opens up an opportunity of creating rifts among different political groups. Moreover, the individual establishments in different countries can also play a role to choose their candidate through simple trickery.

Which countries are using EVMs?

There are a very few countries using Electronic Voting around the world. However, the e-voting is only used in limited circumstances. For instance, if a country allows its soldiers to vote electronically in border areas. A few countries allows their foreign nationals to vote through these machines. However, there are growing concerns around the world regarding the security of this technology. The same concern has led France to cancel e-voting and remove EVM technology in their elections.

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A few other examples include those of Italy, India, UK, USA, Switzerland and Thailand. Yet, in most cases, the EVM tech is successful in a smaller number of people. It may not be applicable to a larger group consisting of more than 10 million.

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