Electronic voting machine

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Naseebullah Khan
The use of EVMs is not a new phenomenon in Elections. It had been time and again by many countries. In India, it was used first time in Kerala in 1982. Again in 1998 and in 2018 the EVMs were used. Many more countries like Brazil, Estonia, Namibia, Mongolia, DRC, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, and the US have been conducting elections through EVMs amid the voices of rigging. Apart from this in some states as suchIn France, Iran, Canada, Belgium, and Argentina, the EVMs are used in some districts of local elections whereas, in Russia,10 percent of polling is conducted through EVMs.On the other side, Indonesia, the UK, Bulgaria, Norway, Finland, Ireland, Germany, and Italy banned the use of EVMs owing to unsatisfactory results. Whereas in Pakistan, the election commission of Pakistan used EVMs in the election of NA_4 Bajawar in 35 polling as a pilot project. In September 2021, the ECP presented a report standing committee of the Senate concerning EVMs and raised 37 objections on the use of EVMs. The report said that the software can easily be altered and that it was tempering prone. It further observed that the time was short for large-scale procurement and development of EVMs, and training of the massive number of operators. The report further raised the question of Security and Secrecy issues.In the same meeting the president of PILDAT Ahmad Bilal Mehboob who also presented there opined that it should not be introduced in haste. The representative of PIFEN who attended the meeting too also rejected the idea on the ground of insecurity and secrecy.Now come to the expenses. In 2016the then finance minister Ishaq Dar had said that it will cost Rs 80 billion. The same observation has been highlighted by the present minister for information technology Shabli Faraz who said that one EVMs set will cost Rs 65000. It must be noted that EVMs is not just one machine but it contains a set of equipment such as: 1: Voter identification unit, 2: a control unit, 3: a balloting unit, 4: printer based paper audit trail box 5: RTS module As the Minister information technology, Mr. Shabli Faraz said the one EVMs set price will be Rs 65000. If 400000 polling booths are established which are for sure will be enough, it means it will need 4 million sets which will be equivalent to Rs 65 billion.The other expenses such as technical support, security, training, expenses during polling day will be about Rs 15 to 20 billion.Can Our economic situation afford such a huge amount? What is the aim behind the passing of the bill in an abrupt manner without taking into confidence the major party__the opposition, who has already announced that they will not accept the next elections if these are held under the EVMs? The stubborn attitude of the incumbent government will lead the country towards more political instability and will further slide the country down the hill. ——————————————————————————————————————————————