Election FAQ: What is the Electronic Voting Machine

Pictured: An EVM with the Control Unit

The Electronic Voting Machine, or EVM for short, is something any voter who has voted in either the ongoing Lok Sabha Polls or any State Assembly polls will be familiar with, with the white box, blue buttons and a VVPAT machine hooked to it.

But what is the machine? How does it work? Who makes it? Here's a handy guide on everything EVM:

What is an EVM?

An EVM is an electronic device for recording votes. It consists of two Units – a Control Unit and a Balloting Unit – joined by a five-meter cable.

The Control Unit is placed with the Presiding Officer or a Polling Officer and the Balloting Unit is placed inside the voting compartment. Instead of issuing a ballot paper, the officer-in-charge of the Control Unit will release a ballot by pressing the Ballot Button on the Control Unit. This will enable the voter to cast their vote by pressing the blue button on the Balloting Unit.

 

Who designs/manufactures EVMs?

EVMs are devised and designed by the Technical Experts Committee of the ECI in collaboration with two public sector undertakings: Bharat Electronics Ltd., Bangalore and Electronic Corporation of India Ltd., Hyderabad. The EVMs are also manufactured by those two undertakings.


Read: Election FAQ: What is the VVPAT?

Election FAQ: The Model Code of Conduct

Election FAQ: How to check your name on voter list

Election FAQ: How to cast vote without voter ID


What are the benefits of using EVMs?

EVMs eliminate the possibility of casting 'Invalid Votes', which during the paper ballot regime was noticed in large numbers during each election. In the past, the number of 'Invalid Votes' exceeded the winning margin many times, leading to numerous complaints and litigations. EVMs remove that issue and enable a more authentic and accurate reflection of the choice of the electorate.

EVMs help save an enormous amount of money and resources by dispensing of individual ballot papers with just one per polling station, which is controlled by the officer-in-charge of the Control Unit.

The counting process is very quick and the result can be declared within 3 to 5 hours as compared to an average of 30-40 hours in the Ballot paper system.

 

How many candidates can EVMs cater to?

In the case of M2 EVMs (2006-10), EVMs can cater to a maximum of 64 candidates including NOTA. There is provision for 16 candidates in a Balloting Unit. If the total number of candidates exceeds 16, more balloting units can be attached up to a maximum of 64 candidates by connecting 4 Balloting Units.

In the case of M3 EVMs (Post-2013), EVMs can cater to a maximum of 384 candidates including NOTA by connecting 24 Balloting Units.

 

How many votes can be cast in an EVM?

An EVM can record a maximum of 2,000 votes.

 

What will happen if the EVM in a particular polling station goes out of order?

If an EVM of a particular polling station goes out of order, the same is replaced with a new one. The votes recorded until the stage when the EVM went out of order remains safe in the memory of the Control Unit and it is perfectly fine to proceed with the polling after replacing the EVM with a new one and there is no need to start the poll from the beginning.

On the counting day, votes recorded in both Control Units are counted to give the aggregate result of that polling station.

 

How can EVMs be used in areas where there is no electricity? What about getting a shock?

EVMs do not require electricity as they run on an ordinary battery. The design also ensures that there is no possibility of getting an electric shock as there is no external power connection to the devices.

Source: ECI website

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