Millennium Post

Threatening democratic right

Threatening democratic right

The veracity of EVM voting has been brought under the scanner repeatedly as many believe that it is an effective means to allow the rigging of elections. In the civic polls held across Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday, several complaints surfaced on the falsity of the machine. Claims surfaced alleging that any button being pressed ultimately translated the vote to the BJP or NOTA. Complaints were raised from Meerut, Kanpur, Gorakhpur and several other districts. Clashes immediately broke out between the Samajwadi Party and BJP supporters with the former protesting against the deliberate misuse of the machine that landed every vote in the BJP's kitty. The state election commissioner was quick to retort saying that none of the malfunctionings were deliberate and new EVMs have been installed in all places from where complaints sparked.

The EVM has been an important topic of discussion with the Opposition often claiming that conscious efforts were being diverted to ensure that votes are not appropriately filed. Machines have ruled over our every day, making life simpler but often allowing for malpractice and misuse. Even in the most progressive nations today, elections are carried out by the ballot paper without relying on EVMs. The government had said earlier this year that a new set of full proof EVM machines would be installed to check on the misuse of voting. However, even till Wednesday, such reports surfaced where EVMs were malfunctioning tilted in favour of the ruling party. This spells ill for the Indian democracy as the entire premise of democratic governance relies on adult suffrage and independent voting. Machines can never be as reliable as the human mind which despite being fallible is able to resist tampering. Voters across UP were rightfully furious when their designated votes did not reach its destination. While the case of Uttar Pradesh was brought to the forefront, there may be many situations where such events have gone unnoticed.

Whether as a result of rigging or simply malfunctioning of machines, this crisis of voting must be avoided at every cost. If we are going to rely on machines, then they must be severely scrutinised in the presence of a representative of each party, to assure that no underhand rigging or simple malfunctioning affects the voting process. Events such as these raise suspicion in the minds of voters who are then deterred from fulfilling their democratic responsibility. We already witness a low voter turnout and mishaps such as these would foment further fury in the minds of voters. It has a multiplier effect on the government in power too, as automatically fingers are pointed to those occupying the chair. The government must do more to ensure that voting is open and honest, where people's minds or votes, neither are manipulated.

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