Reforms needed in the voting process

Syllabus: GS II, Subject: Polity, Topic: Elections and RPA, Issue: Election reforms

Context: The Supreme Court hearing petitions seeking 100% cross-verification of the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips with the vote count.

Benefits of Electronic voting machine (EVM):

  • Reduced booth capturing by limiting vote casting to four votes per minute.
  • Eliminated invalid votes, making the counting process more efficient.
  • Eco-friendly, reducing paper consumption in large-scale elections.
  • Provide administrative convenience and faster, error-free counting.
  • Mechanisms like random allocation and mock polls uphold integrity of the process.
  • EVMs are standalone devices, not susceptible to external hacks.


  • Doubts persist about EVMs’ susceptibility to hacking among political parties and activists.
  • The current sample size for matching EVM count with VVPAT slips may not be scientifically robust, potentially failing to detect defective EVMs.
  • Booth-wise polling behavior identification raises concerns about profiling and intimidation.

Measuresto enhance transparency and confidence in the election process:

  • 100% use of VVPAT ensures voters can verify their votes.
  • A scientific method for deciding the sample size for matching EVM count with VVPAT slips.
  • If errors occur, VVPAT slips for the entire region should be counted for accuracy.
  • “Totaliser” machines can aggregate votes from multiple EVMs for candidate-wise counts.
+1 Advantage for mains (Best practices)

·          Many western democracies, including France, The Netherlands, and the U.S., have discontinued the use of EVMs for elections.

·          In Germany, the Supreme Court declared the use of EVMs in elections as unconstitutional in 2009.

·          Brazil is among the countries that continue to use EVMs for their elections.

·          Among neighboring countries, Pakistan does not use EVMs, while Bangladesh experimented with them in 2018 but reverted to paper ballots for the general elections in 2024.

+1 Advantage for mains(Case law)

·          In Subramanian Swamy versus Election Commission of India (2013), the Supreme Court mandated a paper trail for ensuring free and fair elections.

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