“While EVMs are praised for their efficiency and reliability, concerns about their susceptibility to tampering persist.” Discuss the major benefits and ongoing concerns associated with the use of EVMs in Indian elections and outline the measures necessary to enhance electoral transparency.


The Supreme Court has decided to hear petitions seeking 100% cross-verification of the VVPAT slips with the vote count as per EVMs.


  • Introduce your answer by mentioning the EVMs’ role in modernizing India’s electoral process while acknowledging persistent security concerns.
  • In the main body, discuss benefits associated with EVMs like eliminating invalid votes, speed, reduced electoral fraud, administrative efficiency, etc. Next address the concerns with EVMs like potential tampering, technical malfunctions, inadequate current VVPAT protocols, etc. Mention reforms such as enhanced VVPAT verification, risk-limiting audits to ensure transparency, etc.
  • Conclude by stressing the necessity of ongoing reforms and robust verification mechanisms to strengthen public confidence in the electoral system.


The introduction of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) marked a significant technological advancement in India’s electoral process, aiming to enhance the efficiency and reliability of elections. However, the debate over their vulnerability to tampering and other security concerns continues to evoke scrutiny and demands for further reforms.

Benefits Associated with the Use of EVMs:

  • Elimination of Invalid Votes: EVMs prevent the possibility of invalid votes, which was a common issue with paper ballots where voters might mark the ballot incorrectly.
  • Enhanced Speed of Voting and Counting: EVMs expedite both the voting and the counting processes, reducing the time from polling to results.
  • Increased Security Against Electoral Fraud: EVMs are designed to prevent tampering and manipulation, such as booth capturing, which was more feasible with paper ballots.
    • The machines limit voting speed to four votes per minute.
  • Introduction of VVPAT: (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails) with EVMs has added an additional layer of transparency and trust, allowing voters to verify their vote was cast as intended.
    • The 2019 general elections used EVMs with VVPAT across all constituencies.
  • Cost-Effectiveness Over Time: Although the initial cost of EVMs is higher than paper ballots, they are more cost-effective in the long run due to reduced expenses on paper, printing, and transportation.
  • Environmental Benefits: By eliminating the need for paper ballots, EVMs contribute to conservation and reducing the environmental footprint of elections.
  • Administrative Efficiency: EVMs streamline the administrative processes on election day, making the setup and conduct of polling smoother and faster.

Concerns Associated with EVMs:

  • Susceptibility to Tampering: Despite the security features of EVMs, there are ongoing concerns that these machines could be hacked or tampered with, potentially altering election outcomes.
  • Inadequate Statistical Sampling: The ECI’s practice of using a uniform sample size of five EVMs per Assembly constituency for VVPAT verification does not align with fundamental statistical sampling principles, which undermines the audit’s reliability.
  • Lack of Transparency: The ECI has been criticized for not being transparent about how it determines sample sizes and for not adequately addressing mismatches when they occur.
  • Technical Failures: EVMs, like any electronic device, are susceptible to technical glitches and failures, which can cause delays or even necessitate re-polling.
  • Inadequate Current VVPAT Protocols: Voters cannot interact with the VVPAT slips directly to verify and confirm or dispute their VVPAT slips before finalizing their vote.
  • Voter Skepticism: There remains a segment of the population that is skeptical about electronic voting, preferring the tangible assurance of paper ballots, majorly due to a lack of understanding of how they work.

Measures to Enhance Trust in the Electoral Process Involving EVMs:

  • Use of Totaliser Machines: to count votes from multiple EVMs collectively to ensure voter anonymity and prevent post-poll targeting based on voting patterns.
    • Aggregating votes from several booths before displaying results, thus preventing the identification of voting patterns in individual booths.
  • Implementation of a Robust VVPAT System: to make it truly voter-verified by allowing voters to handle the VVPAT slips and confirm their votes manually.
    • Voters should be able to have an option to reject it if it does not match their intended vote, ensuring that the vote cast is the vote recorded.
  • Implement Statistically Valid Sampling: for VVPAT verification based on models like the hypergeometric distribution, tailored to the size and characteristics of the voter population.
  • Define Clear Auditing Protocols: The ECI should establish and publicize clear protocols for handling mismatches between EVM counts and VVPAT slips, including the steps to be taken if discrepancies are found.
    • If a mismatch is detected within the sample, a manual count of VVPAT slips for the affected region should be mandated.
  • Enhanced Security Protocols: Strengthening the security measures around EVMs, including their manufacturing, storage, transport, and usage, to prevent tampering or unauthorized access.
    • Use of tamper-evident seals and biometric security systems, along with secure transport protocols.
  • Independent Certification and Testing: Having EVMs and their software independently certified by credible third-party organizations to ensure they meet all security and functionality standards.

To fortify democracy and ensure public trust in the electoral process, it is imperative to address the inherent vulnerabilities associated with EVMs through reforms. By making the voting process transparent, verifiable, and understandable to the average voter, and by adhering to rigorous audit standards, the ECI can significantly enhance the credibility and public trust in elections.

‘+1’ Value Addition:

  • Many western democracies continue to have paper ballots for their elections. Countries like England, France, The Netherlands and the U.S. have discontinued the use of EVMs. Some countries like Brazil, however, use EVMs for their elections.
  • The Citizens’ Commission recommends fully verifiable VVPATs, cross-checking of VVPAT and electronic tallies, and clear rules for resolving discrepancies to ensure fair elections.
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