Now, to export India’s election services

The government has done well to accede to the Election Commission’s demand for funds required to kit out every electronic voting machine (EVM) that would be used in the 2019 general elections with a voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) mechanism. This serves two immediate purposes and can lead on to a larger benefit for the economy. There are two immediate benefits: it exposes the campaign that the BJP owes its electoral victories to a sinister ability to hack the EVMs; and, two, it reassures the voter that his vote has, indeed, been registered as intended. This is most commendable.

When an EVM is equipped with VVPAT, the voter’s act of pressing the EVM button of his choice causes a slip of paper to be printed inside the machine’s transparent window, showing the voter’s electoral choice. The piece of paper then gets automatically cut and falls into a box inside the locked machine, where it will lie for 45 days after the results are declared, ready to be counted if there is any dispute over the vote count produced by the EVM.

This is a double-check on the veracity of EVM process: the voter gets to see that the machine has registered his vote as he had intended and, in case the machine malfunctions for any reason, the votes that had been cast would have left a physical record that can be accessed.

The conduct of elections by the Election Commission of India is an exportable government service, which has the potential to generate considerable revenue and/or goodwill for India. The VVPAT gear adds to the credibility of the EVM, which is already high, thanks to the chip inside that can be programmed just once and is not plugged into a network that could be vulnerable to hacking. This can be a proud offering from India to the world.

Source: The Economic Times
Added On: 2017-04-21