How does an Electronic Voting Machine work?

Recently, a demonstration of an Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) developed by COMSATS University Islamabad was held at the Parliament House for the lawmakers. During the demonstration, Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Senator Shibli Faraz, said:

Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are secure and will end the reservations of political parties regarding rigging during elections once and for all.

Why is an EVM being tested?

Since assuming power, Prime Minister Imran Khan has been making efforts to introduce an e-voting system in Pakistan to restore the credibility of local polls.

In November last year, PM Imran Khan announced electoral reforms for free and fair elections. The reforms included an e-voting system for general elections, open balloting through a show of hands during Senate elections, and allowing overseas Pakistanis to cast their votes.

In a series of tweets, the premier talked about the benefits of an EVM:

Here’s how the EVM developed by COMSATS University works:

  1. The EVM will be started in the presence of the Polling Agents (PAs), and its seal will be closed.
  2. When a voter comes in the Polling Station (PS) to cast their vote, the Presiding Officer (PO) will first manually verify the CNIC of the voter from the voters’ list.
  3. After verifying their credentials, the PO will press the “Ballot” button on a smaller module of the EVM to enable it to produce a ballot paper only once for the voter.
  4. After this, the voter will head inside the polling booth, where a larger module of the EVM will be placed. The voter will see the names and symbols of all the candidates contesting from their constituency on this module.
  5. Then the voter will vote for their desired candidate by pressing the button corresponding to the name and symbol of the candidate.
  6. After this, the EVM will produce a ballot paper which will be placed inside the ballot box by the voter.
  7. The larger EVM module will be disabled after producing the ballot paper for one voter until the PO again presses the Ballot button on the smaller EVM to enable it for another voter.
  8. The same process will be repeated for all voters throughout the elections day until the end of polling time.
  9. The seal on the smaller EVM module will be removed after the end of the polling time again in the presence of Polling Agents. The votes will then be counted manually to produce a final result of a particular Polling Station.

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