Q2. When was the
EVM first introduced in elections?
Ans. EVMs manufactured in 1989-90 were used on experimental
basis for the first time in 16 Assembly Constituencies in the
States of Madhya Pradesh (5), Rajasthan (5) and NCT of Delhi
(6) at the General Elections to the respective Legislative
Assemblies held in November, 1998.
Q3. How can
EVMs be used in areas where there is no electricity?
Ans. EVMs run on an ordinary 6 volt alkaline battery
manufactured by Bharat Electronics Ltd., Bangalore and
Electronic Corporation of India Ltd., Hyderabad. Therefore,
even in areas with no power connections, EVMs can be used.
Q4. What is
the maximum number of votes which can be cast in EVMs?
Ans. EVMs can record a maximum of 3840 votes. As normally the
total number of electors in a polling station will not exceed
1500, the capacity of EVMs is more than sufficient.
Q5. What is
the maximum number of candidates which EVMs can cater to?
Ans. EVMs can cater to a maximum of 64 candidates. There is
provision for 16 candidates in a Balloting Unit. If the total
number of candidates exceeds 16, a second Balloting Unit can
be linked parallel to the first Balloting Unit. Similarly, if
the total number of candidates exceeds 32, a third Balloting
Unit can be attached and if the total number of candidates
exceeds 48, a fourth Balloting Unit can be attached to cater
to a maximum of 64 candidates.
will happen if the number of contesting candidates in a
constituency goes beyond 64?
Ans. In case the number of contesting candidates goes beyond
64 in any constituency, EVMs cannot be used in such a
constituency. The conventional method of voting by means of
ballot box and ballot paper will have to be adopted in such a
will happen if the EVM in a particular polling station goes
out of order?
Ans. An Officer is put on duty to cover about 10 polling
stations on the day of poll. He will be carrying spare EVMs
and the out-of-order EVM can be replaced with a new one. The
votes recorded until the stage when the EVM went out of order
will be safe in the memory of the Control Unit and it will be
sufficient to proceed with the polling after the EVM went out
of order. It is not necessary to start the poll from the
Q8. Who has
the devised the EVMs?
Ans. The EVMs have been devised and designed by Election
Commission in collaboration with two Public Sector
undertakings viz., Bharat Electronics Ltd., Bangalore and
Electronic Corporation of India Ltd., Hyderabad after a series
of meetings, test-checking of the prototypes and extensive
field trials. The EVMs are now manufactured by the above two
Q9. What is
the cost of the machines? Is it not too expensive to use EVMs?
Ans. The cost per EVM (One Control Unit, one Balloting Unit
and one battery) was Rs.5,500/- at the time the machines were
purchased in 1989-90. Even though the initial investment is
somewhat heavy, this is more than neutralised by the savings
in the matter of printing of ballot papers in lakhs, their
transportation, storage etc., and the substantial reduction in
the counting staff and the remuneration paid to them.
Q10. In our
country a sizeable section of the population being illiterate
will it not cause problems for the illiterate voters?
Ans. In fact, voting by EVMs is simpler compared to the
conventional system, where one has to put the voting mark on
or near the symbol of the candidate of his choice, fold it
first vertically and then horizontally and thereafter put it
into the ballot box. In EVMs, the voter has to simply press
the blue button against the candidate and symbol of his choice
and the vote is recorded. Rural and illiterate people had no
difficulty in recording their votes and, in fact they have
welcomed the use of EVMs.
booth – capturing be prevented by the use of EVMs?
Ans. By booth-capturing, if one means, taking away or damaging
of ballot boxes or ballot papers, this evil cannot be
prevented by the use of EVMs as EVMs can also be forcibly
taken away or damaged by miscreants. But if one looks at booth
capturing as a case of miscreants intimidating the polling
personnel and stamping the ballot papers on the symbol and
escaping in a matter of minutes, this can be prevented by the
use of EVMs. The EVMs are programmed in such a way that the
machines will record only five votes in a minute. As recording
of votes has necessarily to be through Control Unit and
Balloting Unit, whatever be the number of miscreants they can
record vote only at the rate of 5 per minute. In the case of
ballot papers, the miscreants can distribute all the 1000 odd
ballot papers assigned to a polling station, among themselves,
stamp them, stuff them into the ballot boxes and run away
before the police reinforcements reach. In half- an –hour, the
miscreants can record only a maximum of 150 votes by which
time, chances are the police reinforcement would have arrived.
Further, the presiding Officer or one of the Polling Officers
can always press the "close" button as soon as they see some
intruders inside the polling station. It will not be possible
to record any vote when once the ‘close’ button is pressed and
this will frustrate the efforts of the booth-capturers.
Q12. Is it
possible to use EVMs for simultaneous elections for Parliament
and State Legislative Assembly?
It is possible to use EVMs for simultaneous elections for
Parliament and State Legislative Assembly and the existing
EVMs have been designed keeping this requirement in view.
are the advantages in using EVMs?
Ans. The most important advantage is that the printing of
millions of ballot papers can be dispensed with, as only one
ballot paper is required for fixing on the Balloting Unit at
each polling station instead of one ballot paper for each
individual elector. This results in huge savings by way of
cost of paper, printing, transportation, storage and
distribution. Secondly, counting is very quick and the result
can be declared within 2 to 3 hours as compared to 30-40
hours, on an average, under the conventional system. Thirdly,
there are no invalid votes under the system of voting under
EVMs. The importance of this will be better appreciated, if it
is remembered that in every General Election, the number of
invalid votes is more than the winning margin between the
winning candidate and the second candidate, in a number of
constituencies. To this extent, the choice of the electorate
will be more correctly reflected when EVMs are used.
the use of EVMs slow down the pace of poll?
In fact the pace of poll is quickened by the use of EVMs as it
is not necessary for the voter to first unfold the ballot
paper, mark his preference, fold it again, go to the place
where the ballot box is kept and drop it in the box. What he
has to do under the system of EVMs is simply to press the
button near the candidate and symbol of his choice.
ballot boxes counting is done after mixing the ballot papers.
Is it possible to adopt this system when EVMs are used?
Ans. The normal rule is to count the votes polling
station-wise and this is what is being done when EVM is used
in each polling station. The mixing system of counting is done
only in those constituencies specially notified by the
Election Commission. Even in such cases, the result from each
EVM can be fed into a Master Counting Machine in which case,
only the total result of an Assembly Constituency will be
known and not the result in each individual polling station.
long the Control Unit stores the result in its memory?
Ans. The Control Unit can store the result in its memory for
10 years and even more.
Wherever an election petition is filed, the result of the
election is subject to the final outcome. The courts, in
appropriate cases, may order a recount of votes. Whether EVMs
can be stored for such a long time and whether the result can
be taken in the presence of the officers authorised by Courts?
Will not the battery leak or otherwise damage EVMs?
Ans. The battery is required only to activate the EVMs at the
time of polling and counting. As soon as the polling is over,
the battery can be switched off and this will be required to
be switched on only at the time of counting. The battery can
be removed as soon as the result is taken and can be kept
separately. Therefore, there is no question of battery leaking
or otherwise damaging EVMs. Even when the battery is removed
the memory in the microchip remains intact. If the Court
orders a recount, the Control Unit can be reactivated by
fixing the battery and it will display the result stored in
Q18. Is it
possible to vote more than once by pressing the button again
As soon as a particular button on the Balloting Unit is
pressed, the vote is recorded for that particular candidate
and the machine gets locked. Even if one presses that button
further or any other button, no further vote will be recorded.
This way the EVMs ensure the principle of "one man, one vote".
can a voter be sure that the EVM is working and his vote has
Ans. As soon as the voter presses the `blue button’ against
the candidate and symbol of his choice, a tiny lamp on the
left side of the symbol glows red and simultaneously a long
beep sound is heard. Thus, there is both audio and visual
indications for the voter to be assured that his vote has been
Q20. Is it
true that sometimes because of short-circuitry or other
reason, a voter is likely to get an electric shock while
pressing the `blue button ?
EVMs work on a 6-volt battery and there is absolutely no
chance of any voter getting an electric shock at the time of
pressing the `blue button’ or at any time of handling the
Q21. Is it
possible to program the EVMs in such a way that initially, say
upto 100 votes, votes will be recorded exactly in the same way
as the `blue buttons’ are pressed, but thereafter, votes will
be recorded only in favor of one particular candidate
irrespective of whether the `blue button’ against that
candidate or any other candidate is pressed?
Ans. The microchip used in EVMs is sealed at the time of
import. It cannot be opened and any rewriting of program can
be done by anyone without damaging the chip. There is,
therefore, absolutely no chance of programming the EVMs in a
particular way to select any particular candidate or political
it not be difficult to transport the EVMs to the polling
Rather it will be easier to transport the EVMs compared to
ballot boxes as EVMs are lighter, portable and come with
polypropylene carrying cases.
many areas of the country, there is no electricity connection
and even in those places where there is electricity
connection, power supply is erratic. In this scenario will it
not create problem in storing the machines without air
Ans. There is no need to air condition the room/hall where
EVMs are stored. What is required is only to keep the
room/hall free from dust dampness and rodents as in the case
of ballot boxes.
Q24. In the
conventional system, it will be possible to know the total
number of votes polled at any particular point of time. In
EVMs ‘Result’ portion is sealed and will be opened only at the
time of counting. How can the total number of votes polled be
known on the date of poll?
Ans. In addition to the ‘Result’ button, there is a ‘total’
button on EVMs. By pressing this button the total number of
votes polled upto the time of pressing the button will be
displayed without indicating the candidate-wise tally.
Balloting Unit has provision for 16 candidates. In a
constituency, there are only 10 candidates. The voter may
press any of the buttons from 11 to 16. Will these votes not
The panels for candidates Nos. 11 to 16 will be masked before
use. Further, recording of votes for candidates 11 to 16 will
also be blanked off electronically, as the candidates’ switch
is set on 10. Therefore, there is no question of any voter
pressing any of the buttons for candidates 11 to 16 or the
votes for these candidates being recorded in the EVMs.
boxes are engraved so as to avoid any scope for complaint of
replacement of these boxes. Is there any system of numbering
Each Control Unit has a unique ID Number, which is painted on
each unit with a permanent marker. This ID Number will be
allowed to be noted by the Polling Agents and will also be
recorded in a Register maintained for the purpose by the
Returning Officer. The address tag attached to the Control
Unit also will indicate this ID Number. Therefore, there is no
question of replacement of any EVM.
there any provision for issue of tendered ballot papers when
EVMs are used?
There is provision for issue of tendered ballot papers under
the system of EVMs also. But, when such a situation arises,
the voter concerned will be issued an ordinary ballot paper.
After marking the ballot paper with the arrow cross mark
rubber stamp supplied, the tendered ballot paper will be put
inside a cover specially provided for the purpose, sealed and
kept by the Presiding Officer.
Q28. In the
conventional system, before the commencement of poll, the
Presiding Officer shows to the polling agents present that the
ballot box to be used in the polling station is empty. Is
there any such provision to satisfy the polling agents that
there are no hidden votes already recorded in the EVMs?
Before the commencement of poll, the Presiding Officer
demonstrates to the polling agents present that there are no
hidden votes already recorded in the machine by pressing the
result button. Thereafter, he will conduct a mock poll by
asking the polling agents to record their votes and will take
the result to satisfy them that the result shown is strictly
according to the choice recorded by them. Thereafter, the
Presiding Officer will press the clear button to clear the
result of the mock poll before commencing the actual poll.
can one rule out the possibility of recording further votes at
any time after close of the poll and before the commencement
of counting by interested parties?
Ans. As soon as the last voter has voted, the Polling Officer
in-charge of the Control Unit will press the ‘Close’ Button.
Thereafter, the EVM will not accept any vote. Further, after
the close of poll, the Balloting Unit is disconnected from the
Control Unit and kept separately. Votes can be recorded only
through the Balloting Unit. Again the Presiding officer, at
the close of the poll, will hand over to each polling agent
present an account of votes recorded. At the time of counting
of votes, the total will be tallied with this account and if
there is any discrepancy, this will be pointed out by the