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Election Commission rejects electronic voting machines, says made in haste

EVM cannot stop rigging, ECP says

SAMAA | - Posted: Sep 8, 2021 | Last Updated: 2 weeks ago
Posted: Sep 8, 2021 | Last Updated: 2 weeks ago

The Election Commission of Pakistan has rejected the use of the electronic voting machine or EVM for the next election which will be held in 2023.

The ECP raised 37 objections to the machine and submit its report to a Senate Standing Committee.

The EVM cannot stop rigging, the secrecy of the ballot paper will not ensured and the results would also be delayed, the ECP said in the report.

The report said that neither were the polling staff members sufficiently conversant with technology nor was the public to the level that they could easily understand how to use the EVM. So it is not user-friendly. 

Moreover, the machine will not stop voting fraud and it will not be helpful if action needs to be taken against voters who sell and buy votes.

One objection was that there was not enough time to deploy the machines on such a large-scale as would be needed for the upcoming elections in two years. It was made in a rush, therefore, it does not meet international standards either.

And so even though a lot of money has been spent on this, it cannot ensure credibility and transparency for the election, the ECP said.

The ECP also pointed out that during elections, ballot papers often have to be changed at the last minute depending on court decisions. So it will not be possible to feed that fresh data into the machine immediately.

The PTI government had built an electronic voting machine which is unveiled on February 22 and on August 7, Prime Minister Imran Khan was given a demonstration of the EVMs.

Imran Khan believes that the sole solution to fraud and rigging is technology. He claimed that the next election would be historic and the results would be acceptable to all parties.

According to Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz, the machines can work without the internet and wifi. They can test rigging during and after the polls and help with audits too.

Here's how the machines will work:

  • An election officer will first remove the seal from the machine.
  • Once it's turned on, voters will be told to press a button through which they will be able to cast their votes.
  • The machine will then print a ballot paper.
  • The voter will be given the paper and asked to slip it into the ballot box.

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ECP rejects EVM, electronic voting machine, ECP objection report, Election Commission of Pakistan

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