Who says Indian EVMs are failsafe? (PART 3) ‘Lost’ Ballots, EVMs ‘erase’ votes

I had referred to the problem of EVMs observed in Tamil Nadu and Orissa in my previous blogs. In this post, I am listing a number of cases where the votes have been lost in the EVMs after they have been cast!

At many polling stations, EVMs worked perfectly on the polling day, but failed to read the stored voting data on the counting day. We have come across a large number of such cases in which the EVMs failed to read data stored in the memory of the EVMs. In all such cases, the returning officers discounted the polling data.

For instance, in Andhra Pradesh, in six polling stations of Parkal assembly constituency (numbering 185, 197, 209, 212, 221 and 224), all the votes cast in the control units have been lost. A similar situation was observed in several other constituencies: Ramagundam assembly constituency (polling stations 60 and 61), Alampur (SC) constituency (polling stations 60 and 69), Panyam (polling stations 44 and 45).

In Puducherry parliamentary constituency, in polling station no 6 of Ozhukarai assembly segment, all the 555 votes were discarded as the control unit malfunctioned on the day of counting.

In a number of cases, where the control units (of EVMs) were replaced midway on the polling day due to malfunctioning of EVMs, the votes polled in the faulty EVMs could not be retrieved.

To cite two such instances, in the assembly constituency of Pedakurapadu (Andhra Pradesh), in Nagireddypalem Village, the control unit was replaced in polling station number 2 as the EVM malfunctioned. The replaced EVM in which 122 votes were polled were discarded. In a similar incident, in Uravakonda assembly (A.P) 120 votes polled till the first EVM developed a problem were discarded.

In Tamil Nadu, a large number of voting machines were replaced due to their malfunctioning. In several such cases, the voting data stored in the malfunctioning EVMs was lost. In Tiruchirapalli city, in Ward number. 36 and Polling station no. 96, 289 votes were lost which were cast until 11.30 A.M in the morning when the voting machine was replaced. Similarly, in Coimbatore parliamentary constituency, votes were lost in the following polling stations: PS No. 38 (ward number 2), PS No. 149 (ward number 12), PS No. 25 (ward number 19), PS No. 34 (ward number 58), PS No. 55 (ward number 61).

The EVM is like a black box in which you cast your vote. You don’t know what happens to it. It does not generate any physical record of voting. As a result, if the EVM fails to read the data stored in its memory, the voting data gets left out. Voters in such polling stations feel ‘cheated’ as their democratic choice finds no expression in the results.

Vote is a sacred right enjoyed by citizens in a democracy. Nothing should prevent a voter from exercising this right. The EVMs have usurped this basic human right of voters at many places as their votes went missing either due to technical glitches or tampering of EVMs.

A news report on elections in Finland reports that 2% of votes cast on electronic voting machines were lost leading to the Court’s decision to cancel the election result.

The irony in the case of Indian EVMs is that we don’t even know the scale of such ‘errors’ and the extent of missing votes.

On Second Thought, Finnish Gov’t Rejects Defective E-Voting Results

Back in February, we found it disturbing that Finland was allowing the results of an election to stand, despite the fact that at least 2% of the votes had gone missing due to e-voting glitches. However, it looks like some sense of sanity has been restored as a higher court has now rejected the election results and ordered a new election. One hopes that the new election won’t involve similarly screwed up e-voting machines. Speaking of which… in a separate article, we find yet another story of e-voting machines that were “mis-calibrated” in such a way that made it difficult to impossible for people to vote for candidates of their choice. At some point, given all of these problems with e-voting machines, you have to ask why elections officials still rely on them.


Do post your comments below or write to nrao@indianEVM.com

This entry was posted on Friday, May 14th, 2010 at 6:26 AM and is filed under EVM PROBLEMS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Who says Indian EVMs are failsafe? (PART 3) ‘Lost’ Ballots, EVMs ‘erase’ votes”

  1. agnes Says:

    the election officials stiill rely on them because this is their retirement bonus and shame on them

  2. lenin Says:

    This black box model evm voting is dangerous to dmocracy.Many strange things happened in andhra.I ahve some proofs.more votes regestered in evms than voters actually attneded the voting!!!.some voting centers regesterd m100% voting while still voting process going on