Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) dominated news during all seven phases in the 2019 Lok Sabha election. Opposition parties have even raised concerns over the reports of alleged tampering of EVMs and have asked the Election Commission of India (ECI) to ensure transparency in counting. From Andhra Pradesh to West Bengal, the parties, primarily those in Opposition, have widely alleged the misuse of EVMs. With just one day left for the final counting of votes, it is crucial to understand how EVMs are secured after polling concludes.
What happens to the EVMs once the voting process ends? After the last voter casts his/her vote, the officer-in-charge or the presiding officer of the control unit presses the 'close' button, following which the EVM does not accept any vote. Then the control unit is switched off before disconnecting it from the balloting unit. The official-in-charge keeps the balloting unit in a carrying case before putting a seal with an unique ID on it.
The presiding officer also has to hand over to each polling agent a copy of the account of votes recorded. At the time of the counting, the total number of votes recorded in a particular control unit is tallied with the recorded number, and in case of any discrepancy, the counting agents flag the issue to higher authorities.
EC norms to ensure the EVM security
- After voting ends, EVMs are sealed, and polling agents put their signatures on it.
- From here on, the EVMs are guarded by the central paramilitary forces officials.
- The EVMs are then taken to a secure storage centre called the "strong room".
- These rooms are equipped with CCTV cameras and are guarded round-the-clock.
- The candidates can also put their own seals on the "strong room" door.
- The EC also allows representatives of the candidates to camp in front of the strong rooms.
- The EVMs are then brought to the counting centres and unique IDs of the seals and control units are shown to the representatives of candidates before the counting starts.
- The counting staff and agents take note of the votes cast for each candidate in the serial number.
Edited by Manoj SharmaLok Sabha Election 2019: Poll dates, full schedule, election results, constituencies' detail