Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) have become the topic of debate in India in the recent times. The electronic machines which are used to record the votes in political elections have been used for an extremely long amount of time. Various reports claim that it is easy to manipulate the numbers in these EVMs and also claims that these systems are easy to hack. EVMs are technological advances which aim at making elections hassle free for the government and make the process of election results announcement faster. While the EVMs are known to make life stress free for officials of the election commission, there are various threats or disadvantages of the EVMs which has led to various guidelines being introduced all over the world on using EVMs in political voting.
The electronic voting machines are easy to carry around and count votes on. However, various incidences all over the world prove that the EVMs alone cannot be trusted and do not have transparency. Fraud and manipulation in the number of votes received by a candidate as well as hacking of the remote EVMs have been registered in the past and continue to be a major threat for this technological advance. In light of all these negative points, there are various countries that have banned electronic voting or have a stringent law in place to check on the functioning of EVMs. Here is a list of countries that have banned or monitored the use of EVMs.
The EVMs have been prone to hacking and are declared as unfit for political use. In Germany, Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) have been termed as unconstitutional and has been banned. In two voters brought a case before the German Constitutional Court after unsuccessfully raising a complaint with the Committee for the Scrutiny of Elections. Following this complaint, the German Constitutional Court banned the use of voting machines.
The Netherlands is another country that has questioned the use of EVMS. The country banned the use of EVMs stating that they lack transparency. This decision was taken by the Dutch council in 2008 after people questioned the authenticity of the voting machines. Dutch TV carried a story where one change the EPROM of the Nedap voting machine changed the output making people question its credibility.
Ireland spent millions of dollars on the installation of EVMs and to use them during the political elections. However, after spending more than 51 million pounds for three years, Ireland went forwards and scrapped the electronic voting system citing it to lack of trust and transparency in the voting machine.
England has had various pilots for the electronic voting system to be used. However, these pilots have never led to the use of EVMs in the country. England is one of the few countries that has stayed away from the modern methods in political elections, and the government plans to continue on the same path. In January 2016, the UK Parliament revealed that it has no plans to introduce electronic voting for statutory elections, either using electronic voting in polling booths or remotely via the internet
Electronic voting was used in a national presidential primary in 2007. While the country has chosen to vote via the internet, EVMs have not been used in France. Elections in France utilised remote Internet voting for the first time in 2003, and this idea was made a custom in 2009 as people chose the internet voting system over paper.
In 2006, Italy used Nedap Voting machines in the national elections. The pilot project involved 3000 electors and four polling stations. However, after the pilot project was completed, the country chose to go back to paper as it is easy to manage and cheaper.
While these countries have banned or refrained from using EVMs, there are others who have taken a systematic approach and backed the use of EVMs with paper ballots. In various parts of the United States of America as well as in Venezuela EVMs are used on a large scale but are backed by paper trails of the votes. This simple step helps the government to regularize and check the authenticity of votes and avoid any discrepancies.