Why we need to return to ballot paper voting

Vidya Bhushan Rawat at deekshabhoomi
Vidya Bhushan Rawat

Ms. Kamla Harris, democratic party Senator from California who is also planning to contest the Presidential position in the United States has demanded that US should immediately switch to Paper Ballet so that people’s mandate can’t be hacked by the enemies of the nation. I think this point is as important for India as for US as democracy is endangered in both the countries at the moment. Will the election commission of India as well as political parties would campaign against this or not?

I am quoting what Kamala Harris has tweeted in the morning:

“The reason paper ballots would help secure our elections is really simple: our foreign adversaries can’t hack a piece of paper. We have a bill right now in the Senate to require hand-marked paper ballots in all federal elections—we must pass it immediately. This can’t wait.”

She is the senator of World’s most powerful country both in terms of military as well as science and technology. When a fully developed and powerful country like United States feel that EVMs can be hacked then what about India.

In the US, many people have charged the Russian involvement in getting Donald Trump elected through hacking. We don’t know the reality which must be known to American administration but the fact is that they all are concern about the safety of their electoral system as well as credibility of it.

People’s trust and faith are the biggest source of strength for a system. When they lose trust in the system, no amount of explanation work.

Indian elections have just concluded.

There have been arguments against EVMs and they revolve around hacking and not about their manipulations. So far reports suggest that in many places, vote counted by EVMs are much higher than the actual vote polled.

Question is in whose ‘account’ these ‘excess’ or ‘extra’ votes have gone. Why has the Election Commission of India has not been able to come out with clear cut figures related to Elections. This is more than shocking as it is almost third week after the results have been declared. People are still under the shock and many might approach the courts but I don’t see any radical step ordered by the court in this regard.

A campaign against #EVMs is important to instill faith among the voters when institutions have failed to protect them. India need bigger electoral reforms including government funding to elections, equal timing on electronic media, ban on Exit Polls, ban on opinion polls, elections with in a week time or one day and results on one day.

We can’t have excuses in the name of delays and difficulties. To Save Democracy we need to return to ballot voting so that people’s faith is restored in the institution of democracy though we know even during that phase booth capturing was a common phenomenon but things have changed when the election commission is following its own guidelines. Thanks to T N Sheshan, the poll body became independent and

assertive Subsequent Chief Elections Commissioners kept their independence and assertion. This year, however, it was disappointing to see Election Commission not able to take categorical stand on poll code violation issues of the ruling party.

It would be good if the government speak to the opposition parties. One is unable to understand as why government spend over 14000 crore rupees for the purpose of VVPAT system when they remained unused. Either order the counting of total VVPAT and declared candidate victory based on them only.

Delay in counting is no argument in favor of the machine. We need complete safety and security of it. We need people’s faith which is lost at the moment. For protecting and strengthening our democracy, people would love to wait for three days in counting to get a result which no one would ever doubt and therefore will be our complete respect for the mandate… Those of us who have seen these counting enjoyed every moment of those two three days, full of suspense yet full of excitement. Let us hope, government, opposition parties and Election Commission of India, will agree to some point so that people’s faith in the system is intact and democracy is saved.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat

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