The current system of vote casting in Pakistan is manually controlled.
Votes are cast manually. All the data and information like registered voters, candidates, polling stations, region information, and party information is saved manually in physical files. Results are calculated manually by authorized people. So all the files pile up and it gets difficult to maintain it. The election commission had a big problem with paperwork.
The solution to all these problems has been proposed in the form of the Electronic Voting Machine(EVM).
This system will replace the manual system for registering voters and candidates, reduce the likelihood of errors in the counting of votes, reduce the time spent on the counting process, increase the safety of the votes cast, eliminate the possibility of refusal to vote, and facilitate the keeping of records.
E-Voting associates technology with the voting process, making voting more efficient and voter-friendly.
The election process in Pakistan has not been transparent and the candidates usually use wrong methods in order to manipulate the process.
The Electronic Voting machine will eliminate these concerns and the voting process will be more corruption-free.
In May 2021, the prototype of the machine was unveiled in the parliament so that the Election Commission of Pakistan(ECP) test the device. The ECP has instructed requirements that need to be fulfilled while manufacturing the machine.
The device will identify using the ID number and the data from NADRA.
The Information Minister Fawad Chaudary said that the system is not even using the Internet due to hacking issues. He said that they are fully independent machines, and they are not connected to each other, so the chances of manipulation are further reduced.
According to Ahsan Malik head of the lab where the prototype was made, EVM consisted of two parts;
First is a verification process where any voter with ID is verified with a thumb or fingerprint as a valid voter.
They will then press their favorite candidate’s button on the machine which will save the vote in the system.
The system will also print a ballot with the name of the chosen candidate which will be put in the ballot box. Voters do not need to handle any paper, they will just press the button of their favorite candidate. the whole process can be completed within 30 seconds.
After the prototype, the original machine started to be manufactured and in August 2021, the devices are made fully in the country and not exported.
The PM was given a demo of the device.
- This machine fulfills all the requirements of the ECP.
- Its manufacturing cost is half the price of imported devices, almost 65,000 rupees each.
- The ink used in the machine will stay for at least 5 years.
- The machine will make counting votes much easier; done by just pushing a button, takes a maximum of an hour.
- Manipulating and hacking the system is not possible, as it is not connected to the internet or any other device.
- It is very user-friendly.
- It can provide the full data of how many votes were cast in case of any issue.
As the government wants to employ the EVM in the next elections in 2023, some say that it is not possible. Owing to the fact that it will cost a huge amount to fully incorporate the devices in the system, and a large number of machines need to be manufactured, which is hard to do in such a short time. But the Government is planning to attain the goal.