Singapore buying electronic voting machines

April 13, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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PTI

Indian electronic voting machines (EVMs), are all set to go places with six countries, including Mauritius, Singapore and Sri Lanka, approaching Bharat Electronic Ltd (BEL), one of the manufacturers, with a demand for them to be used for elections in those countries.

After Nepal and Bhutan, six more countries have shown their interest in procuring EVMs for use during elections, Naveen Namboodiri, Deputy Manager (Corporate Communications) of BEL, told PTI, adding, officials of Mauritius, Malaysia, Singapore, Namibia, South Africa and Sri Lanka have approached the PSU, for the purpose.

“We have customised the EVMs to meet the electoral requirements of these countries. We have given demonstrations in these countries and further negotiations are on to address their concerns since the EVMs will change electoral process,” he said.

The EVMs, which can withstand rough handling and variable climatic conditions, were used for smooth conduct of the polls in Nepal and Bhutan recently and elections conducted in the Kathmandu-1 constituency using these machines were part of a pilot project.

In April last year, India supplied 200 EVMs and 600 additional units to Nepal for use in the Constituent Assembly elections. Last month, India also handed over EVMs worth USD 1,50,000 to the Election Commission of Nepal.

The Electronic Corporation of India Ltd, which also produces such equipment, had supplied the EVMs to Bhutan during its last general elections.

The EVMs are becoming popular because it eliminates the possibility of invalid and doubtful votes and makes the process of counting much faster. An EVM can record a maximum of 3,840 votes.

Meanwhile, the BEL has supplied 1,02,000 EVMs worth Rs 100 crore to the Election Commission for the coming general elections.

With this, the availability of EVMs with the Election Commission has gone up to 13,68,430 which will be used during the five-phased elections starting on April 16.

The EVMs were used in the entire country for the first time in the 2004 general elections in which 10.75 lakh machines were used out of which about five lakh were manufactured by BEL, the official said.

The main advantage of the EVM is that it is a standalone machine which does not have to be connected to any network.

All procedures during the polling process, from the pressing of a button to the counting of votes, can be recorded in the EVM and stored up to five years.

EVMs are highly cost effective as it reduces the huge costs of transportation, security of ballot boxes, printing thousands of tonnes of ballot paper and hiring counting staff.

Besides being tamper-proof, the EVMs are also easy to operate and deliver instantaneous results.

http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/002200904121051.htm