Ban EVM Bring Back Ballot

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Ram Nath Kovind
The President
Republic of India
Rashtrapathi Bhavan
New Delhi

Sub: Ban EVM and bring back ballot voting

Respected Sir,

India has just witnessed a mammoth election to its main legislative body Lok Sabha. Current prime minister Narendra Modi got a massive mandate to continue his rule.

Among several matters, the citizens really concerned about the way the election was conducted. From the schedule of polls, there were various occasions the poll body, Election Commission of India (EC), showed a favourism to ruling party despite repeated violations of model code of conduct by the leaders and candidates from BJP. The decisions on complaints of code violations had ebbed the body's trust among the citizens. In short, the Election Commission of India has lost its public trust.

The other issue is Electronic Voting Machine (EVM). India introduced EVM in 1998-99 to replace the old ballot voting system. During its pilot test only in 1982, the concerned people had expressed their reservations on EVM. It was said EVM would ease the efforts of counting the votes and reduce the use of paper. After the introduction of EVM, an almost idea of the result came in few hours of counting.

Since its introduction, several people had raised concerns on the EVM and the then Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy went further ahead to file petition in the courts to ban the machine claiming it can be tampered. He approached famous computer science researchers in the world enquiring the security of the EVM. They all told him the EVM could be manipulated with a wireless message from mobile phones. Moreover, Swamy claimed with a microprocessor the votes stored in the EVM could change.

The then Opposition party BJP published a book on EVM tampering. The book questioned the elections process in India. Furthermore, big democratic countries like technologically advanced Japan and the USA are still using ballot papers for their elections.

During last several elections, there were reports of faulty EVMs and most of the faults were in favour of BJP. Elections officials changed those soon.

Despite a hopeless rule in last five years, the huge victory of BJP in Uttar Pradesh two years back and Narendra Modi this time has indeed sparked speculations among the common man about the EVM manipulations. Although, the Election Commission after Supreme Court intervention introduced Voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT), the body was not ready to match the VVPAT slips with the votes counted. They decide to match the slips in five booths of each Assembly constituencies in each Lok Sabha seats. After completion of a week, the EC has not published the full data.

Media reports based on available data found some discrepancies between the total polled votes and counted votes. This has further stressed the apprehensions about the EVM.

In total, a great number of people have lost their trust in elections with EVM. We citizens request you to ban the EVM and bring back the ballots to ensure public confidence on our elections. As you know, the public confidence is necessary for a healthy democracy. When public lost their trust on the system, the democracy collapses.

Our main demands:

  1. Set up a judicial commission to investigate all the issues of faulty EVMs till the date and publish the report publicly. Punish the culprits if any discrepancy is found. 
  2. Publish the full audit report of EVMs till the date.
  3. Make available the EVMs for public to conduct tests.
  4. Investigate the mismatches in polled and counted votes.
  5. Clarify the doubts on Lok Sabha Elections 2019.
  6. Ban EVM from next elections. 
  7. Reintroduce ballot voting.