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What is an EVM? How does it work? All you need to know

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New Delhi, Nov 19: The crucial assembly polls in five states may reflect the mood of the voters as the nation is all set to go to polls for Lok Sabha elections 2019. Over the last few years, the Election Commission has replaced paper ballots with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), which has certainly changed the way people vote in the polls. In a bid to bring usher in more transparency in the polling process, the poll panel also uses the Voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT).

Polling in these five states is scheduled to take place from November 12 to December 7. While voting in Chhattisgarh takes place in two phases, on November 12 and 20, polling in Mizoram and Madhya Pradesh will take place on November 28. Telangana and Rajasthan go to polls on December 7. The counting of votes will take place on December 11.

What is an EVM?

What is an EVM?

EVM or Electronic Voting Machines are used to cast vote without revealing your identity. It is used in Indian General and State Elections. It has replaced paper ballots in local, state and general (parliamentary) elections in India. EC has announced that all ensuing elections will be held with the Voters Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) enabled EVM. EC has sanctioned Rs 3,174 crore for the purchase of 16,15,000 VVPATs. Here's a look at the life cycle and the security features of the machine.

How does the machine work?

How does the machine work?

EVM has two parts, it consists of a ‘control unit' and a ‘balloting unit', connected by a 5-metre cable. The control unit is with the Election Commission-appointed polling officer; the balloting unit is in the voting compartment into which the voter enters to cast the vote in secret by pressing the button against the name and symbol of the candidate of her choice. The control unit is the EVM's ‘brain' - the balloting unit is turned on only after the polling officer presses the ‘Ballot' button on it. The EVM runs on a 6 volt single alkaline battery fitted in the control unit, and can even be used in areas that have no electricity.

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When did India start using EVMs?

When did India start using EVMs?

These were first used in 1982 in 50 polling stations in the byelection to Kerala's Parur assembly seat. In 1998, it was used in 16 assembly seats in MP, Rajasthan and Delhi. The 2004 Lok Sabha election was conducted entirely on EVMs.

How does the Indian EVM work?

How does the Indian EVM work?

The control unit is key: it stores data and contains the programme that controls the EVM's functioning. This programme is fused into a micro-chip that can be neither altered nor overwritten. After voting, the close button is pressed and the machine disabled so it can't accept any new data. Votes are matched with total votes polled as recorded in booth register. India's EVM is a standalone device not connected to any network.

Political parties demand audit of EVMs with the print out of VVPAT to ensure fair elections

How many countries use electronic voting?

How many countries use electronic voting?

As of now, 31 countries used or studied EVMs. Only 4 use it nationwide, 11 use EVMs in some parts. Pilots are on in 5 nations. Three nations have discontinued it while 11, which ran pilots, decided against electronic voting.

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