Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Editorial, "Back to Ballot", in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, 15 December 2018, Vol. 14, Part 2, No. 23 issue

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is the demand this editor makes, it is the slogan to be given, so essential to our democracy at this juncture. A paper ballot is meant of course, and in this context a percipient comment made by Sir Winston Churchill summing up the importance of voters in a democracy with their paper ballots seems very apt: “At the bottom of all tributes paid to democracy is the little man, walking into a little booth, with a little pencil, making a little cross on a little bit of paper – no amount of rhetoric or voluminous discussion can possibly diminish the overwhelming importance of that point. Sadly since a decade or more, the paper ballot has disappeared from our country with the electronic voting machine (EVM) taking its place. Ever since, there have been several complaints from almost all parties and demands for its trashing and to switch back to the paper ballot – the main defect/suspicion is that electronic systems are amenable to hacking from anywhere - even from Space! One of the images printed above is that of a book written by a BJP leader of A.P., GVL Narasimha Rao, titled “Democracy at Risk[due to EVMs, and that before they coming to power, of course] with a preface by Sri Advani, which shows how disappointed/disapproving of these machines the current ruling party was then though now they have changed tack as now they are in commanding heights. Further, it is suspected that they have a highly efficient team of e-technology experts who plan and hack all possible things, perhaps EVMs even, in India, right from the U.S. May be or not – but their spectacular victories in UP, etc. 2-3 years ago, and then the current thumping victory of TRS led by KCR in Telangana and, still going back, their unimagined about 100 seats victory in GHMC elections in which, earlier, they used to not dare setting up candidates even, together with the strong allegations made by the Congress candidates in Hyderabad and Kodangal, etc. about sure tampering of the EVMs – all this fortifies the suspicions and distrust on EVMs. Further, it has to be noticed that in developed democracies – even in the USA – paper ballot is the norm and EVMs are the exception, and actually six European countries that used those have now gone back to paper ballot again. There is an undeniable, definite risk of hacking and rigging – if not general, at least selective – in the use of EVMS. And so trashing the EVMS and switching back to the good old paper ballot system is a must for the protection and promotion of real democracy in our country.  §§§

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