Letters to the Editor: US prefers paper ballots because it is unconvinced about security of EVMs
It is certainly not because the US does not have the technology or because it cannot afford EVMs. They are clearly unconvinced about the security of the system, the possibility of fraud and hacking
Paper ballots vs EVM
While many Indians seem to be gloating over the failure of the US electoral system to declare results in one day, they seem to be missing the point. The United States has avoided using Electronic Voting Machines though some states in US do so. The overwhelming preference in the US is for paper ballots and the Election Commission of India, despite multiple visits and demonstrations, has not succeeded in persuading the Americans to make the switch to EVMs. It is certainly not because the US does not have the technology or because it cannot afford the system. They are clearly unconvinced about the security of the system, the possibility of fraud and hacking.
What is more, while the American system does have its flaws, it also has some robust systems like mail-order ballots that India can learn from.
Voter protection law
While we boast of an independent Election Commission and successful conduct of elections involving millions of people, this should be treated as a work in progress, requiring constant improvisation and innovation.
While neither the ECI nor the Supreme Court of India have succeeded in persuading the Government against the use of electoral bonds and in favour of the use of Totalisers—which would enable ECI to count votes cast in multiple booths together and speed up the counting—there are many other issues with the Indian electoral system that needs urgent correction.
A suitable voter protection law is one such area that deserves attention. An eligible voter who finds at the booth that his name has been misspelt or is missing, has no protection at the moment. Thousands of voters complain at every election that their names are missing from the electoral rolls given to the polling personnel at booths. Many complain that they have been shown as ‘dead’. How does this happen despite colossal sums spent on revising the electoral rolls every other year?
Nobody seems to take any responsibility, least of all the Election Commission. The voter, thus denied his right to franchise, has no option but to return without casting his vote. Surely such lapses affect the integrity of the election?
BJP Against Fascists!
The last 24 hours saw several BJP leaders including Home Minister Amit Shah, Rakesh Sinha, MP and union minister Prakash Javadekar among others rile against ‘fascism’ in India. The trigger was the arrest of Republic TV CEO and Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami by Maharashtra Police on the charge of abetment to suicide. I am against all detentions beyond what is absolutely necessary. But BJP leaders must realise that people who live by the sword, also die by the sword. The party has allowed the police and BJP ruled states to arrest people indiscriminately. Some of the finest Indians have been implicated in false cases and they did not protest. Why then protest now?
I am not sure how many people are shocked at the Rashtrapati Bhavan denying the chief minister of Punjab an appointment. I am not aware of any other instance when the President of India has refused to meet and hear an elected chief minister of a state. What is more, the Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh is heading not only a border state but also a state which feeds large parts of the country.
I sincerely hope that media reports are not correct and the Rashtrapati Bhavan has merely expressed its inability to give an appointment on the desired day and time. I do hope that the President will soon find the time to see the Punjab CM and get briefed about the situation.
It is ungainly to find the chief minister of a state offering a dharna at the Raj Ghat because the President of India has no time to meet him. What else is the President there for, if not meet elected representative among others?