EVMs a threat to fair 2024 Lok Sabha elections: protestors

Civil society groups protest at Jantar Mantar calling for a ban on EVMs, advocating a return to paper ballots

"A big preparation is going on across the country to remove EVMs. The public wants to remove EVMs. We will remove EVMs from this country," said a protester at this demonstration in Kanpur Nagar, Uttar Pradesh, in 2023 (photo: @Anticorrupstion/X)
"A big preparation is going on across the country to remove EVMs. The public wants to remove EVMs. We will remove EVMs from this country," said a protester at this demonstration in Kanpur Nagar, Uttar Pradesh, in 2023 (photo: @Anticorrupstion/X)
user

NH Political Bureau

Thousands of Ambedkarites, lawyers and other members of civil society gathered at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on Thursday, 2 February, staging a protest demonstration, demanding a ban on electronic voting machines (EVMs).

Alleging that EVMs are vulnerable to hacking and pose a threat to the fair conduct of elections, the protesters argued that the use of EVMs jeopardises the democratic process.

Protesters for this cause have been raising concerns about EVMs for an extended period across pockets of India, having initiated the #EVM_ban campaign ahead of the upcoming 2024 general elections—which are due in April–May, lending particular urgency to the issue this quarter.

Jantar Mantar saw another demonstration recently on 31 January as well.

Said one protester at Jantar Mantar today: "A big agitation is going on across the country to remove EVMs. The public wants to remove EVMs. We will remove EVMs from this country... We have been taking up this issue for a very long time, and now, with the general elections 2024 just around the corner, we have started this campaign to bring this issue to attention afresh."

Several demonstrators have highlighted that the Election Commission had challenged anyone to prove that EVMs could be hacked and that the Samyukt EVM Hatao Desh Bachao Morcha, led by Supreme Court lawyers, accepted this challenge. However, the Election Commission did not acknowledge the challenge and the activists were denied the opportunity to submit a memorandum to the EC office.

Protesters at Jantar Mantar had earlier urged the commission to provide them with 50 EVMs to test, asserting that they could demonstrate how the machines could be manipulated in different locations.

The activists underlined that their objective is to showcase the vulnerabilities of the EVMs and advocate for a shift back to traditional paper ballots.

Protests in Kanpur last year also reflected a growing conviction among several sections of society, including legal professionals, against the continued use of EVMs, with demands for a return to traditional voting methods gaining momentum ahead of the crucial 2024 general elections. 

In November 2023, while hearing a petition, the Supreme Court made observations that amplifying the scale of cross-checking EVM data with the voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) records may not offer significant advantages and would only burden the Election Commission with additional work.

Simultaneously, in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, a group of lawyers assembled in the courthouse premises, symbolically burning an effigy of an EVM and demanding the withdrawal of EVM usage in elections.

Holding banners, the lawyers expressed their preference for ballot papers, asserting that they ensure free and fair elections without the risks associated with EVMs.

So far, the Election Commission's campaign to restore the public's faith in the EVM has left at least a significant number of citizens unconvinced.

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines


;