Federal Minister for Science and Technology and Senator Shibli Faraz announced on Thursday that the new electronic voting machine (EVM) meeting 98 per cent of the requirements of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is all set to be introduced in the future electoral process.
The science minister said that purpose-made machines would not only provide instant results but ensure that no rigging takes place in elections.
The announcement came after the science minister presented the newly-built EVM to Prime Minister Imran Khan, who tested the machine by casting a vote and lauded the science minister’s achievement of completing the task within 12 weeks.
“We have fulfilled 98 per cent conditions of the ECP,” the minister said while referring to some 55-plus conditions earlier given by the ECP.
While talking to The Express Tribune, Faraz said that EVM will make the electoral process credible and also usher the voting process into the modern technological era. Sharing three salient features of the EVM, the minister said that the EVM is simple and user-friendly, both for voters and polling staff.
Secondly, Faraz said, it is secure and cannot be bugged and hacked as neither it has any operating system nor internet connection. “It works as a standalone machine,” he said.
Thirdly, he said, EVM eliminates rigging during and after the election and in case of an election dispute, it will provide data for the audit trail.
“The results would be available within a second and there would be no controversy on Form 45 anymore,” he said, adding time of casting vote would also be mentioned on every vote. Terming EVMs as the future of the voting system in Pakistan, Faraz said that several voting exercises involving roughly 200 voters were performed before being presenting the machine to the premier, adding that no discrepancies were found during the exercises.
Most importantly, he shared that no vote will go to waste or be cancelled because the machine completely eliminates the process of manually stamping a vote.
“Zero votes will be wasted; there is no chance of that happening,” he added. Sharing some figures that he obtained from the ECP, Faraz said that three per cent of votes were wasted or cancelled in every general election, adding that three per cent votes roughly translate into 1.5 to 1.8 million votes based on the total number of the voters who exercised their right to franchise in the last general elections.
In the next stage, he said, the machines would be placed in the parliament and presented to the opposition lawmakers, saying the government would invite the opposition parties to thoroughly inspect the machine, test it and raise questions if any.
Subsequently, Faraz added, the machine would be presented to the ECP, media and the people of Pakistan. He said that the new voting machine is aesthetically better than the machines built-in 2014 that have already been rejected. He said that he would soon share more details about the machine in a press conference on Saturday
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