April 13, 2009

Malaysia and Six Other Countries Want To Procure Indian Electronic Voting Machines

Six countries, including Malaysia, want to procure Indian electronic voting machines made by Bharat Electronic Ltd for use at elections in the countries.

Bharat’s Deputy Manager (Corporate Communications) told PTI, adding that officials of Mauritius, Malaysia, Singapore, Namibia, South Africa and Sri Lanka had approached them, for the purpose.

"We have customised the machines to meet the electoral requirements of these countries. We have given demonstrations in these countries and further negotiations are on to address their concerns since the machines will change electoral process," he said.

The electronic voting machines, which can withstand rough handling and variable climatic conditions, were used for smooth conduct of the polls in Nepal and Bhutan recently and elections conducted in the Kathmandu constituency using these machines were part of a pilot project.

The Electronic Corporation of India Ltd, which also produces such equipment, had supplied the machines to Bhutan during its last general elections.

The electronic voting machines are becoming popular because they eliminate the possibility of invalid and doubtful votes and make the process of counting much faster. The machine can record a maximum of 3,840 votes.

Meanwhile, Bharat has supplied 102,000 machines to the Election Commission for the coming Indian general elections starting May 16. (714 million voters and 828,000 polling sates and 1.1 million electronic voting machines staffed by 4 million election personnel).

The electronic voting machines were used in the entire country for the first time in the 2004 Indian general elections.

The main advantage of the machine is that it is a standalone machine that does not have to be connected to any network.

All procedures during the polling process, from the pressing of a button to the counting of votes, can be recorded in the machine and stored up to five years.

According to the report, the machines are highly cost effective as they reduce the huge costs of transport, security of ballot boxes, printing of thousands of tonnes of ballot paper and hiring counting staff.

The machines are also easy to operate, deliver instantaneous results and the manufacturers claim they are tamperproof.

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