Successful machines

Published : May 26, 2001 00:00 IST

THE NDTV-Frontline-CSDS post-poll survey shows that the Election Commission's decision to use electronic voting machines (EVMs) was accepted and appreciated widely. It was for the first time that EVMs were used in all polling stations in more than one State: they were used for the entire States of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, and in four constituencies of Assam.

The electronic voting machines were widely used for the entire States of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, and in four constituencies of Assam.

Apart from the logistics of such an operation, there was a question mark over the response to the new machines by the rural and uneducated electorate. The survey revealed that such misgivings were ungrounded. An overwhelming majority of the electorate knew in advance that EVMs were to be used. More than 90 per cent of those interviewed in Kerala and Tamil Nadu felt that pushing the button was a better method than stamping the ballot paper. This is in line with the findings of similar surveys done by the CSDS in the Assembly elections held in Haryana, where EVMs were used partially. In West Bengal, the rate of disapproval is a little higher than elsewhere. Those who disapproved do not come from any specific party background. The disapproval is slightly higher among men (7 per cent) and rural voters (6 per cent) as compared to women (5 per cent) and urban voters (6 per cent). The debate over the use of EVMs has covered a wide range of issues, such as whether the machines are cost-effective in the long run, whether they can do anything substantial to control polling irregularities and whether the electorate will accept the new machine. This survey seems to have settled at least the last question.

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