1. P1: Electronic Voting Machine (EVM): Basics
  2. P2: Voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT)
  3. P3: EVM Totalizer to prevent Voter Victimization?
  4. CSAT Sample MCQs
  5. Correct answers for MCQs

P1: Electronic Voting Machine (EVM): Basics

EVM is madeup of two units

  1. Control unit (CU)
    • with the presiding officer.
    • It’s memory lasts for ten years (even without constant electricity supply).
    • It’s chip as date-time stamping facility to find out when exactly the keys were pressed.
    • Additional unit that can be attached with CU
      1. Auxiliary display unit (ADU): to view the data, if the original display panel of Control Unit gets damaged.
      2. EVM totalizer: can be attached to upto 14 Control units
  2. Balloting unit (BU)
    • one unit has 16 buttons, maximum 4 units can be joined
    • means 16 x 4 =64 candidates.
    • if >64 candidates then paper ballot system has to be used.
    • Additionally, we can attached a VVPAT unit with BU
components of an Electroinc Voting Machine EVM Totalizer

Components of an Electronic Voting Machine (EVM)

EVM: Other features

  1. If one unit malfunctions, no need to re-start polling again. You can join a spare EVM & resume public from the queue.
  2. Programming code is “Burnt” into the microprocessor chip (P-ROM). This fused program cannot be overwritten, altered or copied.
  3. It has no networking connectivity, so hacking via LAN/wifi is impossible. [American EVM can be controled through network & remote control.].
  4. EVM randomization: noone knows the serial number of EVMs in advance, before they’re shipped to the booth.
  5. Invalid votes impossible because you cannot give vote to more than one candidate for given election. (in paper-ballot some idiots would put stamp on multiple candidates = invalid votes.)
  6. Same EVM can be simultaneously used for both LokSabha + Vidhansabha elections. (in such case, you’ll have to press vote button for two names. and there will be two “NOTA” buttons as well. Observe following photo)
EVM NOTA two elections at once

Yes, same EVM can be used simultaneously for two elections!

EVM makes Booth capturing difficult because

  1. EVM can record maximum five votes per minute. So the Goonda-gang will need 30 minutes to put 150 votes, but within that time, Police party will come.
  2. Booth officials can press “Close” button on control unit, then EVM will not accept any data. Goonda-gang cannot register any bogus votes.
  3. If circuit/memory re-wired, unit will stop functioning.
EVM: Misc. features & GK
  • If more than 64 candidates, then paper-ballot has to be used.
  • Can record maximum 3840 votes.
  • Can record only 5 votes per minute.
Energy supply
  • Alkaline battery
  • Battery leaking not possible
  • Even if battery malfunctions, memory storage won’t be affected.
  • Bharat Electronics Ltd., Bangalore
  • Electronic Corporation of India Ltd., Hyderabad
First usage
  • 1982: Kerala’s Parur assembly bye-elections
  • 1998: State assembly elections of MP, Rajasthan and Delhi
  • Also used by Bhutan and Nepal

Blind voters have three options:

  1. Cast vote with help of companion (applies to all physical disabled- their companion can come all the way to voting box)
  2. Balloting unit itself has stickers in Braille language. (done in Maharashtra, Punjab, Kerala etc.)
  3. Presiding Officer gives Braille encoded dummy ballot paper to blind voter. Voter finds the serial number of his preferred candidates. Then goes to hut, presses button on EVM

P2: Voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT)

Voter verifiable paper audit trail-VVPAT
Features of VVPAT

  • When voter presses EVM button, printer generates a paper slip
  • This paper slip contains
    • serial number of voter
    • name and symbol of the candidate for whom the vote has been cast.
  • paper slip will remain visible to the voter for seven seconds, through a glass-covered window.
  • Then it’ll automatically fall in a sealed box.
  • Later EC can use these slips for crosschecking / physical verification of votes during recounting.

but why do we need it?

  • Some parties allege that EVM machines can be manipulated.
  • VVPAT is developed to clear an air over authenticity of the EVMs (Electronic Voting Machine).
  • Helps physical verification /crosschecking votes.
  • Will help to resolve the election disputes.


  • 2013: SC ordered EC to introduce VVPAT in phased manner in 2014 general election.
  • 2013, Sep: VVPAT first tried in Noksen constituency in Nagaland

P3: EVM Totalizar: Form 20 vs Voter confidentiality

As per India’ Conduct of Election rules
Form No. Provision under Rule#
  • When EVM did not have “NOTA” option, and If voter wanted to exercise NOTA, he had to fill this form.
  • This form would contain his name and signature= voter confidentiality compromised.
  • Form 20, is the final result sheet. It shows polling station-wise results.
  • This will also compromise voter confidentiality.
  • observe following screenshot of form-20 for Junagadh parliamentary Constituency, LokSabha election 2014
FORM-20 Why we need EVM Totalizer

How does Form-20 compromise Voter confidentiality?

  • Form 20 is given to the polling agents of candidates.
  • Form 20 also uploaded on the official EC-sites of given state. (in this case, ceo.gujarat.gov.in)
  • Banej polling booth, Gir forest (Junagadh constituency)= only single voter Mahant Bharatdas Darshandas.
  • It is obvious Mahant voted for BJP. Form 20 has exposed his secret vote.
  • Now, Congressi-karyakartaa may vandalize Mahant’s house, property and may even break his expensive sun-glasses to take revenge.
  • In other words, if a single person votes in EVM then his secrecy will be compromised because of form-20.
  • In the same photo, observe that Sr.No.2 Biliyat village didn’t give a single vote to Congressi candidate Punjabhai Bhimabhai Vansh.
  • So, it is possible to find out which polling station/village/hamlet was in favor of which candidate.
  • Then politicians/ goons / feudal lords might harass the villagers accordingly.
  • in short, Form20 + EVM=> post electoral voter victimization possible.

In paper-ballot system, this was difficult. Because during counting, the officials will randomly mix the ballot papers to conceal the voting preference of individual polling stations.

But how can EVM Totalizer help?

  • EVM Totalizer can count votes of multiple Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) simultaneously.
  • That way EC official will only record total votes in all EVMs, and not individual EVM from each polling booth
  • EVM Totalizer’s prototype ready. EC even tested it in UP bypoll (2009).
  • Manufacturers:
    • Bharat Electronic ltd
    • Electronics corporation of India
  • EVM totalizer is connected to EVMs via cable. Can do sum of all votes from 14 EVM simultaneously.

Why EVM Totalizer not implemented?

  • To use EVM totalizer, we need to change format of Form-20
  • but Form-20 format designed as per Rule 56/C/2/C of “Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961”
  • but “Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961” designed as per Representation of People Act (RPA) 1951”.
  • Therefore, to adopt nationwide EVM totalizer system, we need to amend RPA Act.

CSAT Sample MCQs

Q1. Consider following statements about EVM

  1. To discourage booth capturing, the EVMs are designed in such way that one EVM can record only 1 vote per two minutes.
  2. When you press blue button, your vote is stored at two places- one in the balloting unit and second backup in the control unit.
  3. EVM control unit needs constant electricity supply from a built in battery otherwise its memory will be wiped out.

The correct statements are:

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. None of them

Q2. Which of the following is/are incorrect methods of assembling an EVM?

  1. Attach VVPAT attached to control unit
  2. Attach auxiliary display unit to control unit
  3. Attach EVM totalizer to balloting units

Answer choices

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. all of them

Q3. Which of the following are essential components of an EVM, without which process of voting and counting is impossible?

  1. Balloting unit
  2. VVPAT
  3. Control unit
  4. EVM totalizer
  5. Auxiliary display unit

Correct choices are

  1. only 1, 2 and 3
  2. only 1 and 3
  3. only 1, 3 and 5
  4. only 1, 2, 3 and 4
  5. all of them

Q4. Consider following statements about EVM

  1. In emergency, EVMs can be run on the lead-battery used in sarkaari-jeeps.
  2. EVMs can record a maximum of 6400 votes.
  3. Single Balloting unit can cater to a maximum of 64 candidates.

Correct statements are

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. None of them

Q5. What is the use of form 20 in the elections?

  1. earlier, to use NOTA, you had to fillup this form
  2. Police and defense personnel use this form to cast postal ballot
  3. To file nomination, the candidate has to fillup his income, assets, criminal cases etc. as per the format given in this form.
  4. EC will show polling station wise result according to this form.

Q6. Following are imaginary headlines in a newspaper. Which one of them will get the CEC nervous?

  1. A Banglore techie-blogger claims he can overwrite the code in EVM circuit via wifi to make it record 6000 votes in a minute.
  2. Sadhu Yadav asked 70 of his goons to file nominations along with him in the same Constituency. IB report says he also has plans for booth capturing.
  3. Sadhu Yadav has hired the techie mentioned in option A, and is planning for booth “hacking” through OB van of a media channel.
  4. None of the above.

Correct answers for MCQs

  1. D none of them correct
  2. C 1 and 3 are wrong connections
  3. Only 1 and 3- balloting unit and control unit without them voting impossible. Even if other instruments are absent, still you can conduct elections and count votes.
  4. D none of them
  5. D- polling station wise result
  6. B- more than 64 candidates = paper balloting. And booth capturing is easier in paper ballot system compared to EVM, hence it should give highest stress to CEC. Option A and C are junk because EVM cannot be hacked via wifi to record more than 3840 votes irrespective of what Banglore techie brags.

Mains and Interview Questions

  • Mains: What is EVM totalizer? How can it prevent the post-electoral voter victimization? 200 words.
  • Interview: First VVPAT and now the columnists are demanding EVM totalizer. Can’t we simply do addition via EXCEL spreadsheet? What’s the need of one more stupid machine?