March 22, 2017

Why EVMs are Win-win

Senior Fellows, Mudit Kapoor and Shamika Ravi write about the introduction of electronic voting machines in India and its impact on crime rates across the country.


".....Post-2001, EVMs replaced paper ballots for all state elections. The timing of the assembly elections is state-specific, mandated by the Constitution, and held quinquennially. We exploited these intra- and inter-state variations to study the causal impact of EVMs on electoral outcomes, democracy and development in India....


.....In many constituencies under the paper ballot system, polling booths were captured and ballot boxes stuffed with fake ballots, resulting in an unusually high voter turnout; using state assembly election data, we saw that the introduction of EVMs led to a 3.5 per cent decline in voter turnout — the decline was substantially larger in states prone to electoral fraud, where politicians faced serious criminal charges. These results could also be explained by voters’ negative preference toward voting machines, or the formation of long lines in polling booths due to the upper limit on the maximum votes per minute. To address all of these issues, we analysed post-poll survey data collected by an independent agency. Interestingly, we found that the ability of vulnerable citizens (illiterates, females, scheduled castes and tribes) to cast their vote improved significantly after the introduction of EVMs — furthermore, voters were less likely to report that they did not cast their vote due to fear of violence, vote-capture or that they were prevented from voting. Additionally, we found that EVMs led to a virtual elimination of rejected or error-ridden votes...."


Read the entire article here

Topic : State Capacity / In : OP-EDS
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