The debate on the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) is going on in the parliament of the country. A bill was approved recently which authorized the use of EVMs for future elections. Consequently, three committees were formed by the ECP to scrutinize the use of EVMs for future elections. Now, the committees informed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) that further legislation would be needed before EVMs for overseas Pakistanis could be introduced.
More Legislation is required for the use of EVMs
Furthermore, in this regard, a meeting was held and chaired by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja. During the meeting, the ECP secretary on the suggestions of three committees briefed the CEC regarding the use of EVMs.
The task of the committees:
The three committees were given the task of scrutinizing the different aspects of the use of EVMs. One committee reviewed the technical aspects, the second one examined the cost of the process while the third committee was to specify challenges and propose amendments to existing laws and rules regarding the use of EVMs.
Moreover, one of the participants of the meeting told CEC that introducing EVMs without carrying out pilot projects could result in a disaster. For instance, an ECP official said that offenses under the existing EVMs law had to be made compatible if EVMs were to be used. He indicated that snatching or attempting to snatch a ballot box is a crime under the current law, however, manipulation of electronic voting is not.
After taking the briefing, CEC told that around four to six pilot projects would be carried out before opting for voting through EVMs. Furthermore, he added that the election commission is the main body for the introduction of technology and would take all possible measures in that direction.
Also, he said that best international practices would be pursued and they would learn from the experience of countries employing modern electoral technologies.