Electronic voting machines and their hefty price tag
14th July 2021.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, currently the ruling party of the state suggests improving the conventional methods of the electoral voting system by replacing them with advanced Electronic voting machines, where the eligible voters would be able to register their votes electronically. The main agenda of the whole process is to ensure impartiality in the voting system, to maintain Justice, and legalize Democracy.
At the beginning of this year, the government introduced a sample for EVM that is to be implemented till 2023 polling. In a seminar held by PILDAT Atif Majeed, the digital product developmental specialist catered to a few queries regarding the whole idea. But this plan is limited by many restrictions, the key factor is the hefty price tag of such advanced machines, the operational and maintenance cost.
One cannot deny the fact that in a third world country like Pakistan it will be difficult to employ skillful technicians and also to train 300,000 – 500,000 staff members. Hiring people and paying wages up to 2000 per head will further add to the cost of the whole modules that comprise 100,000 Voter Identification Units:200,000 Control Units,400,000 Ballot Units,100,000 Printers, and 100,000 RTS Modules. These models are to be situated in all five provinces.
The next factor that adds up to the lists of costs is the storage and well-preservation of the whole system that is to be kept dust and rust-free in warehouses till the upcoming elections in five years. Logistics (transportation) and operational batteries are other drawbacks that need substantial investment too. The total cost sums up to RS.70bn.
According to the 2018 survey of parliamentary research out of 195 countries, there are 167 self-proclaimed democratic countries out of which only 8 use EVMs.
Please contact the Legal Research Institute of Pakistan for further assistance.