Electronic voting was introduced to India in a by-election to North Paravur assembly constituency in Kerala in 1982. Subsequently, the use of electronic voting machines (EVM) has become almost universal in all elections in India. EVMs face unique technical challenges. An election requires privacy at the same time as transparency. The machines should provide advanced features for security, but at the same time their user interface should be simple enough to be used intuitively by any citizen of India, whatever be their background. The Indian EVM has been designed to meet these challenges and it is widely agreed that the use of EVMs has led to elimination of many strong arm tactics like 'booth capturing' in the election process. The EVM is not without its detractors, though. Since the accounting of votes is done electronically, serious doubts have been raised about the possibility of 'hacking' these machines to manipulate the number of votes. However, various administrative and electronic safeguards included in the electoral process make it impossible to manipulate votes. I shall talk about the technical and non-technical challenges faced by the EVM and what is being done to improve these machines further.
Prof. Dinesh Sharma Joined the EE department of IIT Bombay in 1991, where he is currently a Professor. His interests include mixed signal design, interconnect technology and the impact of technology on design styles. He is a senior member of IEEE, a fellow of IETE and has served on the editorial board of "Pramana". He is a recipient of the Bapu Sitaram award of IETE for excellence in Research and development in electronics for the year 2001, of Excellence in Teaching award from IIT Bombay in 2014 and the Lifetime Achievement Award from IIT Bombay in 2015. He serves on the Technical Experts Committee of the election commission of India, which received a special felicitation from the President of India on January 25, 2017.