The general elections of 2014 is the first time I voted in any election! Prior to this, I never had my name listed in any electoral list and I didn’t have the voter ID. Living in three different cities (for a short while) didn’t help either.
Even though I have accompanied elders when I was young, those days were the era of voting slips. This is the first time I saw an EVM – Electronic Voting Machine. I appreciate the advantages and speed of EVM. I guess it’s because of this that results were announced quickly, on the morning of the ‘counting’ day itself. Since the EVM counts votes in an instant, there is no need for manual counting with its delays and mistakes.
But one strange thing I noticed with the EVM is, it only has the name of the candidate and the party/candidate symbol. The name of the party to which each candidate belongs to, is not mentioned. I think they should include the party name (in English and local language) or ‘Independent’ tag in order to prevent confusion in the future. Many people vote based on the party and hence including this should be useful.
But the EC did put up a large poster outside the venue indicating the contestant names, party names, and symbols. So, there was no confusion as such, but including the party name against each candidate might make it simple and clear for people who have a short time to go through so many entries just before voting.
Also, I don’t understand on what basis they decide to display the candidates in a certain order. I feel, contestants displayed on the top might have a slight advantage over the contestants displayed on the bottom. I think there is a procedure to determine the order because I saw all the main parties listed right on the top, and independents on the bottom but I am not sure what procedure they follow. Does anyone know?
If you want to know more about EVMs, read this informative FAQ page by Election Commission of India.
Also, I think election commission should maintain a database for each contestant based on certain minimum common set of credentials/criterion. This could mention their education, experience, expertise, awards won, criminal convictions (if any), etc. This information should be double checked by the Election Commission and published online and as a notice in public places/election booths, etc. This is required because there is no common set of criterion to evaluate politicians, today. But we need it.