While raising doubts over the efficiency of electronic voting machines (EVMs), the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has apprised the federal government of its concerns regarding the e-voting system.
During a recent meeting, ECP members revealed that the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) has neither presented a demonstration of the indigenously developed EVM to the ECP nor submitted any details about it before the commission.
According to sources, ECP members demanded MoST to brief the commission about the alternative arrangements for voting in case EVMs and the e-voting system collapsed like the RTS in the 2018 general elections.
They also questioned MoST to clarify that who will be responsible for manufacturing EVMs on a mass scale and how safe they would be against hacking attempts.
ECP members argued manufacturing and maintenance costs of EVMs will be a huge burden on the national exchequer, adding that at least $6.5 billion will be needed to replace manual voting with digital voting in the general elections.
They said that several countries have scrapped the e-voting system due to a number of challenges and reverted to manual voting. ECP also put the e-voting system to test in a pilot project during a by-poll in Lahore but the experiment failed miserably.
ECP members proposed the federal government test the EVM developed by MoST during the forthcoming polls in Azad Kashmir that will be held in July this year.
Note that many countries have either introduced or working to introduce an e-voting system to put an end to rigging accusations after the polls once and for all.
On the other hand, ECP has been delaying the implementation of the e-voting system for the past 5 or 6 years by raising questions over the efficiency of the EVMs and e-voting system, allowing the political parties to level accusations of rigging after every poll.