The Electronic Voting Machine (EVMs) first introduced in the limited polling stations at Parur Assembly constituency in Kerala in 1982 on experimental basis on the 50 polling stations, successfully completes thirty years as Himachal goes to the polls on Sunday.
'General Election Reference Hand book' published by the ministry of information and broadcasting said that extensive use of EVMs started in 1988 and were used at all polling stations in the country in the 14 the General Election to the Lok Sabha in 2004.
EC had a tough time introducing it throughout thecountry for first time when 13,68,430 EVMs were available.
It provided about 10.75 lakh EVMs and 8.50 lakh machines in the 6,87,402 polling booths replacing traditional system of ballot paper and ballot boxes by 39 crore voters of total 67 crore electorate the hand book said.
It reduced the quantity of paper used thus saving a large number of trees making the process eco-friendly. The cost of printing also reduced to almost nill as only one sheet of ballot paper required for each polling stations.
According to the study about 7700 metric tonnes and 8800 MT paper was used for printing the ballot paper in general for year 1999 and 1996 respectively.
The EVM can record maximum of 3840 votes which far exceed the number of voters (usually less than 1400) assigned to a polling station. It had limitation that number of contestants should not be more than 64.
According to Chief Electoral Officer Narinder Chauhan as many as 9191 EVMs are being used by about 44,08,359 electorate in 7253 polling booths today as in assembly poll 2007 and General elections of 2004 and 2009.
Himachal Pradesh Election Department OSD Neeraj Sharma told UNI that it would be a unique experience for the newly enrolled 1,09,115 youths who would press the EVMs for first time in this assembly elections.
Visually impaired can also use EVMs as many of the machines have ' Braille' signage on the ballot units indicating the serial number of the candidate.