Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Indians embrace e-voting

With the Indian Election Commission counting the votes Thursday, officials said the new electronic system would allow the results to be announced within hours — a process that took almost two days in past elections.

Still, critics said the machines were not foolproof.

There were nationwide reports of faulty starts, voter confusion and at least one known case of vote tampering. Some also question the reliability of machines developed by the government.

"A myth has been created that this machine is totally tested and beyond human manipulation," said Frederick Noronha, a founder of Bytesforall.org, a South Asian organization that campaigns for using technology to benefit the poor.

"I have been tracking the debate in technical circles. They are raising very valid concerns about this machine," he said.

More than 1 million electronic voting machines were used at polling stations across India in the five-phased elections from April 20 through Monday, the world's biggest democratic exercise.
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