Is India's ballot really secret? Politicians' remarks renew electronic voting fears in India

Critics say data from machines could be revealing details about voter patterns

An official inspecting an electronic voting machine before it was moved to a polling station in Agartala, the capital of the north-eastern state of Tripura, last Saturday. Such machines have been in use in India since 2004. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESS
An official inspecting an electronic voting machine before it was moved to a polling station in Agartala, the capital of the north-eastern state of Tripura, last Saturday. Such machines have been in use in India since 1998. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

While electronic voting machines (EVM) have been in use in India since 1998, recent remarks by politicians contesting the ongoing polls have revived a debate over whether data from the machines are inadvertently revealing details about voter patterns.

Last month, Ms Maneka Gandhi, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and federal minister, told a group of Muslims in Uttar Pradesh's Sultanpur constituency that if they do not vote for her, they should not expect her to help them if she wins.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2019, with the headline 'Politicians' remarks renew electronic voting fears in India'. Subscribe