ISLAMABAD - In the wake of ongoing thumb print verification controversy, National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) has taken proactive initiative by developing electronic voting machine (EVM) solution proposed to be placed on all polling stations across the country.

The Nadra claims that the system aims at ensuring transparency and rigging-free elections because each voter will be able to cast only one vote. An official press release issued by the authority says that electronic thumb verification of each voter shall be done at the respective polling station before casting the vote without the use of magnetized ink. The new EVM solution will incur only 40 per cent of total cost of magnetized ink that amounts to Rs 2.5 billion.

The Nadra chairman said that Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the political parties would also be taken into confidence relating to the use of EVM enabling voters exercising their right of franchise in an ambience of confidentiality and security. “It is up to political parties and ECP to discuss this solution threadbare and analyse its practicability. I have done my job,” said Tariq Malik. While briefing the media, Malik stated that EVM was a combination of three components involved in vote casting procedures.

A special attention has been paid to ensure convenience for voters keeping in view the sensitivity of security and credibility of proposed system. He said EVM would be installed at each polling station, which also have electronic voter list of respective registered voter only.

The first component of EVM is “Voter Identification Unit” which entails that voter identification will be carried out through CNIC provided voter is registered on the given polling station. On successful identification, voter authentication process will be initiated through which fingerprints of voters will be verified against biometric in Nadra database. On successful authentication, voter will be allowed to cast his/her vote through Vote Casting Unit.

The second component of EVM is “Vote Casting Unit” which says that on successful authentication, voter will be mapped to respective constituency and list of candidates will be displayed. Voter will choose candidate of his/her choice and will exercise right of franchise with utmost confidentiality and security. Selection of candidate by voter will be recorded in local database as well as on printed ballot. During this process, voter will be provided with assistance through multimedia. And the third component of EVM is “Result Management Unit” whereby once polling is done, vote casting unit will print list of candidates along with number of bagged votes.

This system-generated list will be reconciled by presiding officer through manual counting of printed ballots in presence of polling agents nominated by participating candidates. Chairman Nadra, Tariq Malik is also scheduled to give detailed demonstration and briefing on EVM to Chief Election Commissioner Justice Nasirul Mulk and members of ECP next week. “Electoral transparency is possible by making use of technology and I am proud that Nadra has delivered on its promise to the nation,” said Malik.

In compliance with the orders of Supreme Court of Pakistan, Nadra also devised electronic voting software to help 4.5 million overseas Pakistanis to cast their votes in the general elections 2013.