The Election Commission will hold the much-awaited hackathon from June 3 where technocrats and representatives of political parties will be invited to try and hack into its Electronic Voting Machines. The open challenge is the poll panel's attempt to counter the Aam Aadmi Party which claims that EVMs were rigged to favour the BJP in recent assembly elections in five states and MCD polls in Delhi.
As it happened:
CLICK TO READ | Prove EVMs Can be Tampered With on June 3, EC Invites Political Parties
The Election Commission will hold the much-anticipated hackathon from June 3, giving a chance to technocrats and political parties to try and prove that the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) can be tampered with.
The commission will further welcome suggestions and complains related to EVMS... The commissions will make sure that they don't give a fine line of doubt in the mind of the people... EC rubbishes the claims of EVMs getting tampered... All the machines are stand alone machines, They can't get connected to the internet, there is no chance of hacking...There is no frequency receiver... Therefore, no tampering can be done via wireless devices, says Zaidi
Professor Rajat Moona, director IIT Kharagpur and a member of EC tech committee on EVM speaks to CNN-News18's Sumit Pande : "Once you change the motherboard, it's no longer EVM. As far as software is concerned any access to make alterations in the software is burnt at the time of manufacturing. The chip is non-rewritable"
RECAP | Former Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla questioned the EVM stunt by AAP and asked where did the machines come from." Heard a demonstration was made in Delhi Assembly how EVMs can be hacked....My question is where did these machines come from?" said Chawla. Chawla said, surely, these machines cannot be the ones issued by the EC.
Click to read | Prototype EVM Used By AAP, Let Them Prove at Hackathon: EC Source
Even as Aam Aadmi Party carried out an exercise in the Delhi Assembly to demonstrate the vulnerability of EVMs, a source in Election Commission of India said it was all done on a 'prototype EVM'.
How are EVM’s safeguarded against fraud?
Every EVM has an identity number attached to it, which is recorded in the Election Commission’s database. This ID is cross-checked against the database when it is being transported to and from the election booth. This process is done before the counting of votes begins. The machines are guarded by central forces between the period of voting and counting.
How did Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) come into the picture?
The Supreme Court in October 8, 2013, on a PIL by Subramanian Swamy, directed the EC to introduce the VVPAT system in a phased manner so that full implementation is achieved by 2019. It was done to ensure free and fair polls as it would aid in resolving disputes if any. On a national level, the system was introduced in 8 of 543 parliamentary constituencies during the 2014 general elections. It was used in 516 polling stations across eight states. The system first experimented in 2013 Nagaland by-polls.
Here’s a timeline of elections when allegations against EVMs surfaced:
- 2009 General Elections: BJP, through Subramanian Swamy, had alleged that if the party doesn’t perform well then it would, primarily be due to the fact that the EVMs “could have been tampered with”.
- 2009 Odisha elections – Senior Congress leader JB Patnaik alleged that the BJD had won the election by bribing candidates and tampering EVMs.
- In 2014 General elections, Congress leader and Assam CM Tarun Gogoi said that BJP indulged in EVM fraud.
- In the latest, after 2017 UP assembly polls, Mayawati has claimed that it was only because of EVM machines being tampered with that BJP has emerged victorious.
What’s the machine made of?
It’s a single unit machine, which works on batteries without any network connectivity. They are made up of two machines, one is the control unit and the other is the balloting unit. A presiding officer is in charge of the control unit and once the vote is ready to be cast, the officer activates the balloting unit. The voter then presses a button to register their vote for a particular candidate. The machine can record 64 different candidates at one point of time. The maximum number of votes that can be recorded in one machine is 3,840.
What is an Electronic Voting Machine?
It is a simple electronic device used to record votes. EVMs have been part and parcel of elections in India since 1999 and was adopted across all polls from 2004. It seeks to reduce time in casting vote and declaring results. Of course, from an environmental point of view, it helps save paper.
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