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Election Commission rules out manipulation of EVMs

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 11, 2018

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The Election Commission has expressed the view that the use of 100 per cent Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPAT) along with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) at all polling stations should put to end questions on whether the EVMs can be tampered with.

Nasim Zaidi, Chief Election Commissioner, on Saturday said that the Commission is of the firm view, opinion and commitment that our electronic voting machines are non-tamperable. ``I think with the introduction of 100 per cent VVPATs to be used with EVMs at all polling stations in all future elections will conclusively set to rest all the speculations and doubts. This is because the voter will be able to see who his or her vote has gone to. Besides there will be paper slips. We believe that with the introduction of VVPATs this question should be subject to a final resting place,” he said.

The Commission also announced that it should be in a position to procure all the VVPATs required by September next year. The Union Cabinet recently released over ₹ 3,100 crore to acquire over 1.16 million VVPATs to cover all polling stations where elections are held.

Meanwhile, the Commission is to hold an open challenge from June 3 onwards during which political parties will be challenged to hack the EVMs. This comes in the back drop of the Commission promising political parties during a meeting here on May 12 that it will give an open challenge to political parties to demonstrate that the EVMs used in five state government elections were tampered.

The challenge is open to national and state level political parties who participated in Assembly elections in Goa, Punjab, Manipur, Uttrakhand and Uttar Pradesh.

Each party will be allowed to send a maximum of three people for the challenge and depending on how many parties decide to participate in the challenge it will run for 4-5 days, Commission officials said.

The Commission also took the opportunity to give a point-by-point rebuttal to issues raised by various political parties against the use of EVMs. Like the accusation of some parties that Germany, Netherlands and some other countries had now stopped using EVMs. The Commission pointed out that unlike in India, in Netherlands the Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations lacked adequate technical knowledge vis-à-vis the Dutch company which manufactured the machine, leading officials to depend on external actors to conduct the elections.

The Commission also said the EVMs used by it cannot be tampered with nor their components be changed without anyone noticing as has been alleged by some political parties. Further, it said its EVMs cannot be hacked as these are standalone machines and not connected to the internet or any other network at any point of time during polling.

Published on May 20, 2017

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