Election Commission to hold a live demo to show the working of voting machines and prove that they cannot be tampered with
NEW DELHI,May20: The Election Commission will hold a live demo this afternoon in the capital to show the working of voting machines to prove that they cannot be tampered with. Last Friday, the top election body had held an all-party meet to discuss the upcoming ‘EVM hackathon’ after allegations that the voting machines were hacked in the recently-held assembly elections and the Delhi civic elections. Today, before a press conference, the Election Commission will display the working of both an electronic voting machine or EVM and Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail or VVPAT.
Here are the top 10 facts in this story:
- The Election Commission is likely to announce the date for the ‘EVM hackathon’ – the poll body’s “challenge” to political parties to tamper voting machines – likely to be held in the last week of this month.
- Last Friday, the Election Commission had met representatives of 55 political parties – seven national and 48 state-level – to discuss the reliability of voting machines and to seek suggestion from parties on how to conduct the ‘hackathon’. After the meeting, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, “Sad that EC has backed out of hackathon.”
- The Aam Aadmi Party or AAP is leading the high-pitched allegation by the opposition parties that the electronic voting machines or EVMs being used currently were tampered with in the Uttar Pradesh assembly election to ensure that the BJP won with a high margin in the state. Mr Kejriwal also attributed his party’s defeat in the Punjab assembly polls and the Delhi municipal polls to the alleged tampering of voting machines.
- Earlier this month, AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj gave a live demo in the Delhi Assembly to show that voting machines can be easily tampered with. The party said the machine used for the demo was created by IIT grads and tested by “EVM experts.”
- The Election Commission said the machine used by AAP for the demo was “bootlegged.”
- Mr Bharadwaj, 36, a former engineer told NDTV, “”We are ethical hackers, we are trying to help them and show that these machines can be hacked and it’s not rocket science.”
- Bahujan Samajwadi Party chief Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party found a common ground in their allegations that the EVMs were manipulated in the BJP’s favour in the UP elections. Ms Mayawati had said she was ready to work with other parties to “save democracy.” Akhilesh Yadav welcomed her offer saying,”There should be a grand alliance. We are in favour of it.”
- Opposition parties have been demanding that the Election Commission return to the paper ballot system for a more transparent voting mechanism.
- The Centre had announced that the 2019 general election will be held entirely using the new, advanced VVPATs that print a paper receipt for each vote cast. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said 3174 crores were released for nearly 16 lakh VVPATs which will be ready by September 2018.
- In 2013, the Supreme Court said that the Election Commission must introduce the new machines called VVPATs (machines with Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail) in phases.