EVMs in India Not Tamperproof, SC Wants Paper Trails

With the latest elections running largely for a party, many questions have risen. Particularly, the Electronic Voting Machine or EVMs are under the radar. The losing parties are questioning that the EVMs are rigged. Until now such claims were not taken seriously. But now new evidence has come forth which raises suspicion.

Recently the University of Michigan posted a video on the internet. It showed some of the India EVMs were connected to a home-made electronic device. This report was first published in the BBC. They claimed that their researchers could change the votes by sending text messages.

EVMs are NOT Tamperproof

This study called for worldwide attention. The Indian election officials claimed that it was impossible to corrupt their devices. Professor J Alex Halderman of the Michigan University told BBC –

[quotes quotes_style=”bquotes” quotes_pos=”center”]We made an imitation display board that looks almost exactly like the real display in the machines. But underneath some of the components of the board, we hide a microprocessor and a Bluetooth radio. Our lookalike display board intercepts the vote totals that the machine is trying to display and replaces them with dishonest totals – basically whatever the bad guy wants to show up at the end of the election.[/quotes]

Not only that they also said that they could hide a small microprocessor in the voting machines. This microprocessor can change the votes within the time between voting and counting.

Using Paper Wax and Seals

Indian Election Commissioner, Alok Shukla, has said that they use Paper Wax and Seals. He also said that it is tamper proof to the greatest extent. He went on to say, [quotes quotes_style=”bquotes” quotes_pos=”center”]Before the elections take place, the machine is set in the presence of the candidates and their representatives. These people are allowed to put their seal on the machine, and nobody can open the machine without breaking the seals.[/quotes]

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In response to this, the researchers said that the paper waxes and seals are the easiest to fake. But, it is not easy to implant the microchip to over 1,368,430 (the number of machines used in 2009).

Supreme Court issued Orders

Recently the Supreme Court took matters to hand when it asked the Election Commission to give notice. About when it intends to introduce EVMs with paper trails in India. Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail is a foolproof method to ensure that the voter has voted the right candidate. It is a way to ensure transparency.

The commission was supposed to submit their report within eight weeks. At present, the scheme is ongoing in several constituencies on a trial basis. Based on their observations in these trials, the commission would go forward.

Right now the EC is claiming that it would take a lot of funds for them to go forward with it. Therefore the matter is still pending in court right now. The process is taking too long despite the occasional scrutiny and the pressure from all political parties.

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