EC's EVM hack challenge

The Election Commission has challenged national and state parties to demonstrate that electronic voting machines used in recent polls to five state assemblies were tampered with, even with technical and administrative safeguards mandated by the poll watchdog.

Chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi announced that its EVM challenge' would be conducted at EC headquarters June 3 onwards, with each party free to depute up to three nominees, including technical experts, to show that EVMs used in the recent state polls were tampered with to favour a particular candidate or party by altering the results after the polls; or that such EVMs were tampered before or during the poll. The nominees must be Indians, he insisted, ruling out scrutiny by involving international technical experts.

The EC, which firmly maintains its EVMs are fully tamper-proof, is approaching the challenge with confidence as parties including BSP and AAP that alleged tampering of EVMs in UP and Punjab, have failed to substantiate the charge.

The challenge will be open only to parties that participated in the recent state polls and will be overseen by EC's technical experts panel, comprising IIT experts too.

Rejecting the demand that parties be allowed to change the internal circuit of an EVM to prove their charge, the CEC insisted any such alteration would make it a different machine and hence could not be guaranteed by EC to give correct results.

The EC expects the challenge to last 4-5 days. Asked whether he would take moral responsibility in case a machine is successfully tampered, Zaidi said it would be seen at that moment. He also said the event should not be seen as a “prestige issue“.

Parties must mandatorily confirm their interest in the challenge by sending an e-mail by 5 pm on May 26, furnishing details of nominees. Each party confirming participation will be allowed to choose any four EVMs used in said polls.

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