Are Electronic Voting Machines Vulnerable in India?

Chief Election Commissioner Dr. Nasim Zaidi
Chief Election Commissioner Dr. Nasim Zaidi

As most political parties in India have expressed their concerns over the vulnerability of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), the Election Commission of India (ECI) has scheduled an all-party meeting on Friday – May 12 – to discuss the issue.

While the ECI believes that EVMs are non-tamperable, it has learnt about a demonstration of tampering of ‘look-alike’ EVM. ECI suggests that it is possible for anyone to make any electronic gadget which looks like ECI EVM and demonstrate tampering.

But, according to ECI, any ‘look-alike” machine is just a different gadget, which is manifestly designed and made to function in a ‘tampered’ manner and has no relevance, incidence or bearing on the Commission’s EVMs.

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ECI says it is common sense that gadgets other than ECI EVMs can be programmed to perform in a pre-determined way, but it simply cannot be implied that ECI EVMs will behave in the same manner.

It is because the ECI EVMs are technically secured and function under an elaborate administrative and security protocol, ECI stated. It adds that such demonstration on extraneous and duplicate gadgets which are not owned by the ECI cannot be exploited to influence citizens and electorate to assail or vilify the EVMs used by the Commission in its electoral process.

A status paper on ECI EVMs is available on ECI’s website which gives details of safety and security measures taken by ECI to make ECI EVMs non-tamperable.

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Rakesh Raman