Delhi Election Results 2020: AAP, BJP, Congress’ fate sealed; but are ‘strong rooms’ really impenetrable?

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Updated: Feb 09, 2020 6:14 AM

Political parties have in the past claimed that EVMs' could be hacked via WiFi and strong rooms were being tampered, but no such claim was ever verified.

Delhi Election Results 2020, AAP, BJP, Congress, EVM, EVM tampeing, Election Commission, EVM Tracking Software, latest updates on Delhi Election Results 2020Before polls, EVMs are “randomized” (mixed randomly) twice using a technology called EVM Tracking Software (ETS). (IE photo)

Delhi Elections 2020: After the last vote has been cast in Delhi polls, and the fate of the contestants of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Indian National Congress (INC) is sealed, all eyes will be on the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and the numbers they hold within. Political parties have in the past claimed that EVMs’ could be hacked via WiFi and strong rooms were being tampered, but no such claim was ever verified. After the votes are recorded, the EVMs are sealed in presence of observers, and transported under heavy security to earmarked government buildings called “strong rooms” where they’re sealed and stored behind multiple layers of armed personnel.

In a phased manner between 1998 and 2001, the electronic voting method was introduced. And since 2004, EVMs have been used in all general and state assembly elections in the country. To a large extent, EVMs have helped the Election Commission counter the phenomenon of “booth capturing” in Indian elections. Yet, questions have often been raised regarding the possibilities of EVMs being tampered, but these have never been proven. The Election Commission allows political candidates and parties to keep a watch on strong rooms — as these are the places where EVMs are stored from the date of polling till the date of counting and allowing a constant vigil can quell rumours of tampering of the voting machines. Other than that there are multiple steps that the Election Commission take to ensure fair and unbiased.

As per the Election Commission of India Website, a lot goes into ensuring that EVMs cannot be rigged. Before polls, EVMs are “randomized” (mixed randomly) twice using a technology called EVM Tracking Software (ETS).

As far as storing of EVMs is concerned, EC on its website says:

  • There is a 24-hour-security at the strong rooms where EVMS are stored.
  • After voting, EVMs are taken to strong room under heavy police cover; and representatives of candidates are allowed to follow the police cavalcade to the strong room.
  • Every nook and corner of the EVM strong-room is kept under CCTV vigilance and guarded by Central Armed Police Forces personnel.
  • A display of this CCTV feed is provided to representatives of the political parties at a place earmarked for them to camp.
  • Regular inspection is done at the strong rooms to ensure security protocol is followed as per ECI guidelines.
  • On the day of the counting of votes, the EVM boxes are taken from strong room to counting centres under watchful eyes of vigilant EC overseers and political parties’ representatives and the counting of votes is done sequentially.

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