The Electronic Voting Machine ‘hackathon’ will begin from June 3, the Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi announced on Saturday. Addressing a press conference, Zaidi said,“The EVM challenge will start from June 3”. He also said that people who had questioned the reliability of EVMs had not yet submitted any proof or credible material to support their claim. “Our machines are totally different than the ones used in countries like Ireland. Our machines are tamper proof,” he added. Zaidi announced that VVPATs would now be used in all future elections. Speaking about hackathon, Zaidi said that any non-ECI machines will immediately get detected due to mismatch of ballot unit and control unit.
“A mock poll is conducted on each EVM before it is finally released, each micro-chip has a unique identification number and a digital signature of the manufacturer. Therefore, any attempt to change a microchip is detectable,” Zaidi said. “Advanced encryption technology, one-time programmable chip, tamper detection and self-diagnostic features in the new generation EVMs will ensure that the machines are tamper-proof,” he added.
Here are 5 rules the Election Commission put down for the political parties participating in the open challenge.
1) Every political party that doubts the credibility of the Electronic Voting Machines and wanted to participate in the hackathon, had to apply on or before May 26, 2017. The parties would be allowed three representatives each, preferably Indian nationals, NDTV reported. These representatives would be allowed access to 4 voting machines from the 5 states where elections had been conducted this year.
2) The representatives will have to prove that tampering the EVMs was possible by using the keys in a particular sequence. This rule has been made since there were allegations about the chip used in EVMs being coded during manufacturing to get votes to a particular candidate’s account by pressing the keys in a particular sequence.
3) Another option for the representatives would be to prove that the EVMs could be hacked or tampered with using a wireless device or Bluetooth, NDTV reported. Nasim Zaidi however, said that this wasn’t possible since the EVMs could not be connected to any other device.
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4) However, the EC won’t allow any meddling or tampering of any electronic components of the device. The political parties would, however, be able to visually inspect the circuits inside the device.
5) Nasim Zaidi said that the machines have been designed in a manner that they would shut down if they were tampered with. He also mentioned about another rule that the rooms where EVMs were stored between the elections, could be accessed in the presence of all local political parties. The machines were designed to shut down if tampered with, he said, adding there was already a rule that strong rooms where EVMs are stored between two elections can be accessed in presence of all local political parties.
The allegations of EVM tampering had first emerged after the Aam Aadmi Party had fared badly in the Punjab state assembly elections. AAP supremo and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal had alleged that the EVMs had been tampered with to favour just one party. The AAP leaders had also demanded the use of ballot boxes in all elections to come.