Election Commission extends EVM hackathon challenge to all political parties

Posted May 17, 2017

The Election Commission of India ( ECI) on Friday said it would offer an "opportunity" to the political parties to prove that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) used in the recently held assembly polls were tampered with or can be tampered even with the safeguards laid down.

Nevertheless, the poll panel is expected to invite suggestions from the seven political parties - including the Congress, the AAP, the SP and the BSP - that are attending the meeting on what can be done to allay their fears that the BJP is rigging elections through hacked EVMs. They flagged the concern a day after an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA made a "live demonstration" in the Delhi Assembly on how the EVMs could be rigged.

Bhardwaj claimed that voting machines can be manipulated by simply feeding it with a "secret code".

The Commission is also likely to brief the parties about its planned EVM hacking challenge.

The AAP on Thursday protested outside the Election Commission here and pushed for forming a committee of leaders and officials of the poll panel before which it can prove tampering of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

Citing a news report by CNN-News18 channel, he said: "CNN-News18 in its report showed discrepancies in the donations that AAP received".

"We can find by reading the ROM of that EVM where the voter's vote went and if his or her statement is corroborated by the EVM then no rigging has taken place".

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"The Commission should allow technical inspection of its EVMs by the expert panels of various political parties to see if the EVMs can be hacked or not". The demonstration was carried out by AAP leader Saurabh Bhardwaj. It said the demonstration on a "look-alike" EVM can not be used to "vilify" those actually used for elections.

The proposal involves getting 16,15,000 VVPAT units for EVMs at a cost of around Rs 3,173.47 crore for use in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

"People of Delhi voted for a corruption-free government, but what did they get in return - betrayal, corruption, loot, lies, hawala and bribery", he said. His demand has been supported by all major Opposition parties.

The party also said that though the EC had accepted that all elections in the future would be conducted using VVPATs, it should conduct mandatory tally of VVPAT slips in at least 25% booths.

Claiming that it was possible to hack the machines, Sisodia said EVM-tampering tantamounts to a "conspiracy to murder democracy".

The Election Commission had trashed AAP's claim saying the "machine is a look-alike and not the ECI-EVM".