The Election Commission has declared that the EVM hacking challenge will begin June 3 onwards, in an effort to restore voter confidence in the polling machines after allegations of voter fraud via EVM tampering in the recently concluded UP legislative elections and the Delhi MCD elections. The allegations have been levelled most vociferously by the Aam Aadmi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party.
— MIB India (@MIB_India) May 20, 2017
The ruling BJP party and the election commission have both denied these allegations.
The poll panel while announcing the EVM challenge on Saturday again said the EVMs used by it were tamper-proof and comparing them with the ones discarded by several Western countries was unfair as the systems and technology were different.
“EVMs used in The Netherlands, Ireland and Germany were privately manufactured and had no independent certification system unlike a very robust verification and certification system… in the case of ECI (election commission of India) EVMs,” chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi said.
The challenge is open only to recognised national and regional parties who took part in the recently conducted legislative elections in five states. The CEC also said that hoti three representatives can be nominated by each party to take part in the challenge, provided they are all of the Indian nationality.
The Chief Commissioner Zaidi refused to allow participation of foreign experts saying that there is no scope for them as these were India-specific elections done through made-in-India EVMs.
All political parties willing to join the challenge will have to confirm their participation to the Commission by 5 pm on May 26. The duration of the challenge will likely be spread over 4 to 5 days but will be finalised depending on how the parties respond to the EC’s invitation.
The challenge will be based on two case scenarios to prove that EVMs can be tampered with to alter results before and during polling and second that tampering can take place while the machine is kept in the EC’s custody.
The CEC also said that a friendly and sporty atmosphere would be maintained with the objective of discovering any flaws or vulnerabilities of the EC-EVMs which can be chosen from any constituency in the recently held assembly polls and will be accompanied by the representative of the party to ensure no tampering takes place.
In both the cases, the claimants will have to alter the results in the control unit used during the polls in exactly the same scenario as the EVMs remain within the administrative and technical safeguards in the storage rooms.
They can attempt altering the results by pressing the combination of keys on Control Unit (CU), Ballot Unit (BU) or both or by using external devices such as wireless, Bluetooth and mobile phones etc.
— Vipin Rathaur (@VipinRathaur) May 20, 2017