Election Commission announces EVM challenge

New Delhi: After questions raised by several political parties on tamperability of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), Election Commission (EC) will throw open its doors for political parties to prove their claims.

The Election Commission announced today that the challenge will be held on June 3. Parties can nominate up to three persons to participate in EVM challenge.

“Any party can only choose four EVMs used in any four constituencies to demonstrate tamperability. The claimant will have to prove that the results were altered on EVMs with administrative and technical safeguards in place,” Chief Election Commissioner Naseem Zaidi said. Parties have to confirm their participation by May 26.
The debate on EVMs was kickstarted by Bahujan Samajwadi Party supremo Mayawati. She blamed her party’s disastrous performance in Uttar Pradesh assembly polls on “fixed” EVMs. Aam Aadmi Party too blamed EVMs for their less than impressive results in Punjab assembly polls. The AAP however went a step ahead to conduct a demonstration of how an EVM can be hacked inside Delhi assembly.

The Election Commission emphasised that there is no going back to paper ballot. “People who questioned the reliability of EVMs haven’t yet submitted any proof or credible material to support their claim,” Zaidi said.

The Election Commission has set a few conditions which will have to be followed. No changes to internal circuit will be allowed that would make it a different machine, CEC says.

The political parties representatives will get chance to access EVMs used in recent polls.

“If an EVM turns non-operationable after tampering, then it will be considered failure. Similarly if the results match with control unit. And third sceanrio is if the challenger defies norms or withdraws,” Zaidi said.

Currently, 13.95 lakh ballot units, 9.3 lakh ballot control units & 16.5 lakh VVPAT under production.