Karnataka wants EVM hackthon to check voting machines before Assembly elections


The Congress government in Karnataka on Tuesday wrote to the Election Commission asking for 250 Electronic Voting Machines to conduct a hackathon to check them for errors and “restore the people’s faith in the democratic process”, The Times of India reported.

Karnataka’s Minister for Information Technology, Biotechnology and Tourism Priyank Kharge said the machines can be selected at random. “The large-scale use of EVMs over the years has led many to doubt the technology and possibilities of it being hacked or compromised technically to benefit candidates of choice,” Kharge said in the letter, according to Mint.

Kharge proposed that Karnataka and the Election Commission host an EVM challenge. He invited “scientists, R&D institutes, startups and tinkerers and not just political parties” to participate. “The reason we should throw this challenge open beyond political parties is that a lot of individuals or corporates would not like to associate themselves with any political party,” he said.

His letter comes months before the Karnataka Assembly elections, amid allegations that the voting machines were rigged, especially after the Bharatiya Janata Party’s victories in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

“If there are technical flaws, we can solve it together and if there are no errors, we restore the people’s faith in our democratic process,” Kharge said in his letter.

In December, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had said EVMs could be hacked and asked for the 2018 elections to be held with ballot papers, The Times of India reported. The Election Commission has maintained that the machines are tamper-proof.

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