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EC dismisses claims that EVMs could be tampered with

Dismissing claims that electronic voting machines could be tampered with, CEC Navin Chawala on Saturday said that private manufacturers, which failed to sell their machines for use in polls, were behind the propaganda.



Itanagar: Dismissing claims that
electronic voting machines could be tampered with, Chief
Election Commissioner Navin Chawala on Saturday said that private
manufacturers, which failed to sell their machines for use in
polls, were behind the propaganda that EVMs were vulnerable.

"I would not like to name the private manufacturers.
But one of them is behind the latest move," Chawla said in
reply to a question about a recent research by a professor of
University of Michigan and his students on an EVM look-alike
which could be wirelessly hacked for manipulating results.
Chawala said the machines used in the study were not
originals.

"Look-alike machines have chips different from ours
which are developed by two well known navaratna public sector
companies. We have no doubt that our EVMs are cent per cent
tamper-proof and foolproof," he said.

He said the Election Commission had 1.3 million EVMs
manufactured by two Navaratna companies of the public sectors.

"I have gone through all aspects and vouch that each
one of them are cent per cent tamper-proof and are not
vulnerable at all," he said.

When the Election Commission invited experts to hack
EVMs used in elections in the presence of the commission
members, they failed to accept the challenge, the CEC said.

Asked why such machines were withdrawn in some
countries, Chawala said they used privately manufactured
machines off the shelves which could be hacked easily.
"Unlike them we keep the public sector manufactured
EVMs under double lock and completely secure. There is
accountability at every level," Chawla said.

He said that several companies had approached the
Election Commission asking it to lend the EVMs for research,
but this was not agreed to. "How can we lend our machines to
private parties?"

Chawala said that in 2001, different High Courts had
rejected petitions against EVMs used by the Election
Commission.

One of the High Courts had even ordered the petitioner
to pay Rs 5000 as cost while another rejected a petition when
it learnt that what was being referred to was a look-alike
model and not EVMs manufactured by BHEL or ECIL for use in
polling booths, Chawala said.

The EVMs were dispatched to different places at random
so the question of manipulating them in favour of a particular
party or candidate did not arise, Chalwa said.

He said there was also a foolproof system backed by
government officials in place.

Returning officers come to know who would accompany
EVMs and where they were destined for just prior to the
polling day. "Is it possible to manipulate machines in these
circumstances?" he asked.

He said that in the US there were different systems,
including touch-screen machines, but there was no uniformity.

"It is a great achievement on our part to conduct
elections maintaining uniformity with a vast electorate of 716
million voters, which is more than the entire population of
Europe."

He also said that over 80 per cent of the electorate
have been provided with Electoral Photo Identity Cards(EPIC)
and the commission expected cent per cent coverage in the next
one year.

PTI

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