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The EVM controversy

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There is worldwide acceptance of the need for a paper trail in conjunction with EVMs. Electronic voting was introduced in many countries. But serious doubts were soon raised about the security, accuracy, reliability and verifiability of electronic elections. In October 2006, the Netherlands banned the use of EVMs. In 2009, the Republic of Ireland declared a moratorium on their use. Italy has followed suit. In March 2009, the Supreme Court of Germany ruled that voting through EVMs was unconstitutional, holding that transparency is a constitutional right but efficiency is not a constitutionally protected value.

The official stand of the ECI is that EVMs are 100 per cent reliable and tamper-proof, that the functioning chips have their instructions indelibly burnt into them at the time of manufacture; that these chips are then “mother-sealed” into the EVM; and that this can never be altered. This claim is presented as an immaculate premise, a mantra requiring no proof thereof.

The field of hacking is continually developing, and ECIL's and BEL's advisers belong to an era of soldering two wires together (the “diode and triode era”). They are in no position to counter the averment of international scholars that no electronic machine has been devised that cannot be rigged or hacked.

The ECI must cut its losses and agree to a paper receipt. If it cannot arrange that, we should return to ballot papers. Ballot papers are riggable at a ‘retail' level; but with EVMs, an entire election can be stolen with a chip.

For the full article in the Hindu by former Union Minister for Law and Justice Mr Subramanian Swamy, click here

There definitely appears to be a lot of substance to Mr Swamy's arguments. And, the treatment meted out to Dr Prasad appears high-handed, indicating a siege mentality that the CEC is possibly suffering from.

Muralidhar Rao

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