Election Commission’s EVM ‘hackathon’ on, Uttarakhand HC has no objection | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Election Commission’s EVM ‘hackathon’ on, Uttarakhand HC has no objection

The Election Commission has invited seven national and 49 state parties recognised by it for the ‘hackathon’. But the NCP and the CPI-M were the only parties that showed interest.

india Updated: Jun 02, 2017 22:51 IST
Chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi demonstrates the functioning of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and voter verifiable paper audit trail system (VVPATs), at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi.
Chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi demonstrates the functioning of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and voter verifiable paper audit trail system (VVPATs), at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi. (PTI File)

The Election Commission has said its EVM challenge will be held on Saturday, remarks that came shortly after the Uttarakhand high court rejected a plea questioning the constitutionality of the move.

“The EVM challenge is on as scheduled. The NCP and the CPI-M have nominated three persons each for the challenge,” a commission spokesperson said.

He said the two parties will get separate halls to try and tamper with the machines. The challenge will take place between 10am and 2pm. The commission has pulled out from its strong rooms in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Uttarakhand 14 electronic voting machines used in the recent assembly elections.

The challenge was organised after several major opposition parties claimed that the faith of people in the electronic voting machines had eroded.

Mayawati’s BSP and Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP had alleged that the machines used in the recent assembly elections were tampered with to favour the Centre’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. Later, several other parties joined the chorus and wanted the EC to revert to paper ballots.

The poll panel had invited the seven national and 49 state parties recognised by it for the challenge, but the NCP and the CPI-M were the only parties which had applied to participate in the challenge. It had left out smaller parties and Independents who had contested the recent polls. Even foreign experts were barred.

Since the two parties had not given their preference for the EVMs they would like to tamper with during the challenge, the Commission has brought to Delhi the machines from Ghaziabad and Gautam Buddha Nagar in UP, Patiala and Bhatinda from Punjab and Dehradun from Uttarakhand.

While each participating party can use a maximum of four EVMs for the challenge, sources in the commission said extra machines were also kept as back up keeping in mind any eventuality.

The challengers will get four hours each to tamper with the machines. Members of a technical committee which helps the EC evaluate the EVMs would judge the proceedings.

Announcing the contours of the ‘EVM challenge’, the EC had said it has been divided into two parts. First, the parties will have to prove that the EVMs used in the assembly elections in the five states were tampered with to favour a particular candidate or political party by altering the results stored in them.

The claimants will have to alter the results in the control units used during these polls in exactly the same conditions in which EVMs remain under the technical and administrative safeguards of the EC after elections.

They can use a combination of keys on EVMs or over the air communication devices such as cellphone and bluetooth to tamper with the machine to change the results, he said.

Under part two of the challenge, the participants will have to prove that the EVMs used in the assembly polls were manipulated before or on the poll day.

The participant would be considered to have “failed” the challenge if the EVM stops functioning due its inbuilt anti- tampering mechanism.

Also, the challenger would be considered to have failed if it showed the result of the booth where it was used during the assembly polls even after manipulation.