EC to decide on ‘open challenge’ to hack EVMs at all-party meet on May 12 | india-news | Hindustan Times
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EC to decide on ‘open challenge’ to hack EVMs at all-party meet on May 12

The Opposition parties have rallied together to demand an audit of the EVMs, alleging the devices can be easily manipulated.

india Updated: May 05, 2017 01:11 IST
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Electronic voting machines have been used to conduct elections from 1999 elections.
Electronic voting machines have been used to conduct elections from 1999 elections.(HT File Photo)

The Election Commission (EC) will hold an “open challenge” to hack its electronic voting machines (EVMs) after consultations at an all-party meeting of recognised national and regional parties on May 12, sources said on Thursday.

The Opposition parties have rallied together to demand an audit of the EVMs, alleging the devices can be easily manipulated.

Several opposition parties have raised concerns over the efficiency of the EVMs following the assembly elections in 5 states that concluded in March and demanded the commission revert to paper ballots.

Representatives of all recognised national and regional parties will be allowed to take part in the open challenge.

Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was the first one to complain against the EVMs and alleged that large-scale tampering of EVMs aided the Bharatiya Janata Party in its sweeping victory in Uttar Pradesh in March. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Samajwadi Party, as well as the Congress, had echoed those allegations.

The row over EVMs was back in the headlines after allegations in Madhya Pradesh, ahead of a bypoll in April, that a device registered votes only for the saffron party during a media demonstration.

The allegations have been vehemently denied by the poll panel.

During it hacking challenge, the commission will explain how the voting machines are tamper-proof and secured under administrative and technical safeguards just as it has in the past.

The commission had announced a similar challenge in 2009 and claimed no one could hack its EVMs.

The poll panel has also written to presidents of seven national and 48 regional parties to give their response to its suggestion on making bribery in elections a cognisable offence, disqualification on framing of charges for the offences of bribery in elections and suggestions in VVPAT recount Rules.

These responses have to come in by May 7.