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Video surveillance, police escort for EVMs being brought for hackathon

EC asks state polling officers to prepare electronic voting machines for secure transport to Delhi where the EVMs will be put to a tamper test on June 3

india Updated: May 25, 2017 21:05 IST
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
The electronic voting machines will be transported in special sealed trunks.
The electronic voting machines will be transported in special sealed trunks. (AFP FILE)

Voting machines from five states that last went to elections will be brought to Delhi under constant video surveillance before they are put to a tamper test in the capital on June 3.

The election commission (EC) sent directives to chief electoral officers (CEO) in Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Punjab to make arrangements for the secure transport of the machines that several prominent political leaders said could have been rigged.

The allegation, made by parties such as the Aam Aadmi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party, centres around the Bharatiya Janata Party’s landslide victory in Uttar Pradesh.

To counter these accusations, the EC announced a special session for political parties to try to tamper with the machines.

The security measures, announced by the EC on Monday, include special sealed boxes in which the electronic voting machines (EVMs) will be transported.

The boxes will carry the details of the machines, the poll station it was used at and the unique id of the VVPAT or paper trail machines. Each consignment will be accompanied by an officer at least of the post of a Tehsildar and a policeman.

The machines are expected to reach the EC office in Delhi by June 1. They are currently housed in strongrooms in local EC offices.

Political party representatives will be allowed to accompany the trunks carrying EVMs and the VVPATS, but will have to bear the expenses of the travel. They will have the option of travelling by air or road, depending on the distance.

Political parties that want to participate in the challenge have been given the option of asking for a maximum of four EVMs from any four polling stations in the state to demonstrate that they can be tampered with.

Only those EVMs that have been sealed under court orders will not be used for the challenge, chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi said on Saturday.

The EC has also stressed that EVMs cannot be taken out of the premises during the challenge nor can their internal circuits be changed. Doing so would make them a copy of the ECI EVMs.