TOP BUREAUCRATS BUST OPPOSITION’S FLIMSY EVM THEORY

National News

Blog by Apoorva Shankar

After the exit polls predicted a win for the NDA, the opposition parties raised concerns over EVM tampering across the country and reached the Election Commission’s doorstep demanding the verification of atleast 50% VVPAT slips.

While Election Commission rejected the opposition’s demand, this raises questions over the democratic process in the country. Earlier, the Supreme Court had also rejected Opposition’s plea demanding at least 50 per cent VVPAT verification saying it is ‘not inclined to interfere’. But the question still remains, can the EVM machines be tampered with after all?
EC’s TRYST WITH EVMs
The EC has been making use of EVM since the year 2000 and has used the EVMs in 113 assembly elections and 3 general elections in the country. In 2013, it also brought in the VVPAT- Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail to increase the transparency in the voting process.
But it also important for one to know the voting process. How are the votes counted? Is there space for tampering like the opposition parties allege?
* The EVMs which will be inspected in the presence of a returning officer before the counting starts.

*With the counting agents overseeing the counting of votes, the returning officer will report to the EC of there is a mistake in the process.

*Alongside the EVMs, the VVPATs are also counted. The verification of VVPAT paper slips is conducted inside a secured VVPAT Counting Booth.

*Access to this counting booth is restricted to most people barring authorised personnel.

Following the Supreme Court order, VVPAT paper slips from five randomly selected polling stations are to be verified as opposed to the usual one. This would imply that 25-50 machines are to be verified per parliamentary constituency. This process would require supervision from either the Returning Officer or the Assistant Returning Officer.

If there are discrepancies reported, the paper slips of the particular polling station are recounted. If the discrepancy persists, the count established by the paper slips prevails over the EVM vote count.
With the opposition parties raising questions over the EVM tampering, many Civil servants have come out and said that it is not possible for the EVM machines to be tampered with.
Bhavesh Mishra, an IAS official said ” The whole process of voting through EVM has so many checks and balances that the chances of manipulating machine and influencing outcome is ZERO. If a machine is tampered at any stage of the election it would be known at the time of polling or counting very easily.. ‘
In a tweet, IPS official D Roopa also said that it was not possible to hack EVM machines and that all civil servants would not jeopardise their jobs by allowing hacking.

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