Delhi Polls: How Election Commission prevents EVM Tampering?

New Delhi: In the Election bound Delhi, several candidates have complained about the Tampering with Electronic Voting Machines(EVM). They alleged that after pressing any button, the vote is cast in favor of a particular party only.

 Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

Electronic Voting Machines

Taking a note of these concerns, the Election Commission of India has released a statement dispelling any fears of such tampering or fraud. It said that the Commission has put in place elaborate administrative measures and procedural checks-and-balances aimed at prevention of any possible misuse or procedural lapses.

These measures include rigorous pre-election test and inspection of each EVM by the technicians, including Mock-poll at various stages and two level randomization with the involvement of candidates and their agents, for the random allotment of the EVMs to various constituencies and their subsequent dispatch to various polling stations.

Preparation of the EVMs for elections is done in the presence of the candidates/their agents and sealing of the prepared EVMs is also done in candidate’s or their agent’s presence. Thread seal are fixed on the EVM where again, the candidates or their representatives put their own signature and seals. Paper seals guard against any unauthorized access to the EVMs after preparation. EVMs are then kept in sealed strong rooms with provision for the candidates to put their individual seals on the strong rooms. The EVMs are randomized twice over. The list of EVMs going to individual polling stations is given to the candidates for them to check, on the poll day the actual machine, that is used in that polling station. Furthermore a mock poll is conducted in the presence of polling agents, when the polling agents can verify, inter-alia, the EVM numbers. A mock poll certificate is taken before the commencement of poll. After the mock poll the machine is set back to zero and green paper seal printed at Government Security Press is put in, where once again every polling agent is allowed to put his/her signature.

After the polls, the EVM are also sealed in such a manner that there is no physical access to any of the buttons on the EVMs. Indeed there is no access to the EVMs itself since the carrying case is sealed completely. The machines are put in the strong room again in presence of the candidates and observer of the commission under video camera surveillance. The strong room is allowed to be guarded by the supporters of the candidates besides the police protection provided to strong rooms. At every step, the EVM is very well protected and elaborate arrangements are in place for the same.

Apart from all this, the Commission has also issued instructions on 2nd February, 2015, that the Polling Officer in charge of Control Unit, while activating the ballot Unit, should instruct the voters that if they notice that the EVM is malfunctioning in any manner, related to lamp, beep sound etc., he should bring it to the notice of the Presiding Officer. Presiding Officer on receiving any such complaint should check & verify the genuineness of the said complaint in the presence of the polling agents and the complainant.

A detailed instructions, on the procedure to be adopted to verify the veracity of any such complaint has also been issued, allowing the Presiding Officer to cast a test vote, in the presence of polling agents and the complainant after taking a written complaint from the elector as to the allegation of malfunctioning of EVM and after warning the elector about the consequence of making a false complaint. In case, Presiding Officer finds any substance in the complaint, he should inform the Returning Officer immediately.

The Presiding Officer are also required to bring this instruction to the notice of the Polling Agents at the time of conducting ‘Mock Poll’ in the morning before start of actual poll. In case, no polling agent is present at the time of ‘Mock Poll’ at the Polling Station, it should be brought to the notice of the polling agent(s), as and when, they report at the polling station.

The Election Commission of India expressed full confidence in the non-tamperability of ECI-EVMs and assures all electors of the Country that the EVMs used by the Commission in elections are non-tamperable.