The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Saturday demonstrated the working of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail System (VVPATs) in the national capital. The poll watchdog held a press conference here at Vigyan Bhavan, where it briefed the media on the functionality of EVMs and how they have proved to be infallible.
Election Commission press conference highlights:
4:41 pm: If someone gives us credible information, we will be the first ones to ask forensic experts to come and check, says CEC.
4:38 pm: Our polling process is totally transparent and emphasise a lot on transparency aspect, We are open to meeting political parties, ruling or Opposition. The working at our headquarters is very transparent, says CEC. Collusion with political parties arises if we know the sequences, but we don’t. We have faith in our systems, says CEC.
4:33 pm: As far as intimidation of polling agents are concerned, we tell police that designated representatives of political parties be there at the polling station, says CEC.
4:26 pm: We are holding challenge not to win or lose but to strengthen our processes, says CEC.
4:20 pm: We want to learn from hacking as well, says CEC.
4:14 pm: If you try to change the internal circuit of our machines it will become a look-alike machine whose guarantee EC can’t take, says CEC.
4:11 pm: We are giving time to national and state parties to register till May 26 for the challenge, says CEC.
4:09 pm: ECI through this challenge will restore and enhance, faith and confidence of voters in EVM voting system: CEC
4:06 pm: The challenge would remain for three to four days, says CEC.
4:05 pm: The Commission is yet to receive any credible material from any complainant, says CEC.
4:04 pm: The EC is now taking questions from the media.
4:03 pm: The EC would like to assure the citizens of the country that the commission won’t leave any stone unturned to maintain the credibility and integrity of the election process. We want all citizens and stakeholders to be aware of our electoral processes so commission can further strengthen the conduct of free and fair elections in the country, says CEC.
4:02 pm: Replacement of internal circuit of EVMs is not possible. Our EVMs have strong technological features and are tamper-proof: EC.
4:00 pm: It is common knowledge that changing the internal circuit of the machine is like changing the device itself. Any person with common sense will appreciate that EVM with a different internal circuity can never give correct results. Such scenario is completely ruled out, That’s why we haven’t proposed this under the present challenge, says CEC.
3:59 pm: If the challenger violated our guidelines or withdraws, the challenger would fail.
3:57 pm: EVMs can be opened for visual inspection during Challenge 2, because this is allowed during first level check. However, machines can’t be opened during Challenge 1 because they’re kept in sealed state after polls, says CEC.
3:53 pm: Each national and state recognised party can nominate 3 authorised persons. Political parties will have to confirm their interest by 5 pm by 26th May through an online application. Only these persons will be allowed to participate in EVM challenge, says CEC.
3:50 pm: 13.95 lakh ballot units, 9.3 lakh ballot control units & 16.5 lakh VVPAT under production: CEC
3:48 pm: The EC throws open the challenge to political parties from June 3, 2017, says CEC.
3:46 pm: The commission has also highlighted some unique features, but I would like to say that firstly, the poll data is only stored internally. Secondly, the machines have end-to-end security protocols and administrative safeguards.
3:43 pm: Voting data which was stored in machine used in Netherlands was transferred using CDs. Our machines store the date internally and not transferred anywhere. These countries lack end-to-end administrative and legal framework. They also lack auditability which we have introduced 100 per cent, says CEC.
3:41 pm: ECI EVMs are far, far superior than EVMs used worldwide. EVMs used in Netherlands, Ireland and Germany are privately manufactured. They have no independent verification system, says CEC.
3:42 pm: Neither defective machines or look-alike machines can be inducted by EC, if so, they will be immediately detected, says EC.
3:40 pm: With these methods, you can appreciate these fool proof checks are taken to make our machines tamper proof, says CEC.
3:38 pm: Randomisation helps make EVMs tamper proof. Till first randomisation no one knows the sequence of names. The names are placed alphabetically, say CEC. Serial number of any candidate is not fixed or predetermined in any assembly or constituency, says CEC
3:37 pm: Every machine goes through mock poll, and political party representatives are then told to do a mock poll by polling at least 1000 votes, says CEC
3:34 pm: There are two possibilities of manipulation: during transportation and storage, says CEC.
3:33 pm: Trojan Horse (a key press sequence) can’t be inserted into EVMs since chip on EVM is one-time programmable and doesn’t have a Wi-fi chip: CEC
3:31 pm: New generation EVMs have self diagnostic and tamper proof features, says Zaidi.
3:30 pm: VVPAT’s to be ready by September 2018.
3:29 pm: ECI EVMs can’t be physically tampered, says Zaidi.
3:26 pm: Manipulation of EVMs at manufacturing stage is totally ruled out due to stringent security measures taken: CEC Nasim Zaidi
3:24 pm: The Commission is open to receiving from all stakeholders on how to uphold integrity of the EVms and VVPATs.
3:24 pm: People who questioned reliability of EVMs have not yet submitted any proof or credible material to support their claim: CEC
3:22 pm: Certain complaints were received during municipal elections and because of that certain confusions had cropped up in people’s minds.
3:21 pm: EC believes in total transparency.
3:20 pm: All future elections will be held with VVPAT along with EVMs across polling stations,to bring in transparency, says Zaidi.
3:19 pm: EVMs have been questioned from time to time, says Zaidi.
3:18 pm: EC successfully conducted elections in 107 states and 3 Lok Sabha. Since 2007, VVPAT have been used in several polls. Introduction of EVMs in 1990 was successful.
3:17 pm: Doubts have been cast on the functionality of EVMs, commission has duly examined the complaints.
3:15 pm: The commission has been at the forefront of adopting latest tech advancements in fine tuning electoral practices, it took pioneering initiative of introducing EVMS to store votes in elections across the country
3:15 pm: The poll panel showed demos of EVM’s to prove they are infallible, says Nasim Zaidi.
A meeting was conducted by EC last week with representatives of 55 political parties to discuss the on-going debate over reliability of the voting machines. The representatives were also asked to give suggestions into how the hackathon can be conducted.