Srinagar: Chief Electoral Officer Jammu and Kashmir, Shaleen Kabra on Thursday said that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) cannot be hacked or tampered with as some regional political parties here raised concerns about the use of the machine by the Election Commission of India.
The Election Commission introduced EVM’s for recording, storing and counting of votes across the country as per section 61-A of Representation of People Act, 1951 that empowers the Commission of India to use EVM’s.
According to Chief Electoral office, over the last 20 years, the Commission successfully conducted 107 State Legislative Assembly elections and three Lok Sabha elections using EVMs.
Since September 2013, Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines have also been used in various State Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies for “enhanced transparency and credibility” in the voting process. Chief Electoral Officer Jammu and Kashmir, Shaleen Kabra said that the political parties are well aware of the whole process involved in the usage of EVMs and there is no chance of tampering at the manufacturing stage, transportation, or at the place of storage given the technical and administrative safeguards of the entire system.
“The whole process is carried out in presence of the representatives of political parties. The administrative and technical safeguards make the system absolutely seal proof and leaves no chance of tampering at any stage,” Kabra said. He said that as for the demonstration of tampering of “look-alike” EVM, it should be understood that it is possible for anyone to make any electronic gadget which looks like EVM and demonstrate any magic or tampering.
“The look-alike machine is just a different gadget, which is manifestly designed and made to function in a tampered manner and has no relevance, incidence or bearing on the Commission’s EVMs,” Kabra clarified.
“It is common that gadgets other than EVMs can be programmed to perform in a pre-determined way, but it simply cannot be implied that commissions EVMs will behave in the same manner because the EVMs are technically secured and function under an elaborate Administrative and Security Protocol,” he said.
Kabra said that such demonstration on “extraneous and duplicate gadgets” which are not owned by the ECI cannot be exploited to influence the citizens and electorate to assail or vilify the EVMs used by the Commission in its electoral process.
The Supreme Court in its order dated 8 Oct 2013 has observed that EVMs with VVPAT system ensures the accuracy of the voting system.
The State of J&K has also received the VVPATs and the Election Department J&K is going to organise special awareness programmes in near future where EVMs along with the VVPATs shall be demonstrated so that the public in general is made aware of the new device and to make them understand that the use of Electronic Voting Machine is credible, reliable and wholly tampered proof.