Is EVM Hacking Possible?
This article is about the voting machines used in India. For general information on EVMs, see Electronic voting.
Electronic Voting Machines (“EVM”) are being used in Indian General and State Elections to implement electronic voting in part from 1999 elections and recently in 2017 Uttar Pradesh elections.
The EVMs reduce the time in both casting a vote and declaring the results compared to the old paper ballot system. There were earlier claims regarding EVMs’ comparability and security which have not been proved.
After rulings of Delhi High Court, Supreme Court and demands from various political parties, Election Commission decided to introduce EVMs with Voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) system.
The Voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) system was introduced in 8 of 543 parliamentary constituencies as a pilot project in Indian general election, 2014.
A candidate can know how many people from a polling station voted for him. This is a significant issue particularly if lop-sided votes for/against a candidate are cast in individual polling stations and the winning candidate might show favoritism or hold grudge on specific areas. The Election Commission of India has stated that the manufacturers of the EVMs have developed a Totaliser unit which can connect several balloting units and would display only the overall results from an Assembly or a Lok Sabha constituency instead of votes from individual polling stations.
The control units do not electronically transmit their results back the Election Commission, even though a simple and unconditionally secure protocol for doing this exists. The Indian EVMs are purposely designed as stand-alone units to prevent any intrusion during electronic transmission of results. Instead, the EVMs are collected in counting booths and tallied on the assigned counting day(s) in the presence of polling agents of the candidates.
What is an Electronic Voting Machine?
It is a simple electronic device used to record votes in place of ballot papers and boxes which were used earlier in the conventional voting system.
When was the EVM introduced in India?
It was first used in 1982 in the bye-election to Parur Assembly Constituency of Kerala for a limited number of polling stations (50 polling stations).
Who manufactures EVMs in India?
The two central govt. undertakings i.e. Bharat Electronics Limited and Electronics Corporation of India Limited are the only manufacturers from whom the EVMs are procured by the Election Commission of India.
What is the maximum number of votes which can be cast in the EVM?
An EVM can record a maximum of 3840 votes which far exceeds the number of voters(usually less than 1400) assigned to a polling station.
Can anybody tamper with the EVMs?
Utmost care has been taken to make the EVM tamper proof. The programming of the microprocessor chip used in EVMs is burnt into the chip. The fused program can neither be altered nor overwritten. Any attempt to burn additional or substitute code on the chip would destroy its existing program and render it unusable/useless. As an additional precautionary measure, the machines prepared for a poll are physically sealed in the presence of candidates or their agents and kept in secure strong rooms guarded by Central Police Force which can also be watched by the representatives of the candidates. The storage places for these pre-poll or polled EVMs can be accessed only by following a stringent procedure set by the Commission ensuring complete transparency.