EC reaffirms its faith in infallibility of EVMs
New Delhi, March 16: The Election Commission states that concerns, about alleged temperability of ECI-EVM have been raised earlier also since their introduction including before High Court/Supreme Court. These allegations have been dismissed. ECI unequivocally reiterate that given effective technical and administrative safeguards, EVMs are not temperable and integrity of electoral process is preserved.
After many deliberations, ECI based on consultation with political parties in 2010 considered to explore use of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) with a view to enhance transparency. Introduction of VVPAT implied that a paper slip is generated bearing name and symbol of the candidate along with recording of vote in Control Unit, so that in case of any dispute, paper slip could be counted to verify the result being shown on the EVM.
Under VVPAT, a printer is attached to the balloting Unit and kept in the voting compartment. The paper slip remains visible on VVPAT for 07 seconds through a transparent window. Design of VVPAT made by BEL/ECIL was approved by ECI in 2013 and shown to persons who were pursuing matters in the Supreme Court. Rules were amended. ECI used VVPAT in Nagaland bye election in 2013 which proved great success. SC ordered introduction of VVPAT in phases and asked Government to sanction funds for procurement.
In this regard in June 2014, the Commission proposed to implement VVPAT at every polling station in the next General Election to Lok Sabha due in 2019 and asked for fund of Rs. 3174 cr from the Government. Hon’ble Supreme Court also permitted the ECI to implement VVPATs in phase manner.
In an ongoing case in the Supreme Court, Commission in the month of March 2017, has intimated the apex court that ECI will get requisite number of VVPATs manufactured in 30 months time from the time of release of fund by the Government.
ECI procured 20,000 VVPATs in 2013 and has since used VVPATs in 143 Assembly Constituencies. Further, 33500 VVPATs were manufactured by BEL in 2016 for further use of VVPATs. So far, VVPATs have been used in 255 Assembly Constituencies and 09 Parliamentary Constituencies.
In Goa elections in 2017, VVPAT was employed in all 40 LACs. ECI employed about 52,000 VVPATs in five States where elections were held recently. Since 2014, ECI has been relentlessly pursuing with the Govt. for sanction and release of funds of Rs. 3174 cr requisite number of VVPATs so that they could be used in all PCs in GE to Lok Sabha in 2019.
The Commission states that it has put in place an elaborate technical and administrative system of safeguards to ensure error-free functioning of EVMs in elections. The Commission is thus fully satisfied with the tamper proof functioning of the ECI-EVMs.
It may be stated that such allegations and suspicions have not been raised for the first time. Even on earlier occasions, the Commission has offered opportunities more than once to those alleging the tamperability of EVM, no one has been able to demonstrate to the Commission that the EVM with ECI and used in the country’s election process, can be manipulated or tampered with. The Commission does not find any merit in such allegations and reject all such allegations and suspicions raised by some political parties.
ECI assures all citizens that EVM of ECI are temper proof and fully satisfied with the integrity of electoral process using EVM. ECI will further enhance confidence of citizens in ECI’s electoral process by deploying VVPAT in phase manner.
Further, ECI did not receive specific complaints or concrete material from political parties/candidates about alleged tempering of EVMs during recently held election process. At this stage, baseless, speculative and wild allegations are being made which deserves to be rejected.
However, if any specific allegation with material facts is presented to ECI, the same will be looked into with all seriousness on administrative sides.
The Election Commission states that it would like to underline that it always had a firm conviction and complete satisfaction that EVMs could not be tampered with. Its faith on the machine has never wavered through the conduct of elections in the last many years including the nationwide general elections in 2004, 2009 and 2014.
To date, no one has been able to actually demonstrate that EVMs used by the Election Commission can be tampered with or manipulated. What has been demonstrated or claimed to have been demonstrated is on a privately assembled “look-alike of ECI-EVMs” and not the actual ECI-EVM. However, the extraordinary measure of requiring demonstration in ECI HQ in 2009 was undertaken by the Election Commission in fulfilment of its responsibility not to allow even a small shade of doubt about any aspect of its operation and in order to set at rest any misgiving anywhere.
The Commission claims that it once again completely reaffirms its faith in the infallibility of the EVMs. These are fully tamper-proof, as ever.
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