EVM Hacking Trail Tomorrow, 14 EVM Machines, 2 Parties & EC

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Since the day, BJP has marked its tremendous victory in the state of Uttar Pradesh, oppositions are busy making allegations that BJP did not win because of the the majority but EVM tampering. In UP elections, Mayawati of BSP put the allegations of EVM tampering. Last month AAP’s chief Arvind Kejriwal who has been particularly vocal on EVM tampering issue, held the demonstration in the Delhi Assembly. Party MLA Saurabh Bhaardwaj brought in the dummy EVM and proceeded to show how the machine could be tampered with to only recorded votes for a single party. But, now Election Commission is all gears up for hacking challenge.  EC has given a hacking challenge which would include 2 parties and 14 EVMs.

Election Commission will use 14 electronic voting machines, deployed during the general state elections in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttrakhand during the hacking EVM challenge on Saturday between 10 am to 2 pm at EC’s headquarters in Delhi.Through this hacking challenge EC wants to put aside all the allegations of EVM tampering.

Out of seven national parties, only two parties will participate in this hackhathon. The EVMs will be open for the scrutiny by the members representing Nationalist Congress Party and Communist party of India (Marxist), that accepted the poll panel’s challenge. Other parties such as Bhartiya Janta Party, Rashtriya Lok Dal, Communist Party of India ‘expressed their intent to observe’, an EC official said.

The parties that had raised the doubts about efficiency of the EVMs will not participate in the whole process. During the challenge, no candidate will get a chance to take EVMs outside the premises.

How the whole process will take place?

  1. In the time period of 4 hours, three members of both the team have to prove that EVM can be hacked, by using 4 EVMs. The extra EVMs are for the backup.
  2. Members of Technical Committee, that helps the poll panels to evaluate the EVMs will judge the game.
  3. The EVM hacking challenge will take place in two parts:
  4. In the first, the parties will have to prove that the EVMs used in the assembly elections in the five states were tampered to favor a particular candidate or political party by altering the results stored in them.
  5. They will have to alter the results in the control units used during these polls in exactly the same conditions in which EVMs are kept under the technical and administrative safeguards of the EC after the elections are over.
  6. They can use a combination of keys on EVMs or  devices such as cell phone and Bluetooth to tamper with the machine to change the results, he said.
  7. The participants will have to prove in the second part of the challenge that the EVMs used in the assembly polls were manipulated before or on the poll day. If the EVM stops functioning due to its inbuilt anti-tampering mechanism, they would be considered to have “failed” in the challenge.
  8. They will also be considered to have failed if it shows the result of the booth where it was used during the assembly polls even after manipulation.

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