Election Commission to soon call all-party meeting to assure them EVMs are tamper-proof

We will soon hold an all-party meeting in which they will be told how our EVMs are non-tamperable and secured as per our administrative and technical safeguard system, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said.

In the wake of the growing chorus of demands from political parties questioning the authenticity of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in ensuring free and transparent polling, the Election Commission has said that it will call an all-party meet soon to assure that the machines were tamper-proof and secure.

Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi made an announcement to this effect today.

Zaidi added that the poll panel intended to use Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) in all the upcoming elections to bring in more transparency and help boost the confidence of voters in the electoral process.

"We will soon hold an all-party meeting in which they will be told how our EVMs are non-tamperable and secured as per our administrative and technical safeguard system," the Chief Election Commissioner told reporters in Delhi.

He was replying to questions about charges levelled by several political parties against the transparency of EVMs. Recently, 16 opposition parties had appealed to the Election Commission of India to revert to the ballot system of voting, claiming that the faith of the people in EVMs had been "eroded".

EC ISSUES CHALLENGE ON HACKING OF EVMs

Zaidi also said that the poll panel was planning to "hold a challenge" for which a time frame was being worked out.

It has been learnt that the electoral body is planning to throw an open challenge, asking anyone to try hacking its EVMs to dispel whatever doubts one may have of their being misused.

The CEC also said that the ECI had placed an order for the supply of VVPAT machines for use in polls.

"For VVPAT, we have got all the funds. We have placed an order for the supply of 15 lakh VVPAT with two PSUs Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Electronic Corporation of India (ECI)," informed Zaidi.

He said that he expected around 15 lakh VVPAT machines to be ready by September 2018.

The Commission's objective is to use VVPATs in all upcoming elections, he said.

VVPAT TO BE USED AT ALL POLLING STATIONS

India will "perhaps" be the first country where VVPAT will be used 100 per cent at all polling stations. This will boost voters' confidence and bring in more transparency in the election process, he added.

Zaidi said that an awareness campaign would be launched to raise awareness about the benefits of VVPAT.

VVPAT generates a receipt, allowing voters to verify that the vote went in favour of the candidate against whose name the button was pressed on the EVM.

After the Assembly elections earlier this year in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur, many political parties had raised their voice against the use of EVMs, calling them no longer credible for a fair electoral process.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was vociferous against alleging the probable misuse of EVMs while BSP leader Mayawati, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav had also voiced their concern over the genuinity of polling machines.

(WITH INPUTS FROM PTI)

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