After informing the Supreme Court that it was ready to purchase new EVMs with a paper receipt, the Election Commission has done an about-turn and ordered the same old machines which are known to be easily manipulated, reports Vicky Nanjappa
In the upcoming elections, you could well be voting through the same Electronic Voting Machines which are known to be easily tampered with.
Satya Dosapati of Save Indian Democracy, the NGO which exposed the fraud in Andhra Pradesh in 2009, says that the Election Commission's decision to buy two lakh more such EVMs is alarming.
He points out that the EC had earlier done several field trials with a Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail machine design, which is an EVM with a paper receipt. Based on this, multiple design modifications had taken place, and were demonstrated to the satisfaction of the opposition parties.
The EC even informed the Supreme Court that it was ready to purchase the VVPAT-design EVMs once they get the funds from the Union government. However, now there has been a complete reversal and the EC has ordered the same old machines which are known to be easily manipulated.
Holding several state elections together which the EC is hard-pressed to manage and then buying a large quantity of extra EVMs do not bode well for fairness in the coming elections, based on several experiences in multiple states in 2009, says Dosapati.
“In today’s scenario when no party can secure an absolute majority, all it is needed is to manipulate a small percentage (less than five per cent) in select constituencies where the margins are thin. This would be good enough to come to power,” he says.
Dosapati says given the way the country has been going through one scam after another, the decision to buy the old model EVMs is not surprising.
“Apart from staging protests outside the EC office, we also will move the Supreme Court. There is a need to bring about awareness that the EC will use the same old machines which are known to be easily manipulated, in the forthcoming elections,” he says.
The NGO had demonstrated in the past that the EVMs are a tragic story of bureaucrats who know very little about technology.
“The software is written by the programmers and burnt into a chip in Japan/the United States, and we cannot verify what is put in there. Moreover, these two countries do not even use EVMs. How can a voter be assured that his/her vote is counted against a candidate they voted for after converting the vote into bits and bytes? If a voter needs experts to understand it, then obviously it is not transparent,” says Dosapati.