EVM tampering, electoral reforms: EC to meet with political parties today

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Meanwhile, amid a raging debate over the reliability of EVMs, the Election Commission will meet representatives of 55 political parties tomorrow to put forth its stand on the issue.

It will offer opportunity to political parties to demonstrate that EVM used in recent elections were tampered with or that EVMs can be tampered with even under strict technical and administrative safeguards as applicable during elections, Zaidi said.

Earlier in April, PTI had quoted an Election Commission official as saying that in beginning first week of May, experts, scientists, technocrats can come for a week or 10 days and try to hack the machines.

The poll panel had called the meeting of 7 national and 48 state parties to talk about how reliable EVMs are after 16 parties appealed to it to revert to the ballot paper system, claiming that faith of people in EVMs had been eroded.

Amid concerns raised by the opposition, the Union Cabinet last month cleared the Election Commission's proposal to buy VVPAT machines for the EVMs to ensure transparency in the voting process. EC must assure that the tally of the EVM matches with that of the paper trail.

He, however, did not give any date for the proposed challenge which he announced in his opening remarks at the meeting.

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"After the CEC's address experts from IITs also sought to clarify doubts that many political parties have about the reliability of the EVMs".

"Reacting to the demonstration, the poll panel said the machine used to conduct live demonstration was a "look-alike" which was made to function in a 'tampered" manner.

Disqualifying candidates named in a charge sheet for bribing voters, making electoral graft a non-bailable offense and easing of rules to order counting of votes through paper trail are some of the other issues Election Commission will discuss with political parties.

Bharadwaj, who had carried out a live demonstration of hacking an EVM prototype in the Delhi assembly on May 9, said on Thursday that the question was no longer if EVMs could be manipulated but whether the recent polls were rigged.

"Every keystroke on an EVM is time-stamped and we can show the EC that we have the technology to read it if given access to the machine", Bhardwaj said.

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