EVM Tampering Verification Applications: A Closer Look

The Election Commission (EC) has received a total of 11 applications for verification of burnt memory/microchips in EVMs used during the polls. Read more...
EVM Tampering Verification Applications: A Closer Look

The recent Indian elections have sparked discussions around the integrity of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). The Election Commission (EC) has received a total of 11 applications for verification of burnt memory/microchips in EVMs used during the polls. These applications cover both Lok Sabha and assembly elections, shedding light on concerns about tampering or modification.

Lok Sabha Polls: Seeking Clarity

Eight applications pertain to the Lok Sabha polls. Both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Indian National Congress (INC) have sought verification of micro-controller chips embedded in the EVMs. The BJP candidate filed three applications, while the INC submitted two. Other parties, including the YSRCP and DMK, have also raised concerns about EVM integrity.

The Supreme Court’s rejection of a return to the paper ballot system has intensified the focus on EVMs. However, the court allows candidates who finished second or third to request limited EVM verification.

One notable candidate seeking verification is Sujay Vikhe-Patil, the BJP candidate from Ahmednagar (Maharashtra), who lost to Nilesh Lanke of the NCP faction. Vikhe-Patil aims to verify machines from 40 polling stations. Additionally, applications have been received from YSRCP and DMDK candidates.

Across the eight parliamentary seats under scrutiny, spanning six states, a total of 92 polling stations are subject to verification.

Assembly Polls: Parallel Concerns

Three applications relate to assembly polls. Candidates from the YSRCP in Andhra Pradesh and the BJD in Odisha have applied for EVM checks. These assembly elections coincided with the Lok Sabha polls in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh.

The verification process covers three assembly constituencies and involves 26 polling stations.

Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

The state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) must communicate the consolidated list of applicants to the manufacturers within 30 days of result declaration (by July 4). The EC has confirmed timely communication, ensuring transparency.

The technical SOP detailing the methodology and steps for checking and verifying burnt memory/micro-controllers of EVM units will be issued by the EC.

Cost Considerations

Candidates must pay Rs 47,200 per EVM set for verification, as per the SOP. Manufacturers BEL and ECIL charge Rs 40,000 (plus 18% GST) per set for EVM check and verification. Additional costs, including labor, CCTV coverage, electricity, and videography, are factored in.

To ease the financial burden, the EC has waived administrative charges. Instead, the administrative expenditure on EVM verification will be treated as election expenditure borne by the central or state government.

In conclusion, the pursuit of EVM integrity persists, striking a balance between electoral confidence, expenses, and transparency. Each EVM set, comprising a Ballot Unit, Control Unit, and VVPAT machine, represents the cornerstone of India’s democratic process. Ensuring its reliability remains paramount.