For democracy’s sake, EVMs must have proper VVPAT-based audit – By V Ramani and K Ashok Vardhan Shetty
The bizarre claim made in London recently about the alleged hacking of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in previous elections has done more harm than good by diverting public attention from genuine concerns about EVMs and the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) lack of transparency in the matter.
The controversy over the security of EVMs dates back to the early 2000s, and is not confined to India. A consensus has emerged that voters can’t verify whether their votes have been recorded and counted correctly, and that miscounts due to EVM malfunction or fraud are undetectable and unchallengeable. Hence, an additional verifiable physical record of every vote cast in the form of voter verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) is required. In 2013, the Supreme Court mandated the use of EVMs with VVPAT units, and ECI has been deploying these in assembly elections from 2017 onwards.
But if a VVPAT-based audit is to have any real security value, it is essential to tally the electronic vote count with the manual one as per the VVPAT slips for a statistically significant sample size of EVMs chosen at random from a suitably defined population of EVMs. Equally important is a clear decision rule about what should be done in the event of a defective EVM turning up in the sample.…
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