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India's 'Electronic Voting Machines' destroy faith in democracy

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India's voters fear tampering with EVMs

India's Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) have been at the forefront of their democracy's discussions. Some swear by the program's consistency, while others fear manipulation and tampering.

Find below a copy of a letter sent to the Election Commission of India regarding the feeling the common men regarding the use of EVMs  in elections and the serious issue of people in India loosing faith in the voting done through EVMs and thus in democratic process.

Can anyone detect manipulations in the present system of working of the commission?

Can anyone detect manipulations in the present system of working of the commission?

Shri. Dr. Nasim Zaidi
The Honourable Chief Election
Commissioner of India
Nirvachan Sadan, Ashoka Road
New Delhi Delhi , 110001
 
Sub :- Request to stop use of EVMs for restoring people's the faith in democracy.
 
Respected Sir,
                
It is in reference to the above mentioned subject that I would like to bring to your kind notice that the issue of tampering with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), has been raised by all political parties ever since it was introduced in 1982 in some of the polling booths in the by-election to North Paravur Assembly Constituency in Kerala.  Since then settling various complaints, the Honourable High Courts and Supreme Court have been delivering varied opinions and judgments of which the judgment on 17 January 2012 by the Delhi High Court is most important that in its ruling on Dr. Subramanian Swamy's Writ Petition (Writ Petition (Civil) No. 11879 of 2009) challenging the use of EVMs in the present form said that EVMs are not "tamper-proof".  The latest series of protests against the use of EVMs by political parties across the nation has become very dangerous to Indian democracy and has shaken the faith of the people in the well established electoral practices of the country. 
 
Whenever the use of EVMs became an issue, the election commission strongly defended its use in the judiciary and in other places with the help of technicians, designers and manufacturing experts. As of now the Honourable Supreme Court of India has again taken up this matter afresh, so in a larger interest of the Country and to restore the faith of the people in democracy the election commission must also present before the Court those expert hackers like those software experts who carried out two attacks on a real EVMs and made video presentation. It will help the highest seat of justice to openly think of the real facts that lead to lose faith of the people in EVMs.  
               
We do not question the perennial claim of the Election Commission that the EVMs are under the safe custody and it cannot be reached by anybody. The election commission also must accept the fact that it does not produce the EVMs but takes the services of Bharat Electronics Ltd., Bangalore and Electronic Corporation of India Ltd., Hyderabad. The manufacturers and the Election Commission have never released a detailed technical description of the EVMs' inner workings (EVM Hardware), citing security and intellectual property concerns." (Election Commission of India in its reply to 'Sh. V. V. Rao. Mar. 29, 2010 has accepted this fact'.)
             
The Software is manufactured by Renesas, a Japanese company and Microchip by an American company. The most dangerous fact is that before CPU Manufacture the EVM firmware is stored in masked read-only memory inside the microcontroller chips, and there is no provision for extracting it or verifying its integrity. This means that if the software was modified before it was built into the CPUs, the changes would be very difficult to detect.
            
Suppose the software technology of EVM is manipulated in fashion to work in most perfect way till a certain number of votes are cast in the beginning and then to a certain number of votes could be cast in favour of a candidate desired by the one who manipulates and then at the end again return to the perfect position, can anyone detect such sort of manipulations in the present system of working of the commission? Under these circumstances how could one even rule out the manipulation of proposed Voter-verified paper system by controlling the control unit, used by poll workers, (which stores and accumulates votes), and a ballot unit, located in the election booth, (which is used by voters)?
           
The election commission has accepted judgment of Supreme Court (2013) to introduce Voter-verified paper audit trail that can be used later in case of any dispute to verify the votes. The Constitution of India does not make it mandatory to use the EVM so why do we need two types of processes in casting votes. So it is most demanded and feasible to go back to the old system of ballot papers for voting like other countries which rolled back to restore the faith of the people in democracy. It will be one of the most welcome steps from the Election Commission to abandon the use of EVMs in any election in the country.
              
Therefore in a most humble way we would like to request your good self to stop the use of EVMs and start the use of ballet voting system in the country. It will restore the faith of people in democracy and freedom of people to choose a candidate of their choice with full faith in democracy.
 
Thanking you in anticipation
 
Yours Truly
 
Father Dr. Anand Muttugnal
National Coordinator
Rashtriya Isai Maha Sangh
38 - Patrakar Colony, Bhopal
isaimahangh@gmail.com
0755-4093255
 
Copy to The Prime Minister of India, The President of India
Chief Electoral Offices of all States and Union Territories
Leaders and MPs, MLAs and Journalists and Social Activists       
--
To know more about the author www.franand.com

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