With the Bharatiya Janata Party’s sweeping majority in several states, many political parties have cried wolf over the reliability of EVMs and even the Election commission (ECI) as a whole. Two days before the result of state elections for Uttar Pradesh and four other states. Samajwadi supremo Akhilesh Yadav made alarming claims of “EVM theft” in Varanasi.

Many of us would have dismissed these claims as fabricated, made up by the losing side to justify its poor performance in the elections, but many countries around the world such as Germany, the U.S, Europe, Netherlands have banned the use of EVMs. This begs the question that should we be concerned about the reliability of EVM’s or not?

The elections commission has long maintained that its EVM’s are un-hackable. There are only two ways to hack an EVM physical access & remote access. Remote access is impossible because EVM’s have no networking component in them, on the other hand, physical hacking is also improbable because EVM’s are distributed across the constituencies randomly. And also, an EVM consists of two parts, the Balloting unit (BU) and controlling unit (CU) both of which are distributed independently and on the day of the polling the two are connected and would be incompatible if anyone of the device is tampered with or replaced.

However, the information given by an RTI states that the chips of EVM can be reprogrammed where as ECI has maintained over the years that chips are only one-time programmable. Also, various contradictions have emerged between the number of votes polled and the final vote account, both of which are on the website of ECI.

To sum up, there are claims which support EVM’s as well as counter-claims. A paper trail has been made mandatory by EIC which makes the voting process more transparent and glass repackaging of the EVM can also be implemented if the opposing parties feel so.

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