Assembly Election 2017: US scientists 'hacked' EVM in 2010; EC refutes Kejriwal, Mayawati's charge of tampering

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday alleged that poll tampering took place during the Punjab elections to ensure that AAP is kept out of the state.

"Many said that there is anger against Akalis and AAP is sweeping polls. AAP still got 25 percent votes and SAD-BJP got 31 percent. How is it possible?" Kejriwal told reporters at a press conference in New Delhi.

"It is the responsibility of the Election Commission to ensure people believe in the electoral system. If people lose faith in elections, democracy will lose its meaning. If there is a flaw in EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines), elections become meaningless," said the Delhi chief minister.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Mayawati had also cried foul

Before Kejriwal, BSP chief Mayawati, who won only 19 seats in the recently concluded state election in Uttar Pradesh too cried foul and alleged that the EVM machines were manipulated to ensure BJP's victory.

"They have got this victory through tampering in the EVMs and this win smacks of dishonesty, fraud and murder of democracy...if the media is honest it will also not be able to digest it," she alleged.

"Our partymen are saying they voted for BSP, but the votes went to 'Kamal' (lotus)...they are wondering as to how this could have happened," Mayawati said.

The BSP leader continued, "In Muslim and Dalit-dominated areas too it is the BJP which has got the votes...BJP is saying that they got the vote of Muslim women over their stand on triple talaq...will they (Muslim women) accept BJP when they are first associated with their religion and (also) when BJP did not give even a single ticket to Muslim?"

US scientists 'hacked' system

While the two leaders are making these allegations over EVMs after the drubbing their party got in the recent elections across five states, a 2010 BBC report claimed that US-based scientists had cracked the voting machine.

According to the report, researchers at the University of Michigan developed a technique of hacking into the system by developing a home-made device connected to the EVM machine. Then they had changed the results by sending text messages from a mobile.

"We made an imitation display board that looks almost exactly like the real display in the machines. But underneath some of the components of the board, we hide a microprocessor and a Bluetooth radio," J Alex Halderman, one of the researchers had told BBC.

The display board created by the researchers then intercepted the counting of votes and with the help of a mobile text message replaced the number of votes with the number they desired.

EC refutes claims of EVM hacking

However, even then the Election Commission had refuted the claims made by the US researchers.

"It is not just the machine, but the overall administrative safeguards which we use that make it absolutely impossible for anybody to open the machine," BBC quoted the then deputy Election Commissioner Alok Shukla as saying.

This time around too, the apex election body refuted charges of machine tampering.

The EC said that the EVMs could not be tampered with and that candidates are allowed to randomly check the machines before the actual voting.

“The machine is both mechanically and electronically protected to prevent any tampering/manipulation. The programme used in these machines is burnt into a one-time programmable chip so that it cannot be altered or tampered with,” the EC said in its reply to Mayawati.

“These machines are not networked either by wire or by wireless to any other machine or system. Therefore, there is no possibility of its data corruption,” it added.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Mar 15, 2017 19:52:01 IST

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