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Electronic voting machines

EVM is not tamper-free & needs rectification : Swamy to Delhi HC

PTI

New Delhi: Janata Party president Subramanium Swamy today contended before the Delhi high court that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) is not tamper-free and it needs rectification to ensure free and fair elections.

Appearing before a Bench headed by the acting chief justice Madan B Lokur, Swamy said EVMs should not be used without paper receipts.

Swamy contested the Election Commission's claim that EVMs were tamper-proof, claiming it has been proved wrong.

The former MP said EC's refusal to entertain his request for the dual system forced him to approach the court for its intervention in the matter.

He said that EVM is not a unique instrument as claimed by the Commission since Bharat Electronics Limited and Electronics Corporation of India Limited, who have developed the machines, have withdrawn the application for patent before the World Intellectual Property Organisation.

The court after hearing his arguments adjourned the matter for April 14 as he sought time to place some more documents before it.

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_evm-is-not-tamper-free-and-needs-rectification-swamy-to-delhi-hc_1349162

With EVMs public do NOT know if results are accurate: Prof. Dill

http://www.scribd.com/doc/26954805/Dr-Dill-Letter-to-ECI

Dr. David L. Dill, Prof. of Computer Science, Stanford University wrote to Mr. Navin Chawla, Chief Election Commissioner on 3 Feb. 2010 on the ongoing debate on the usage of EVMs in India.

He writes:

[quote]…An important function of elections is to establish the legitimacy of the elected officials in the eyes of the public. Skeptical, untrusting observers should be able to see that election results are correct. It is not sufficient for election results to be accurate; the public must KNOW that the results are accurate. Civil society is damaged if elections are not credible, even when fraud cannot be demonstrated.

In traditional elections, paper ballots contribute to election credibility because voters can ensure that their votes have been properly recorded (when they write them on the ballot), and poll workers and observers at the polling place can ensure that ballots are not changed, added or removed after being deposited in the ballot box. In contrast, purely electronic voting machines do not allow voters to verify that their votes have been accurately recorded, and do not allow observers to witness that the ballots have not been tampered with. Electronic voting machines provide no evidence during or after the election to convince a skeptic that the election results are accurate.

It is not clear that this situation would be acceptable even if electronic voting machines could be guaranteed to be accurate and honest. But such assurances are well beyond the current state of computer technology. More importantly, it is not feasible to prevent malicious changes to the machines’ hardware or software. Computers are especially vulnerable to malicious changes by insiders such as designers, programmers, manufacturers, maintenance technicians etc. Indeed it is not known how to build trustworthy paperless electronic voting systems even using EXTREME security measures. Of course, these problsms are magnified enormously when the design of the machines is held secret from independent reviewers.

I understand that the argument has been raised in India that the EVMs are safe because they are not connected to a network. All of the concerns I raise apply to non-networked machines, since voting machines in the U.S. are also never connected to the Internet. For example, a manufacturer or technician can maliciously change the software or hardware on a machine whether it is connected to a network or not.

With current technology, the only trustworthy voting methods are those that allow individual voters to verify that their votes have been properly recorded on a paper ballot. In the United States, most voting systems rely on paper ballots that are filled out directly by the voters, and counted either by hand or by machine. If the votes are counted by machine, it is necessary to audit the performance of the machines by choosing groups of ballots at random and counting them by hand.

…’Computerized voting equipment is inherently subject to programming error, equipment malfunction, and malicious tampering.’ It is time to recognize the reality that there is no basis for public trust in paperless electronic voting equipment.

I would  be happy to discuss this topic with you further, including technical issues, referring you to individuals with various kinds of expertise whom I know, or sharing more detailed experiences with electronic voting issues in the United States. We can converse by telephone, email, or you would be welcome to visit me at Stanford if you are in the United States. I look forward to hearing from you…[unquote]

EVM’s credibility questioned

URVASHI SARKAR, The Hindu, 16 Feb. 2010

Though electronic voting machines were used in the general elections in the country in 2004 and 2009, there were many complaints and allegations regarding their use, Save Indian Democracy member Satya Dosapati said here on Tuesday.

“The problems associated with EVMs are not unique to India, other countries such as the United States and Europe too have experienced them. Therefore many countries are now reconsidering the use of EVMs,” he added.

Addressing a press conference, Mr. Dosapati said there was need for a debate on the merits and demerits of the use of EVMs and the paper ballot system.

He referred to a letter written by Stanford University professor Dr. David Dill to the Chief Election Commissioner (http://www.scribd.com/doc/26954805/Dr-Dill-Letter-to-ECI) of India. The letter states that paper ballots contributed to election credibility since voters could ensure that their votes had been properly recorded when they wrote them on the ballot and poll workers and observers at the venue could ensure that ballots were not changed, added or removed after being deposited in the ballot box.

On the other hand EVMs did not allow voters to verify that their votes had been accurately recorded or allow observers to witness that the ballots had not been tampered with. EVMs provided no evidence during or after the elections to convince sceptics that the election results were accurate, the letter said.

Mentioning instances of countries which had banned EVMs for elections, Mr. Dosapati said: “The German Supreme Court has banned EVMs while the Netherlands too has banned them despite spending millions of dollars to operate them. About 21 States in the US have paper-backed elections.”

He also cited an Indian organisation Voter Watch which claimed that EVMs could be tampered with.

Speaking about why Germany decided to discontinue with EVMs, attorney Dr. Till Jaeger said: “EVMs which were in use in Germany since 1998 were banned by a Supreme Court order in 2009. The use of EVMs was considered unconstitutional as long as there was no paper-based proof to show voting activity.”

“The election process should be public and verifiable. There is a lack of public control in using these machines,” Dr. Jaeger added, saying that there was no way of finding out what happened to one’s vote once it was registered by the machine.

“One cannot see if the machine is tampered with. In the paper ballot system, some observation is possible. If ballot boxes are stuffed, one can at least see it happening. The use of EVMs may seem efficient but is still not justifiable.” he said.

Email the Editor

http://beta.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/article107694.ece 

 


EVM violates secrecy of ballot by booth profiling

 

This report from Sikkim about EVMs raises an important point against the use of EVMs.

Paper ballot system maintains secrecy of the vote. EVM breaches the secrecy of the vote.

When paper ballots are used, there is a procedure to mix up the ballots from all the ballot boxes of a constituency before counting begins.

With the EVMs, votes polled in every booth become known, EVM control unit by EVM control unit and thus expose the votes of a booth to intimidation by political parties.

Kalyanaraman

 

Sikkim to suggest amalgamation of EVM data into Master EVM

Sikkim Express: www.sikkimexpress.com

 

Sikkim to suggest amalgamation of EVM data into Master EVM

GANGTOK, January 29: Sikkim is seeking to suggest the Election Commission of India (ECI) to introduce such a device which is capable of amalgamating all the data fed in the EVMs at various polling booths into a Master EVM in an individual constituency to ensure even freer and fair elections.
According to AIR Gangtok evening news broadcasted today, Joint Chief Electoral Officer CP Dhakal said that the Chief Electoral Officer Vijay Bhushan Pathak will be raising the issue at the All India Conference of Chief Electoral Officers at Jaisalmer in Rajasthan on February 4 and 5.
Dhakal said that the Chief Election Commissioner will also be requested to issue necessary directions to the Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) or the Bharart Electronics Limited (BEL) for production of such devices as to ensure a more objective polling process.
Dhakal recalled that when the ballot papers were being used for polling, prior to switching over to the EVMs, the ballot papers from all the ballot boxes, from various polling booths in an individual constituency, were used to be mixed up well before the counting of votes began at the counting centres.
The AIR broadcast pointed that such a recommendation from the State Election Office assumes much significance in the light of the fact that the State had experienced post-violence in the past. Even today some of the opposition leaders in the State complain of alleged discrimination by the State Government and intimidation by the ruling party workers against their supporters on the basis of their voting choice.


EVM: Parakesarivarma Chola’s intellectual property right

EVM or secret balloting while ensuring the public nature of the elections is as old as Parakesarivarma Chola, who, about 1000 years ago wrote the procedure in an inscription on stone. This is also known as kudavolai stone inscription. (kudam means ‘pot’ as ballot box; olai means ‘palm-leaf’ as ballot).

This was the basis for the Constitution of India which has the basic feature of democratic republic. The inscription was also discussed in the Constituent Assembly. http://164.100.47.132/lssnew/constituent/vol4p8.pdf T. Prakasam, Member of the Constituent Assembly, 23rd JULY 1947 stated: Adult suffrage is not a new thing. as imagined by some of our friends, handed down to us by Great Britain. Adult suffrage you will find inscribed on the stone walls of a temple in the village of Uttaramerur twenty miles from Conjeeveram, the whole structure of democracy of those days just a thousand years ago,-many of us imagine that it is Great Britain that has given us the democratic process of election; that is not so. You will find 'on the stone walls of that temple written in the Tamil language an inscription to the effect that there was democratic election carried on then on the basis of adult suffrage a thousand years ago. There was adult suffrage as stated there. There were no wooden boxes which could be used as ballot boxes, but cadjan leaves were used as ballot papers and pots as ballot boxes. That is the way in which they carried on the administration of the country, even in the villages; and it is the misfortune of this country that we have fallen on evil days and came under the rule of different kings.

Cholas had an advanced system democratic republic for local-self governance of villages.

I am attaching photographs of the rule books of the 1000-year old stone inscription; I request Govt. of India through Chief Election Commissioner of India to seek an international patent for the stunning and stable election process for a democratic republic. (Actual date of the inscription is: mudalam parantakanin padinankavatu aandu padinaram naal, that is, the 16th day of the fourteenth year of Parantaka Chola king).

The kudam ‘pot’ used is the electronic machine part of EVM. I challenge anyone to tamper with an ancient pot from Chola days. The terracotta and palm-leaves are non-tamperable and are, respectively, authentic ballot boxes and authentic ballots which can be preserved for thousands of years in the vaults of the Election Commission.

Uttaramerur Inscription: Recording the Mode of Election to Village Assemblies in the Tenth Century A.D.

The text of the inscription is in V. Venkayya, Annual Report on Epigraphy, 1904

King

Parakesarivarman, who conquered Madurai.

Date

On the sixteenth day of the fourteenth year.

Royal Order

Whereas a royal letter of His Majesty, our lord, the glorious 
Viranarayana, the illustrious Parantakadeva, the prosperous Parkesarivarman, was received and was shown to us,

The Village

We, the members of the assembly of Uttaramerur-caturvedi-mangalam in its own subdivision of Kaliyurkottam,

Officer Present

Karanjai Kondaya-Kramavitta bhattan alias Somasiperuman of Srivanganagar in Purangarambainadu, a district of the Chola country,

Settlement

Sitting with us and convening the committee in accordance with the royal command, made a settlement as follows according tothe terms of the royal letter for choosing once every year from this year forward members for the “Annual Committee”, “Garden Committee”, and “Tank Committee”:

Wards

There shall be thirty wards; 

Qualifications

In these thirty wards, those that live in each ward shall assemble and shall choose for “pot-tickets” (
Kudav Olai) anyone possessing the following qualifications:

 

(a) He must own more than a quarter veli of tax-paying land;

(b) He must live in a house built on his own site;

(c) His age must be below 70 and above 35;

(d) He must know the 
Mantrabrahmana, i.e., he must know it by teaching others;

(e) Even if one owns only one-eighth 
veli of land, he should have his name written on the pot-ticket to be put into the pot, in case he has learnt one Veda and one of the four bhasyas by explaining it to others.

 

Among those possessing the foregoing qualifications:

 

(f) Only such as are well conversant with business and are virtuous shall be taken and,

(g) One who possesses honest earnings, whose mind is pure and who has not been on any of the committees for the last three years shall also be chosen.

 

Disqualifications

 

(a)  One who has been on any of the committees but has not submitted his accounts, and all his relations, specified below, shall not have their names written on the pot-tickets and put into the pot;

(b) The sons of the younger and elder sisters of his mother,

(c) The sons of his paternal aunt and maternal uncle,

(d) The uterine brother of his mother,

(e) The uterine brother of his father,

(f) His uterine brother,

(g) His father-in-law,

(h) The uterine brother of his wife,

(i) The husband of his uterine sister,

(j) The sons of his uterine sister,

(k) The son-in-law who has married his daughter,

(l) His father,

(m) His son;

(n) One against whom incest (
agamyagamana) or the first four of the five great sins are recorded,

(o) All his relations above specified shall not have their names written on the pot-tickets and put into the pot;

(p) One who is foolhardy; 

(q) One who has stolen the property of another;

(r) One who has taken forbidden dishes (?) of any kind and who has become pure by performing expiation;

(s) One who has committed sins and has become pure by performing expiatory ceremonies;

(t) One who is guilty of incest and has become pure by performing expiatory ceremonies.

(u) All these thus specified shall not to the end of their lives have their names written on the pot-ticket to be put into the pot for any of the committees.

Mode of Election 

Excluding all these, thus specified, names shall be written for pot-tickets in the thirty wards and each of the wards in these twelve streets of Uttaramerur shall prepare a separate covering ticket for each of the thirty wards bundled separately. These packets shall be put into a pot. When the pot-tickets have to be drawn, a full meeting of the Great Assembly, including the young and old members, shall be convened. All the temple priests (Numbimar) who happen to be in the village on that day, shall, without any exception whatever, be caused to be seated in the inner hall, where the great assembly meets.

In the midst of the temple priests one of them, who happens to be the eldest, shall stand up and lift that pot looking upwards so as to be seen by all people. One ward, i.e., the packet representing it, shall be taken out by any young boy standing close, who does not know what is inside, and shall be transferred to another empty pot and shaken. From this pot one ticket shall be drawn by the young boy and made over to the arbitrator (madhyastha). While taking charge of the ticket thus given to him, the arbitrator shall receive it on the palm of his hand with the five fingers open. He shall read out the name in the ticket thus received. The ticket read by him shall also be read out by all the priests present in the inner hall. The name thus read out shall be put down (and accepted). Similarly one man shall be chosen for each of the thirty wards.

Constitution of the Committee

Of the thirty men thus chosen, those who had previously been on the Garden committee and on the Tank committee, those who are advanced in learning, and those who are advanced in age shall be chosen for the Annual Committee. Of the rest, twelve shall be taken for the Garden committee and the remaining six shall form the Tank committee. These last two committees shall be chosen by showing the Karai.

Duration of the Committees

The great men of these three committees thus chosen for them shall hold office for full three hundred and sixty days and then retire.

Removal of Persons Found Guilty

When one who is on the committee is found guilty of any offence, he shall be removed at once: for appointing the committees after these have retired, the members of the Committee “for Supervision of Justice” in the twelve streets of Uttaramerur shall convene an assembly kuri with the help of the Arbitrator. The committees shall be appointed by drawing pot-tickets according to this order of settlement.

Pancavara and Gold Committees

For the Pancavara committee and the Gold
 committee, names shall be written for pot-tickets in the thirty wards. Thirty packets with covering tickets shall be deposited in a pot and thirty pot-tickets shall be drawn as previously described. From these thirty tickets chosen, twenty-four shall be for the Gold committee and the remaining six for the Pancavara committee. When drawing pot-tickets for these two committees next year, the wards which have been already represented during the year in question on these committees shall be excluded and the reduction made from the remaining wards by drawing theKarai. One who has ridden on an ass and one who has committed forgery shall not have his name written on the pot-ticket to be put into the pot.

Qualification of the Accountant 

Any Arbitrator who possesses honest earnings shall write the accounts of the village. No accountant shall be appointed to that office again before he submits his accounts for the period during which he was in office to the great men of the big committee and is declared to have been honest. The accounts which one has been writing, he shall submit himself and no other accountant shall he chosen to close his accounts.

King's Order

Thus,
 from this year onwards, as long as the moon and the sun endure, committees shall always be appointed by pot-tickets alone. To this effect was the royal letter received and shown to us graciously issued by Lord of Gods, the emperor, one who is fond of learned men, the wrestler with elephants, the crest jewel of heroes, whose acts i.e., gifts, resemble those of the celestial tree, the glorious Parakesarivarman.

Officer Present

At the royal command, Karanjai Kondaya Kramavitta bhattan alias Somasiperuman of Srivanganagar in Purangarambai-nadu, a district of the Chola country, sat with us and thus caused this settlement to be made.

Villager’s Decision

We, the members of the assembly of Uttaramerur Caturvedimangalam, made this settlement for the prosperity of our village in order that wicked men may perish and the rest may prosper. 

The Scribe

At the order of the great men, sitting in the assembly, I, the Arbitrator Kadadippottan Sivakkuri Rajamallamangalapriyan, thus wrote this settlement.

http://www.vasucv.com/tirukkovil/uttara-inscriptions_files/image002.jpg

 http://www.vasucv.com/tirukkovil/uttara-inscriptions_files/image003.jpg

Full reading is at http://www.vasucv.com/tirukkovil/uttara-inscriptions.htm

S. Kalyanaraman, Director Sarasvati Research Centre

Kalyan97@gmail.com 15 Feb. 2010

http://www.scribd.com/doc/26863214/EVM-parakesarivarmachola

Intellectual property? 

There are two types of EVMs. One with date-time stamp (introduced for 2009 polls by ECI) and another WITHOUT such stamping feature. According to ECI website, the processor chip is imported from Japan.

In reality, the microchips are delivered by Microchip USA and Renesas Japan local agents to ECIL and BEL from Microchip, USA and Renesas, Japan as masked microchips (to ECIL) or One time programmable read only memory (OTP-ROM) microchips (to BEL).

The following is the status of the patent pending according to the World Intellectual Property Organization website:

EVM India, BEL's application of 2002 for patent. http://www.sumobrain.com/patents/wipo/Electronic-voting-machine-evm/WO2002084607.html

http://www.wipo.int/pctdb/en/wo.jsp?WO=2002084607

Report generated on: 14.02.2010 http://www.wipo.int/pctdb/iasr?IA=IN2002000043&LANGUAGE=EN&ID=0&VOL=0&DOC=0&WO=02/084607&WEEK=null&TYPE=&DOC_TYPE=IASR&PAGE=1 Intl. Application status report

http://www.wipo.int/pctdb/en/wads.jsp?IA=IN2002000043&LANGUAGE=EN&ID=09006361800979b0&VOL=17&DOC=006533&WO=02/084607&WEEK=43/2002&TYPE=A1&DOC_TYPE=PAMPH&PAGE=1 Drawings

 

Figure 18 shows the state transition diagram of voting process. It also gives the different state of the machine and change over from one state to other. 

http://www.wipo.int/pctdb/en/wads.jsp?IA=IN2002000043&LANGUAGE=EN&ID=09006361800979b0&VOL=17&DOC=006533&WO=02/084607&WEEK=43/2002&TYPE=A1&DOC_TYPE=PAMPH&PAGE=1 Figure 18

Title:

ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINE (EVM)

Abstract:

The ballot unit (BU) which contains sixteen candidate buttons and indicator lamps for each candidate button is interconnected to control unit (CU) through a five-meter-length twenty-five core flat jacketed cable. The control unit (CU), initially set for a particular number of contesting candidates, activates the ballot unit (BU). The voting continues until all the voters cast their votes. On completion of voting, operating the close button (28) closes the control unit (CU), machine power switched off, and control unit (CU) is packed into carrying case and taken into the counting centers for the counting of votes. The result of the election is displayed on the display screen (12) upon pressing of a result button (29, 30) in the control unit (CU). The recorded votes cast against each candidate are displayed sequentially in the display screen (12) with a buzzer beep sound. The voting data is retained in the memory even if power is switched off. The machine can be used for conducting simultaneous elections using the auxiliary control unit (ACU) along with the main control unit (CU). The entire machine is operated by a 7.5V battery and allows the selection of a maximum of sixty-four contesting candidates. Compartments are provided in the machine constructed according to the invention with interlocking and thread sealing features, the machine thus being tamper proof, error free and easy to operate. The voting data recorded once are retained in the memory until it is erased by operating a clear button (31). The entire machine is constructed in injection moulded plastic for mass manufacture and fabricated of light weight. The machine is convenient to use and portable.

Inventors:

Rajagopalan, Jagannathan (353 11th Cross, 14th Main J.P. Nagar, II Phas, Bangalore 8 Karnataka, 560 07, IN)

Publication Date:

October 24, 2002

Filing Date:

March 13, 2002

Export Citation:

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Assignee:

BHARAT ELECTRONICS LIMITED (At Trade Center, 116/2 Race Course Roa, Bangalore 1 Karnataka, 560 00, IN) 
Rajagopalan, Jagannathan (353 11th Cross, 14th Main J.P. Nagar, II Phas, Bangalore 8 Karnataka, 560 07, IN)

International Classes:

G07C13/00

Attorney, Agent or Firm:

Alamelu, Vaidyanathan (451 2nd Cross, 3rd Block 3rd Stage, Basaveshwaranaga, Bangalore 9 Karnataka, 560 07, IN)

Claims:

CLAIMS

1.

An Apparatus for conducting elections for Parliament, State Assembly, Municipal and other local bodies on the majority voting scheme as per constitution of India on   secret ballot and one voteronevote principle comprising. a) A control unit having an OTP Micro controller (One time programmable) to collect, record and store, count and display, a non volatile data memory being interfaced serially to the Microcontroller, the said memory stores the data during voting process, the various control signals are generated through the shift register, a power monitoring circuit to generate the reset to the Microcontroller, a seven segment drivedecoder to generate display data, a ballot unit interface along with the necessary connector, all being housed in a housing, the top portion of the control unit being divided in to four sections i. e., (i) A display section consisting of two lamps ON to indicate that the machine is ready for use and BUSY to indicate that the voter can record his vote, and the display panelsone of 2 digits and the other of four digits to display the   no of candidates, total number of votes polled, individual votes for each candidate and the errors, if any, (ii) Candidate set section divided into two parts, one having"Candidate Set Button"to set the number of contesting candidates, the other part for carrying the power pack, two doors, one to cover the candidate set button individually and the other which covers the entire section, (iii) Result section divided into two parts, one having the close button to close the polling operations, the other part divided into three sub sections wherein result I and Result II buttons and clear buttons are housed, the result buttons are used to display the results and clear button is used to clear the previous voting records, two separate doors, one to lock the result button sub sections and another to cover the entire section and (iv) Ballot section wherein"ballot button"to permit the voter to cast a vote and total buttons to show the total number of votes polled are housed, and (b) a ballot unit having a base which encloses a printed circuit board and a cover thereof, a connector box for inter connecting cables to the control unit, sixteen push button voting switches (one switch for each contesting candidates), an indicator lamp which glows when the voter is permitted to vote, a slide switch to indicate the ballot unit number.

 

2.

Apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein multilevel thread sealing provision is made to protect against any possible tampering.

 

3.

Apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the control unit and ballot unit are made by injection moulded plastic parts, fastenerless heat sealing assembly technique, which provides consistent quality for mass production at economical cost.

 

4.

Apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein said base comprises of rectangular moulded base providing locating latches, guides for inserting PCB, self tapping bosses to fix PCB, heat sealing pipes to seal door II & III, cutout for accommodating rear door and pips with depression for fixing serial number plate.

 

5.

Apparatus as claimed in claim 1, including cover, rectangular moulded part contains   compartments for ballot, total, close, result I, result II, cand. set and clear buttons, a cavity to accommodate doors II, door III & door IV, a compartment for power pack, windows for ON, Serial number, Votes and busy indication, protrusion to hold the rear door, counter bore to fix cover to base at the four locations with selftapping screws.

 

6.

Apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein said door I is a moulded cover including cutouts to reach result keys form cover, latches to open from inside, lugs for thread   sealing to the cover.

 

7.

Apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein said door II is a cover hinged to base and enclosing the close, results and clear button, Slots for latching to base, and slant surface with hole to thread seal to the base.

 

8.

Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 including door III comprising moulded panel hinged to base enclosing cand. set switch, power pack compartments, slot for latching to base, and slant surface with hole to thread seal to the base.

 

9.

Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 including door IV, comprising moulded cover hinged to the main cover and enclosing cand. set swich and lugs for thread sealing to the cover.

 

10.

Apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein a panel enclosing the out going connector compartment, rotates and opens out for interconnection, latch and thread sealing lugs on both sides. 1I.

 

11.

Apparatus as claimed in claim 1, including spacers for sandwich mounting of PCB between base and cover.

 

12.

Apparatus as claimed in claim 1, including the construction of recessed switch knob to ensure deliberate pressing by voter to record the votes.

 

13.

Apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein said base is a rectangular moulded panel with self tapping holes to fix PCB, provision for fixing stand, compartment for connector interconnecting and sealing pipes to fix serial number plate.

 

14.

Apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein said base is a rectangular moulded panel with self tapping holes to fix PCB, provision for fixing stand, Compartment for connector interconnecting and sealing pipes to fix serial number plate.

 

15.

Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 including cover, rectangular moulded panel with oblong cutouts to operate switch knob to register the vote, stepped slot to fit cover ballot sheet, slots to hold right and left flops at extreme corners and pips for fixing hinges at the bottom side.

 

16.

Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 including PCB cover, rectangular panel enclosing the PCB and provided ing holes for inserting sixteen sets of switch and close knobs.

 

17.

Apparatus as claimed in claim 1, including cover ballot sheet, transparent cover for inserting paper containing name, serial number and election symbol of contesting candidates, fixed to cover with round latch for easy rotation.

 

18.

Apparatus as claimed in claim 1, including switch knob and closing knob constructed in that form to operate one at a time in the oblong opening, the construction of movement of one knob brings other knob into position.

 

19.

Apparatus as claimed in claim 1, including flap right and left enclosing latch of main cover and provided with thread sealing slots to cover and base to protect against possible tampering by the voters.

 

20.

Apparatus as claimed in claim 1, including door connector box, moulded cover enclosing rear compartment to protect cascading connector and cable.

 

21.

Apparatus as defined in claim 1, including the signal integrity established between   Microcontroller, Data memory and ballot unit so that these three will work in unified manner.

 

22.

Apparatus as claimed in claim 1, including the construction of Battery pack in moulded case with polarised plug, which is unique and fool proof that different battery cannot be used along with Low battery indication means to facilitate replacement of battery at any stage of polling process and the process can be continued without any loss of voting data.

 

23.

Apparatus as claimed in claim 1, including the powering scheme of ballot units from the control unit, which gives a unique nature of signal integrity (Scanning process) for the machine, high current drivers used to drive the ballot unit to cater to the twentymeter distance between the polling officer and voting compartment and the slide switch setting in ballot unit makes it unique and cannot be interchanged during poll.

 

24.

Apparatus as claimed in claim 1, including the method MicroController (OTP) used to store the firmware, which cannot be changed or modified once fused, the non volatile data memory (EEPROM) is tightly coupled to the microcontroller through unique protocol to store the data during the voting process, and every time the microcontroller checks the check sum of the data memory (EEPROM) to establish link to proceed with the voting process, in case of mismatch the machine displays Er message, which eliminates the tampering the micro controller of EEPROM by replacement of external components.

 

25.

Apparatus as claimed in claim 1, including the scheme of data memory written in encrypted form and has been split into two banks and the ballot counting is stored in both banks, at every instance of a change in the data memory, the data is stored in two different ways and both are verified to check the correctness of the operation and the data can be decrypted only by the firmware in the micro controller, hence it is not possible to corrupt firmware of data by any known means.

 

26.

Apparatus as claimed defined in claim 1, including the implementation of effective   redundancy scheme with two independent nonvolatile memory devices (EEPROM) to store the data, effectively four banks are used to store data and at every operation all the four banks are checked and atleast two banks should contain the correct data as per the firmware's expectations and if data are not found in atleast any of the two banks then a fatal error is declared and the whole unit is unusable at this state.

 

27.

Apparatus as defined in claim 1, including the printing of stored data memory through a printer interface module at any number of times in the life of the machine unless deliberately erased by operating the clear button. This emulates the manual ballot paper method as per the constitutional requirements.

 

28.

Apparatus as defined in claim 1, including the unidirectional operational sequence of Machine in which a) Contesting candidate setting cannot be changed unless the   result is seen once, b) Votes cannot be cast on the machine unless it is in the cleared condition (Previous voting data erased), c) Votes cannot be added to the machine once it is closed (by pressing the close button), d) Result cannot be seen unless the machine is closed, e) The machine cannot be cleared unless the result is seen at least once and the clearing operation requires the ballot unit inter connection, which eliminates accidental erasing.

 

29.

Apparatus as defined in claim 1 including the regulation of voting in which the machine accepts maximum of 5 votes per minute and this feature discourages rigging and both capturing.

Description:

This Invention relates to an Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) PREAMBLE The prior art is known as manual ballot paper voting method in which every voter is provided with a ballot paper containing serial number, names of the contesting candidates, their election symbol and space to record votes. The recording of vote is done by putting'X mark using rubber stamp in the space provided against the candidate in the ballot paper. After recording vote, the voters deposit the ballot paper in a sealed metallic box (Ballot box). On completion of voting, the ballot papers are taken to the counting centers. The seals of ballot box is opened in the presence of candidates/agents and the votes are counted manually by identifying'X'stamp mark against the candidate. The candidate who secured highest number of votes is declared winner as per the constitution of India.

The shortcomings of the prior art (manual ballot paper voting method) are 1. Involves printing of huge volume of ballot paper.

2. Storage and distribution of ballot paper requires large manpower and security.

3. Accounting and issue of ballot paper is a tedious work and error prone.

4. Manual counting of votes requires large manpower, time and prone to human error.

5. Re-counting is time consuming and costly.

6. Segregation of invalid votes is cumbersome and leads to disputes lfights, among candidates.

7. Manual voting is prone to mal-practices, booth capturing-not tamper proof.

Due to the ever increasing population and frequency of elections, there is a definite need to bring out improvement over manual ballot paper voting method, which is 1. Fool proof, trouble free and cost effective.

2. To conduct election, paper less and count the votes automatically, so that the result can be declared immediately.

3. To eliminate the invalid votes so that the dispute of segregation of invalid votes eliminated.

4. Reduce the overall election expenditure, to the government (The election expenditure is increasing due to the frequent elections).

5. Reduce drastically the volume of Ballot paper printing from the current requirement of more then 70 million papers for manual voting for one general election (Papers less system) The Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) of the present invention is provided with all the \ above needed improvements over the manual ballot paper voting method which are explained in the succeeding paragraphs.

Summary of the invention.

The present invention relates to an Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) consisting of Control Unit (CU) and Ballot Unit (BU) for conduct of elections in place of conventional manual ballot paper voting method. The invention totally replaces the existing manual

method by the use of apparatus constructed in accordance to the invention and operational requirements as per the constitution of India for fool proof, error free and cost saving way to conduct elections for electing members of state assembly, parliament and other municipal bodies based on majority voting scheme. The apparatus of the invention is convenient, simple to operate and portable. Another important feature of this machine is the facia construction of the control unit and ballot unit, which is as per the constitutional requirement of India. Use of this machine eliminates invalid voters, cumbersome procedure and disputes in segregation of invalid votes as in manual ballot voting scheme. By the use of EVM, the labour can be minimized at poling centers as well as counting centers. The feature of the machine are illustrated below.

The Electronic voting machine of the present invention consists of two units, i. e. a balloting unit which the voter operates to exercise his/her franchise and a control unit which controls the polling process. It is operated by the Presiding Officer or the First Polling Officer.

The Control Unit (CU) constructed in accordance with a invention is built around a Micro - Controller [One time Programmable (OTIR)]. The control unit is divided into four sections, i. e. a. display section, b. candidate set section, c. result section and d. ballot section. The said sections, are provided with seven control buttons namely cand. set, ballot, close, result I, result B, total and clear buttons. Light emitting diode (LED) indicates ON and BUSY condition of the machine. Six digits of seven segment LED is

provided for the display of result and error messages. Operation of cand. set switch sets the number of contesting candidate in control unit. Ballot switch operation energizes the ballot unit, receives and records one vote in control unit. Close button operation ends the voting process, The machine records the total number of votes polled and votes against each contesting candidate during the polling. On the operation of Result switch, the vote recorded against every contesting candidate is displayed sequentially. Clear operation erases all previous voting data stored in the machine. Print of recorded voting data is obtained through a printer interface unit.

The Ballot Unit (BU) constructed in accordance with the invention has sixteen (16) push button voting switches and indicator lamps. The voting buttons are provided in a recessed oblong cutout in the cover so that the buttons are deliberately pressed by the voters for recording of votes and not by accidental pressing. The top cover has a transparent cover for inserting ballot paper to display the names of contesting candidates, their serial number and election symbol. This cover can be sealed inside the panel by thread seal to protect the ballot paper against any tampering. Green LED lamp is provided for indicating the energized condition of the machine to the Voter. Five meter flat cable provides interconnection to the control unit to receive the signal. Slide Switch is used to indicate the ballot unit number, which is set depending on the number of contesting candidates. The rear compartment receives the interconnecting cable of the cascading ballot unit when the machine is used for more than sixteen contesting candidates.

The machine is constructed using injection moulded plastic parts, which provides consistent quality, high volume output for mass production. Fastnerless assembly of plastic components used in the construction of machine to achieve consistent quality and cost effective product. The voting machine designed with injection moulded carrying cases for movement/transportation to any location for usage. The machine constructed to operate with 7.5V battery power source. It can be deployed in places where no electrical power is available. Machine construction with multilevel interlocking panels/section makes it fool proof, easy to use by common man.

Other features and advantages of the machine will be apparent from the following description, the accompanying drawings and the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS: Fig. 1 shows the perspective view of control unit to control the polling process, which is constructed in accordance with the invention.

Fig. 2 is a fragmentary perspective view showing hinging arrangement of Door I & Door II to the Base of the control unit.

Fig. 3 is a fragmentary perspective view of showing the rear door of the control unit.

Fig 4 is a fragmentary perspective view of the control unit base showing the assembly of Printed Circuit Board (PCB).

Fig 5 is a perspective view of the control unit in fully assembled conditions showing four sections, of the control unit namely A) Display section B) candidate section, C) Result section D). Ballot section.

Fig 6 is an exploded view of control unit showing parts constructed in accordance with the invention.

Fig 7 shows view of switch knob and closing knob of Ballot Unit constructed in accordance with the invention.

Fig 8 is a fragmentary perspective view illustrating the arrangements of hinge, flap right, cover LED red.

Fig. 9 is a perspective view of Ballot unit, which is constructed in accordance with the invention.

Fig. 10 is a perspective view of internal construction of ballot unit.

Fig. ll is a fragmentary perspective view illustrating door connector box with cable clamp, lockingpin with flaps and rubber stand Fig. 12 is an exploded view of balloting unit constructed in accordance with the invention.

Fig. 13. is a diagram of Auxiliary Control Unit (ACU) constructed in accordance with the invention.

Fig. 14 is a schematic block diagram of Control Unit constructed in accordance with the invention.

Fig. 15 is a schematic block diagram of Ballot Unit constructed in accordance with the invention.

Fig. 16 is the connectivity scheme EVM for single poll mode.

Fig. 17 is the connectivity scheme of EVM for dual poll mode.

Fig. 18 is the state transition diagram of Electronic Voting Machine constructed in accordance with the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT : Referring the drawing of the Control Unit illustrated in Fig. l includes an aesthetically designed plastic molded base 2 which enclosed Printed Circuit Board 35 (PCB) shown in Fig. 4 and cover 1 consists of four sections Display Section, Candidate Section, Result Section and Ballot Section as shown in fig. 5. a) Display Section consists of two lamps ON, Busy, and two display panels, one of 2 digits and other of 4 digits. (Fig. 5) b) The Candidate Section (fig. 5) has a cover, which opens from, left to right. On opening its cover by pressing the latch on the left-hand side, two compartments are seen. The left compartment is for the battery 34 rated 7.5V, 2Ah. In the right compartment, a Candid button is located. The Candidate Set Section is closed and sealed by Door I as shown in (fig. 1). c) The cover of the Result Section has an elliptical aperture on the left hand side through which the close button is seen. The left portion of the Result Section

houses a black close button. The right portion contains an inner compartment with its own door. The door of the inner compartment has two elliptical apertures through which buttons marked Resuft I and Resuft H is seen. The inner door can be opened by inserting the thumb and a finger through the two apertures above the Result I and Result II'buttons'and then pressing the inner latches simultaneously slightly inwards. On opening the door of the inner compartment by inserting forefinger and thumb through the holes which are marked Result I and Result H and pressing the latches and pulling the cover up, there are two frames around the two apertures for fixing green paper seals. The inner compartment has three sub-sections with two yellow buttons marked Result I and Result Il and a white Aearbutton. d) In the ballot section, there are two buttons-a Grey Total button 32 (fig. 6) and a large blue ballot button as indicated in fig. 5.

The cover 1 (fig. 5) defines four sections namely a. Display section, b. Candidate section, c. Result section and d. Ballot Section.

The base 2 (fig. 6) has provision to mount printed circuit board 35 (PCB) using self tapping screws 37. It has also a compartment with rear door 3 (fig. 6) This rear door is hinged in the bottom and opens swinging downwards, when the latch in the middle is pressed downwards. This has a provision for thread sealing. The rear door when opened will reveal a socket on the left hand side for plugging the interconnecting cable from the

ballot unit and a toggle switch 36 in the middle for switching the EVM ON or OFF (Fig. 3).

The door I 4 (fig. 5) is a protection cover for result section. Door I when opened reveal knob (Result I) 29; Knob (Result II)30 ; and knob (clear) 31 (fig. 6) & has provision for thread sealing. The insert 16 (Fig. 5) is used for the thread sealing of the result section.

Two elliptical cutouts are provided in the door 4 to access Result I, Result II and Clear - buttons.

The door II referred by reference numeral S (fig. 5) is the top cover of the result section having an elliptical cutout for the knob (close) 28 {fig. 6). The elliptical cutout is sealed by plate-paper seal 26 (fig. 5) and green paper seal. The door in indicated by reference numeral 6 (fig. 5) is a protection cover for candidate set section with provision for thread sealing. The door in when opened will reveal battery compartment and candidate compartment. The candidate set compartment is accessed by opening door IV (cand. set) 7 (fig. 5) by removing thread sealing. The knob (cand. set) 27 (fig. 6) can then be operated.

The hinge 8 (fig. 4) shows the hinging action of the door It 5 & door in 6 with the cover.

The plexy glass display 12 (fig. 6) is a red acrylic sheet to view the digits of 7-segment display mounted on the Printed Circuit Board (PCB). There are 2 digits for serial number and 4 digits for number of votes. There are seven knob bases 11 (fig. 6) used for the seven different knobs such as knob 27 (cand. set). Knob 28 (close), knob 29 (result I), knob 30 (result 1I), knob 31 (clear), knob 32 (total) and knob 13 (Ballot) (Fig. 6). The

knob (ballot) 13 (fig. 6) is a dark blue colour plastic button to register vote. Cover 38 is provided for the green LED.

The bush short 14 (fig. 6) and bush long 15 (fig. 6) are assembled after mounting the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) on to the base of the control unit. The pin (door IV) 22 and hinge (door IV) 23 (Fig. 5) are required to assemble door IV onto the cover of the control unit. At first hinge and door IV are assembled by using pin (door IV) and then the door IV assembly is fixed to the cover by heat sealing as shown in fig. 6.

The washer 24 (fig. 6) are used along with five knobs namely knob (cand. set). Knob (close), knob (result I), knob (result II) and knob (clear) It gives cushioning effect to the knobs. It is made out of foam. The washer 25 (fig. 6) are used to fix display Printed Circuit Board (PCB) rigidly on to the base of the control unit. After mounting the display board on the base, washer is placed and then fixed by screws. Rubber cap 33 (Fig. 6) is fixed to cover screw head.

Referring to the drawings, the ballot unit illustrated in fig. 10 includes a rectangular plastic moulded base 39, which encloses PCB cover & PCB (not shown). It also encloses door connector box 64 (fig. 11) for interconnecting cable. The base has got a rubber stand 40 as shown in fig. 7. The cover 42 (fig. 10) defines cover ballot sheet 62 for inserting the ballot paper of the sixteen contestants, cover (ready Light Emitting Diode (LED) 44 (fig. 10) & Light Emitting Diode (LED) cover 45 (fig. 10). It protects ballot paper. The cover 42 & base 39 of the ballot unit are assembled with two numbers of

plastic hinges 46 (fig. 8) and the cover ballot sheet is assembled with locking pins 47 and 48 (fig. 11). The hinges are assembled to the base and cover by heat sealing process.

The Printed Circuit Board (PCB) cover 49 (fig. 12) is a rectangular plastic moulded part, dark Grey in colour having provision for sixteen closing knobs 50 (fig. 7), sixteen switch knobs 51 (fig. 7). This protects Printed Circuit Board (PCB) 63 (Fig. 12) from tampering.

It is fixed to the base by screws. The closing knob 50 (fig. 7) used for blocking the switch knob 51. In order to access the switch knob 51 one has to open the closing knob.

This is used during polling depending on the number of contestants in fray.

Locking pin 52 (fig. 12) used for closing & opening the cover and base of the ballot unit.

Flap right 53 (fig. 11) and flap left 54 (fig. 11) are used for covering locking pin 52 after latching the cover to base. Bracket 55 (fig. 10) used for clamping the interconnecting cable at two places after crimping the 25 core flat cable to the 25-pin dip header, which is soldered to the Printed Circuit Board (PCB). Support LED 56 (fig. 12) is a plastic moulded part in which ready LED assembly is mounted in order to avoid damage during operation and transportation of the Ballot Unit.

Rubber Stand 40 (Fig. 7) supports the ballot unit while placing on table during operation.

It is a plastic moulded part having provision for fixing serrated rubber stand 41 (fig. 7).

Rubber foot 57 (Fig 11) prevents sliding of the ballot unit from the table while the unit is in operation. Clamp cable 58 (fig. 11) clamps the interconnecting cable of the cascading

Ballot unit (incase of more than sixteen contesting candidates), 25 contact sub connector) inside the connector box compartment of the ballot unit.

Interconnecting cable 59 (Fig. 9) is a sheathed 25 core flat cable, one end of which is permanently attached to the Ballot unit. The other end is with 25 contact D-sub connector with hood for connecting it to the control unit. Ready lamp 60 (Fig. 9) is on the top left side of the Ballot unit. This lamp glow when the presiding officer presses the'Ballot button3 on the control unit enable the voter to record his vote. It goes off when the voter has recorded his vote.

Slide switch 61 window (Fig 10) is on the top right side of the Ballot unit. The slide switch inside the Ballot unit is used to set the Ballot Unit for 1-16, 17-32, 33-48 or 48-64 positions in cascading configurations. Sixteen candidates button 51 (Fig. 7) provide convenient access for the voter to record his/her vote by pressing the candidate's button against the name and symbol of the candidate of his 1 her choice. When the button is pressed the lamp on the left side of that button glows and voters choice is recorded.

Provision for insertion of ballot paper 43 (fig. 12) is provided on the top cover of ballot unit. The ballot paper contains serial number, names and symbols of the contesting candidates. A transparent polycarbonate sheet 62 covers the ballot sheet 43 (Fig. 12) to protect the said ballot paper.

Referring to the diagram 13, Auxiliary control unit is constructed by means of cover 65, base 66, Printed Circuit Board (PCB) 67, inter-connecting cable 68 to connect to the main

control unit. The PCB is held by self-tapping screws 69, cover and base is held by screws 70, ballot knob 71 is inserted into the packet in the cover and knob base 72 is fitted from inside. Partition box 73 is used to control light dispersion on indicator. Rear door 74 provides access to connect Ballot Unit and Cable Clamp 75 is used to Clamp the Cable.

Referring to the diagram 14 which shows the block level details of hardware construction of control unit built around a Micro-controller (One Time Programmable). The non- volatile data memory is interfaced serially to the Micro controller. All the required control signals are generated through the shift register. In order to have an orderly power up and power down sequence, power monitoring circuit (DS1231) is used. To protect EEPROMs during power up and power down, the low voltage detector in the power monitor is used. Additionally, the reset signal also inhibits the write operation under low voltage condition. A seven-segment drive-decoder is used to generate display data. In order to reduce the hardware complexity, these displays are driven in a multiplexed mode using an 8-digit, high current display driver.

Minimum numbers of components have been used to construct the machine to keep cost and power consumption at optimum. Industrial grade and surface mount technology have been used to achieve high reliability. The total hardware has been populated in only three PCBs with minimum number of interconnections to provide high field reliability and serviceability. Signal integrity is established between Micro-controller, Data memory and

ballot unit so that these three will work in unified manner. Without connecting the ballot unit the voting is not possible.

The battery is packaged in moulded case with polarized plug, which is unique and fool proof that different battery can not be used. Low battery indication is provided in the machine to facilitate replacement of battery at any stage of polling process and the process can be continued. The ballot units are powered from the control unit, which gives a unique nature of signal integrity (Scanning process) for the machine. High current drivers are used to drive the ballot unit to cater to the twenty-meter distance between the polling officer and voting compartment. The slide switch setting in ballot unit makes it unique and cannot be interchanged during poll.

Micro-controller (One Time Programmable) is used to store the firmware, which cannot be changed or modified once fused. The non-volatile data memory (EEPROM) is tightly coupled to the micro-controller through unique protocol to store the data during the voting process. Every time the micro-controller checks the check sum of the data memory (EEPROM) to confirm data integrity, otherwise the machine displays Er, which eliminates the tampering the micro-controller or EEPROM by replacement of external components.

The data memory is written in encrypted form and has been split into two banks and the ballot counting is stored in both banks. 2 Nos. are used for redundancy and hence voting data is stored at 4 locations. At every instance of a change in the data memory, the data

stored in 4 locations are verified to check the correctness of the operation. The data can be decrypted only by the firmware in the micro-controller. Hence it is not possible to corrupt the firmware or data by any known means.

To have effective redundancy, two independent non-volatile memory devices (EEPROM) are used. Effectively four banks are used to store data and at every operation all the four banks are checked and at-least two banks should contain the correct data as per the firmware's expectations. If data are not found in at-least any of the two banks then a fatal error is declared and the whole unit is unusable at this state.

The stored data can be read and printed through a printer interface module at any number of times in the life of the machine unless deliberately erased by operating the clear button. This emulates the manual ballot paper method as per the constitutional requirements.

Figure 15 shows switch and LED matrix interfaced to Control unit.

Figure 16 shows the connectivity details of electronic voting machine for single poll mode.

Figure 17 shows the connectivity details of electronic voting machine for dual poll mode where in the EVM is deployed for parliament and assembly elections simultaneously.

Figure 18 shows the state transition diagram of voting process. It also gives the different state of the machine and change over from one state to other. The state transition has

been done to prevent mal-practices and to strictly follow the procedure of voting as per the constitutional requirements.

OPERATION : Before the Electronic Voting Machine is sent to the Polling Stations, the Ballot Unit has to be prepared by the Officer-in-charge as given below: a) Inserting the Ballot paper, b) Masking the Candidate's buttons, which are not required to be used, c) Setting the Slide Switch at the appropriate position, i. e. 1,2,3, or 4 as the case may be according to the number of such units which are to be used depending upon the number of candidates and the sequence in which, they are to be used and d) Sealing the unit.

After taldng out the Ballot Unit from the carrying case, the top cover of the unit may be opened carefully by pressing simultaneously, towards the right, the latches at the top and bottom on the right edge of the unit (fig. 11), and swinging the cover up. (fig. 13).

OPENING OF BALLOT PAPER SCREEN Open the Ballot Paper Screen, which is a transparent acrylic sheet, hinged to the top cover on the extreme left side. The release latches of the screen are inside the top cover (Fig. 9). By pressing the latches simultaneously, first slightly towards right and then pushing them downwards, the Ballot Paper Screen will become free for opening on the

upper side of the said top cover. While opening the screen care should be taken to ensure that it is not damaged.

FIXING OF BALLOT PAPER Place the Ballot Paper in the space provided for the purpose on the upper side of the top cover. Align the Ballot paper properly so that each candidate's name and his symbol are in line with the corresponding Candidate's lamp and button. After ensuring this alignment, close and press fit the Ballot Paper Screen to secure the Ballot Paper firmly underneath that screen.

After the Ballot Paper has been firmly fixed and the Ballot Paper Screen has been pressed fit on the upper side of the Top Cover, the screen is to be sealed on the inner side of the Top Cover. This is to be done by passing the thread through the two holes on the screen specially provided for the purpose and by putting the thread seal on the prescribed address tag showing the particulars of the election with the seal of the Returning Officer.

MASKING OF CANDIDATES'BUTTONS If the number of Candidates on the ballot paper is less than 16, the white masking tabs should be moved onto the Candidates'buttons not required to be used.

SETTING OF SLIDE SWITCH Inside the Ballot Unit on the top right side, there is a Slide Switch, which has four positions 1, 2,3 and 4. If only one Ballot Unit is to be used, set this Switch to the position marked '1'. If two ballot Units are to be used, set this Switch to the position marked '1' in the Ballot Unit in which the names of the Candidates at Sl. Nos. 1 to 16 appear, and in the second Ballot Unit set this Switch to the position marked'2'. If three Ballot Units are to be used, the Slide Switch will be set to the position marked'1'in the first Ballot Unit in which the names of candidates at Sl. Nos. 1 to 16 appear, to the position marked'2'in the second Ballot Unit in which the names of contesting candidates at Sl. Nos. 17 to 32 appear, and to the position marked'3'in the third Ballot Unit. Likewise, if the 4* Ballot Unit is also to be used if the number of contesting candidates exceeds 48, then the Slide Switch will be sent to the position marked'4'in the last Ballot Unit.

Position 1 Position 2 Position 3 Position 4

SEALING OF BALLOT UNIT Close the Ballot Unit by bringing the top cover back to its original position. Pass two threads, one through the three holes at the top and the other through the three holes at the bottom provided for the purpose and seal each thread with Returning Officer's seal.

CONTROL UNIT The Control Unit is to be prepared by the Returning Officer by- a) Installing the Power Pack. b) Setting the number of contesting candidates and c) Sealing the Candidate Set Section POWER PACK INSTALLATION Open the cover of the Candidate Set Section by pressing slightly inward the latch provided on the left side. Install the Power Pack specially supplied by mating the socket of the Power Pack to the plug. Ensure that Power Pack is pressed tight.

SETTING THE NUMBER OF CONTESTING CANDIDATES After connecting the Power Pack, open the compartment at the bottom of the Control Unit as explained above, and proceed as follows for setting the Number of contesting candidates :

a) Connect the Ballot Unit to the Control Unit by plugging the connector of the Interconnecting Cable in the socket in that compartment. As the connector and the plug are multi-pin connectors, it will need some practice to plug them properly.

The EVM will work only when this connection is made properly. b) After plugging the connector properly, push the'Power'switch to'ON'position.

It will give a beep sound and the"ON"lamp on the Display Section of the Control Unit will glow GREEN. c) After the'ON'lamp glows GREEN, press the'Cand Set'button in the Candidate Set Section. There upon the 2 digit Display Panel in the Display Section will now flash the letters'Cd'. d) When the letters'Cd'start flashing on the Display Panels on the Control Unit, press the Candidate's button against the last contesting candidate in Ballot Unit.

For example, if there are 9 contesting candidates, press the 9i candidate's button.

On that button being pressed, the Display Panels will stop flashing the letters 'Cd'. Instead, the full panel will start displaying the following information sequentially-

This way the machine is set for 9 contesting candidates. e) Switch OFF the EVM by pushing the"Power"switch downwards to OFF position and disconnect the Interconnecting cable from the control unit. For this purpose, the spring type clips on both sides of the connector hood should be pressed inward simultaneously and then the connector pulled out. Then close the door of the compartment at the bottom of the Control Unit.

SEALING THE CANDIDATE SET SECTION Close the flap which houses the Cand Set button and pass a thread through the two holes provided on the left side and seal with the seal of the Returning Officer. Then close the candidate set section and do the thread seal. While sealing take care that direct flame does not come in contact with the Control Unit and molten wax does not fall on any part of the Control Unit.

Put back the Ballot Unit and the Control Unit in their respective carrying cases. They are ready for transportation to the Polling Station.

On the day of Election, the presiding Office shall make the following preparations: The Ballot Unit sill be checked to see if the Ballot Paper is properly fixed in ballot display panel under the ballot paper screen and that the two seals are intact.

In the Control Unit, the presiding officer will check if the Candidate Set Section is intact and then connect the Ballot Unit to the Control Unit by plugging the connector of the

interconnecting cable, put the'Power'switch to'ON'position and then close the bottom compartment. Then open the'Result'Section in the Control Unit and press the'Clear' button to set all counts to'ZERO'. On completion of the clearing process, the display panel will start displaying that all counts are set to'ZERO'sequentially (i. e. one by one, the display panel will show the total number of candidates, total votes polled and number of votes for each candidate). If need be the presiding officer will conduct a"MOCK POLL"in the presence of some polling agents & others.

During the actual poll, the'Result Section'should be sealed, using special security paper serially numbered. This paper seal has to be firmly fixed in the inner cover frame of the Result Section. Here is also a provision for making a thread seal on the left side of the inner door. After this, the outer cover of the Result Section has to be pressed for closing this section.

PROCEDURE DURING POLL The Poll shall commence at the hour fixed for such commencement. After all procedural requirements relating to identification of voter, application of indelible ink on his/her forefinger and obtaining his/her signature/thumb impression in the Register of Voters have been completed with regard to the first voter, the voter concerned has to be allowed for recording his vote. For that purpose, press the'Ballot'button on Ballot Section of the Control Unit which would make the Ballot Unit ready for recording of the vote by that voter as has been explained herein above. Repeat that procedure every time the next voter

is to be allowed to record his vote. It should be ensured that only one voter goes inside the voting compartment to vote. Special care should be taken to ensure that a voter goes in that compartment in the same order in which his Name is entered in the'Register of Voters.'Also ensure that the Ballot button is pressed only when the earlier voter has come out of the voting compartment. At any time, if the total number of votes polled has to be ascertained,'Total'button should be pressed. The Display panel will then show the total number of votes polled by that time. Please remember that the'Total'button is to be pressed only when the'Busy'lamp is OFF.

After the close of the poll, the close button will be pressed. When this button is pressed the display panel will show the total number of candidates and the total number of votes polled during the day.

On the day of counting, after making the necessary checks, the Result button I in the Control Unit pressed to start the Result computation process. On completion of the result computation process, the total number of candidates, the total number of votes and the total number of votes for each candidate will be displayed in the'Display Panel' sequentially.  

While the form of apparatus herein described constitutes a preferred embodiment of the invention, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to this precise form of apparatus, and that changes may be made therein without departing from the scope and sprit of the invention as defined in the appended claims.

http://www.sumobrain.com/patents/wipo/Electronic-voting-machine-evm/WO2002084607.html

 

EVM and CYber law (ppt slides in pdf format): Presentation made in the Intl. conf. held on Feb. 13, 2010 in Chennai

Swamy for expert panel on secure EVMs

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT , The Hindu 

CHENNAI, February 13, 2010

http://beta.thehindu.com/multimedia/dynamic/00031/TH14SWAMY_31679f.jpg  Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy during a press meet in Chennai on Saturday. Photo: R. Ravindran

Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy on Saturday demanded that an independent expert committee be appointed to find out how electronic voting machines could be safeguarded securely.

Talking to journalists after an international conference on ‘Electronic voting machines: How Trustworthy?,’ convened by the Centre for National Renaissance, New Delhi, he said several countries had banned the use of EVMs. The international consensus was that EVMs were a danger to democracy as they were not trustworthy. The Election Commission had not demonstrated that EVMs could never be rigged. If the Commission wanted to continue their use, it should give a printed receipt to every voter just as people used to get in automated teller machines after cash withdrawal. This receipt was a requirement under the Information Technology Act of 2000, which the Commission was “adamantly and obstinately” refusing to comply with.

He said renowned computer experts were ready to demonstrate that EVMs could be rigged, and stressed the need for an in-built safeguard.

Dr. Swamy said the next date of hearing of his public interest litigation petition on the use of EVMs in the Delhi High Court was scheduled for February 17. He would urge the court to appoint an expert committee to find out how EVMs could be safeguarded securely.

About 35 experts from India, Germany, the Netherlands and the U.S. took part in the conference. Questioning the reliability of EVMs, they said even advanced countries were reverting to paper ballots as they felt that EVMs were not trustworthy.

Till Jaeger, Attorney, Supreme Court, Germany, said the German Supreme Court had said it did not matter that electronic voting machines were efficient. Their use was a violation of the fundamental right to information as the voter was unable to see clearly to whom he was casting his vote and how it was being counted. It was a constitutional principle in German law that the transparency of elections was more important than the efficiency of conducting elections.

Rop Gonggrijp, computer hacker specialist from the Netherlands, said the Election Commission’s claim that it had invented EVMs that could not be rigged was ridiculous. At no international meeting had the Commission proved the transparency of the EVMs. He felt there was no such thing as ‘unriggable or untamparable.’

J. Alex Halderman, Professor of Computer Science, University of Michigan, said that in the beginning, U.S. citizens were enamoured of the EVMs’ efficiency and modernity. Now they felt elections ‘could be stolen’ and were demanding paper ballots.

David L. Dill, Professor of Computer Science, Stanford University, in his letter to the Chief Election Commissioner, had said: “Computerised voting equipment was inherently subject to ‘programming error, equipment malfunction and malicious tampering.’ It was time to recognise the reality that there is no basis for public trust in paperless voting equipment.”

Charge against EC

Hariprasad, and V.V. Rao, software engineers, said the Commission did not allow them to complete their demonstration of the tamperability of EVMs. Commission officials abruptly aborted their demonstration, stating that they could not be allowed to continue as it involved the patent rights of the Electronic Corporation of India.

The conference unanimously resolved that in the interest of free and fair elections, the EVMs should provide a voter verifiable paper trail, and if it was not feasible, the Commission should return to the paper ballot system.

http://beta.thehindu.com/news/states/tamil-nadu/article106271.ece

By Express News Service 
14 Feb 2010 03:22:00 AM IST

 

Swamy for panel to check if EVMs can be tampered 

CHENNAI: In an effort to put an end to the ongoing controversy over electronic voting machines’ (EVMs) tamperability, Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy on Saturday said he would seek a court direction on forming a committee to look into the issue.

Speaking to reporters after a day-long international conference on EVMs here, Swamy said the hearing of his public interest litigation (PIL) on use of EVMs was scheduled to come up in Delhi High Court on February 17 where he would press for constituting an apt committee on the issue.

Reacting to questions on credibility of EVMs, Swamy said, “The machines can be tampered with at any level (regional and national level) during the polling season, and if there were no safeguards, the system itself should be scrapped and the country revert to the ballot paper system of voting.” Suggesting more transparency in EVMs to end controversies of tampering, Swamy said, “Voters casting their votes in EVMs should be given a receipt to show that the vote reached the intended candidate, which can be stored for future reference.” Challenging the Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla to prove credibility of EVMs in international forums, Swamy said, “ While all along he is saying that EVMs can’t be tampered with, the CEC never demonstrated the untamperability of EVM machines publicly.” “While many countries (including the electronically advanced nations) have banned the use of EVMs in their elections due to its vulnerability of tampering and due to lack of transparency in polling of votes, our CEC is propagating its usage here without allowing them for public scrutiny,’’ Swamy added.

Though Swamy had sent an invitation to Navin Chawla to attend the international conference here, he received a letter from the Election Commissioner that he was unwell and would not be able to attend it.

http://epaper.expressbuzz.com/NE/NE/2010/02/14/index.shtml

http://epaper.expressbuzz.com/NE/NE/2010/02/14/photographs/004/14_02_2010_004_002_002.jpg

 

Can't rule out electoral rigging, warn foreign experts

Chennai, New Indian Express, Feb. 13, 2010

 

IN the first of its kind inter national conference on elec tronic voting machine (EVMs) organised by th Centre For National Renais sance here on Saturday, ex perts who participated from countries like Ger many Netherlands, USA and Sr L a n k a m a i n t a i n e d t h a EVMs are tamperable an that was why many advance countries have now reverte to the old system of ballo papers in elections.

Dr Till Jaeger, Attorney i the Supreme Court of Ger many, and who presente cases related to bannin EVMs in the country, set th tone of the conference with his successive persuasion on court in ordering its ban in - the country . He narrated how - the Supreme Court finally s banned using EVMs in Gere many's general elections say - ing its usage was unconstitu - tional since it limited citizens from verifying their votes.

, Besides Jaeger, experts i from the Netherlands (Dr t Rop Gonggrijp) and the USA d (Prof J Alex Halder man) d proved with their presentad tions that revolved around t how these EVMs could be tampered with and affect the n results at large.

- Several countries in the d West have already banned g the use of EVMs in elections e and most recently, Italy and Japan also decided against using them due to lack of transparency and preferred to use the old system of ballot papers in casting votes which according to them was transparent.

In the interest of the electoral process remaining free and fair, transparent and accountable to the voter, the 50-odd participants unanimously resolved that the EVMs should provide a voter verifiable paper trail, and if not feasible, then the country should return to the paper ballot system.

The conference also decided to go for an action plan and for setting up a dedicated website to propagate the flaws in EVMs.

http://epaper.expressbuzz.com/NE/NE/2010/02/14/index.shtml

Resolution adopted by the participants at the above mentioned Conference on February 13, 2010 

      At the International Conference on EVMs, the participants consider in detail the current international practice and law relating to the deployment of EVMs, the evidence on and the scope for their tamper ability and the safeguards that are necessary to ensure that the deployment of EVMs, does not, in any manner, compromise the central requirements of transparency and accountability to the voter, at each and every stage of the election process. 

      In the interest of the electoral process remaining free and fair, transparent and accountable to the voter, the participants unanimously resolved that the EVMs should provide for an voter verifiable paper trail, and if not feasible then we should return to the paper ballot system.     

      The participants further resolved that, without such an auditable paper trail, the two essential requirements, namely transparency and accountability to the voter and the related requirement of verifiability of the validity of the votes cast by the voters envisaged under sections 100 and 101 of the Representation of People Act,  1951 will stand and seriously compromised as well as infringing Sections 11 to 14 of the Information Technology Act (2000) and the Indian Evidence Act (1872).

 Third Front's candidate to take EVM matter to court

STAFF WRITER 20:27 HRS IST

Aurangabad, Oct 17 (PTI) Alleging manipulation of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), the Republican Left Democratic Committee (RLDC) candidate from Latur City Assembly Constituency said today that he will take the matter to court.


The candidate, Anna Patil alleged that the EVMs were manipulated and the software of the machines was altered in such a fashion that whenever any button was pressed by voters, the vote went to the Congress candidates' account.

The Congress candidate from Latur City Assembly Constituency is Amit Deshmukh, son of former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.

After his allegations, the Returning Officer Vishambar Gawande held a demonstration yesterday in the presence of four candidates including Patil and BSP candidate Qayyum Khan.

He tried to explain how it is impossible to manipulate the EVMs. Patil, not satisfied by the demonstration, demanded to show the demonstration on the machines that were used on the polling day, and not on blank machines.

http://www.ptinews.com/news/335856_Third-Front-s-candidate-to-take-EVM-matter-to-court 


EVM fraud in AP: video on YouTube. Thanks to Senthil Raja for the link.



EVM fraud in AP: video on YouTube. Thanks to Senthil Raja for the link.


Stop press: EVM fraud on Oct. 13, 2009: YouTube video

EVM fraud on Oct. 13, 2009: YouTube Video.


EVM fraud in AP: video on YouTube. Thanks to Senthil Raja for the link.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2F0UHrBWaHM


Kalyanaraman


EVM Tampering demonstrated in Arunachal Pradesh on Oct. 13, 2009

 

http://psenthilraja.wordpress.com/2009/05/17/tampering-evms-some-references/

On this Senthil Raja’s blog a comment has been posted by Aingku inviting reference to the URL http://friends-of-ziro.blogspot.com/2009/10/evm-tampering.html 

The demonstrated tampering on a 1min. 18 sec video, is simple and dramatic. The sequence in which the four candidates were listed on EC documents were modified on the EVM polling unit. BJP-TMC candidates sequence was switched; INC-NCP candidates sequence was switched. IntenT? Simply to register BJP votes to TMC and vice-versa and INC Votes to NCP and vice-versa.

Did a similar switch take place during the Lok Sabha Elections in, say, select 100+ constituencies? If so, the EC should be made accountable in HC/SC to stop using the EVMs in future polls, until a proper audit trail is put in place and controls as in the case of ATMs of Banks.

kalyanaraman

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2009

History of sorts was created on October 13, 2009 when repolling was ordered in two polling stations at Ziro Assembly election. This is so unexpected of the people of Ziro who are known to be honest and peace-loving. I don't recall a single occasion when there was a repoll in Ziro-Hapoli constituency. It is shameful.

A sticker, exactly similar to the original one with the names of the candidates and the party symbols was printed and pasted over the EVM. The orders of the BJP and TMC candidates on the EVM was exchanged while those of the INC and NCP was exchanged. This manipulation does not seem to benefit either the INC or the TMC candidates who are considered the two strongest ones. Is it a case of an attempted cheating of the electronic machine by a candidate or just a mischief by a prankster? Whatever is the answer, it has cost the government dearly and caused lots of hardships to the voters. Especially this time of the year - the 
entii pillo

On the other hand, this single incident exposes one of the hitherto overlooked drawbacks of the much acclaimed electronic voting machine (EVM) introduced in India recently. Possibilities of tampering the EVM has been discussed in many 
forums, but no one had anticipated this seemingly simple one. One more agenda has been added to the training curriculum for the polling officers in the next election.

Cheating the machine. The case of tampering the Electronic Voting Machine. See Cheating or Mischief video at the website.

Evidence

 

People are now talking about the 'brains' of the Apatanis. Well, I like to take that as a compliment. At the same time, I like to take that as a challenge - the challenge to show the right direction to young people with such 'brains', as they can either be 
used or misused.

dream that we use them.

http://friends-of-ziro.blogspot.com/2009/10/evm-tampering.html

 

 













ECIL Engineers Test EVMs. 8.6% defective

September 26th, 2009

SEPPA: A first level checking of the EVMs was conducted at Seppa Election office, by the highly skilled team of ECIL Engineers headed by S.C Sarkar from Hydrabad.

Out of total 347 checked control unit 30 were found defective. At least 3 EVMs have been issued to the AROs of the various circle of the district so far- one each to ARO Seijosa, ARO Pijirang, ARO Bameng. Meanwhile a board has fixed Rs 200 per day for the porters.

http://arunachalnews.com/ecil-engineers-test-evms.html

EVM: Incompetence or Intent?

Recap from yesterday (Sept. 16, 2009):

The serious questions being asked include:

  • If the polling was not even complete how could “votes polled” data be available for all but 47 of the 8071 candidates?
  • If EVM’s were secure with DEO/district collectors, and elections were not even held in many constituencies, how was the data for 8023 candidates or all but 47 of the 8071 candidates available to the ECI on files downloaded between these dates?

…If this is a Mistake, Why No Clarifications from the ECI?

Read on:

On the 6th of May Anupam and Prof Nalapat asked the ECI to clarify whether the spreadsheet that had “votes polled” for each candidate contained test data, actual votes polled or was it a wrong file?

On 31st May, they made another formal request to the ECI specifically asking:

Can you kindly indicate what the data in the CandidateAC downloaded from http://eci.nic.in/candidateinfo/frmcandidate.aspx file between the 6th and 15th is? Why is the Final votes polled data not uploaded till date at this location? When do you plan to upload it?”

On the 7th of July 2009, they sent another, more detailed request for clarification.

The response of ECI?

Nothing…no comment at all.

This is hardly reassuring and raises all kinds of questions. The most important - however outrageous it may sound - being: “Were the results of some Lok Sabha constituencies decided even before polling?”

.

As Anupam and Prof Nalapat noted in their article in Covert, there are not too many ways in which the information about “votes polled” in the spreadsheet on the ECI website could have changed BEFORE the results were actually announced.

Realistically, this could have only happened if:

1.     Someone had hacked the file.

2.     The data from various EVMs had been uploaded to the private database, and this was used to create the public file.

3.     Someone who had access to the private database had actually added the data.

In their own words (emphasis mine):

The first possibility is serious, as it implies that the databases hosted by the ECI are not secure and can be compromised. The second is a violation of the ECI’s rule that no counting was to begin till 16 May. It also constitutes a breach of security, as the EVMs were supposed to be in safe custody in a strong room of the DEO [district election officer]. The third would imply that the election results were being decided by whoever had access to the private database. If the results were to be read only from the EVMs, why was a coded spreadsheet prepared? How could this spreadsheet have the data on “votes polled”?

Sceptics might say that the coded data containing information on the votes polled was test or dummy data. If so, why was this test or dummy data prepared? What was being tested? How was this test data generated? What were the results of the tests? Why was the data generated after the first three phases of polling, but before the fourth and fifth phases? Why was the data removed when there was no intention of loading real data into the file? Why was the dummy data coded? How do 108 winning candidates in the dummy data match the eventual winners?

If you are still not convinced that something has gone wrong somewhere, this last bitwill probably clinch the argument:

The various versions of the files downloaded from ECI website by Nalapat-Saraph on 6th, 7th and 11th May and the data were merged together along with the final results found on ECI site on June 2nd…

2. Candidates in every constituency were ranked as 1, 2 and 3 on the basis of the votes seen in ECI excel sheets on 6th, 7th and 11th May.
3. Then the same candidates were ranked within each constituency based on the votes recorded on June 2nd spreadsheet by ECI.

The Result?

1.     Out of 543 constituencies, we find 106 winning positions (rank 1) matched for all four dates

2.     80 candidates matched for the rank 2 and

3.     59 for the rank 3…

Basic probability theory suggests that such a coincidence is practically impossible…So what exactly was happening?

Will we ever find out? I am not hopeful.

Interestingly, buried within the avalanche of “breaking stories”, I found this snippet in the ET last week (emphasis mine):

CPM leaders (Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury), accompanied by member secretariat V Srinivasa Rao and a technical expert Prabir Purkayastha, told the commission and technical experts present at the meeting that both hardware and software should be in public domain. Further, it said the chips manufactured by ECIL, BEL should be allowed for yearly random third-party inspections either by NIC or IITs.

They said these steps were necessary to ‘restore the ‘confidence’ in EVMs as there have been “reporting of errors in some machines and discrepancies in results”.

A few weeks ago, during my last visit to Bharat, I met Anupam Saraph, Pune’s Chief Information Commissioner. I was introduced to Anupam via a chain triggered by Barun Mitra.

I was keen to meet him, especially as his profile seemed to be very very intriguing.  Anupam and I met on a rainy evening at ShivSagar restaurant (the best coffee for its price in Pune, I think!) and it was only around 10pm that I realised we had been talking for 3 hours!

What Anupam told me that day was unbelievable…So I asked him to email me more information. Within two days, Anupam sent me a bunch of links - all pointing to something that had gone seriously wrong with either EVMs, data upload by the Election Commission - or both (and possibly something else)

I hurriedly glanced through some of the links but decided to write about it on the blog only after I had gone through them in some detail.

I am glad I did. Below is a story about EVMS and some unanswered questions…in the words of Anupam and Prof M Nalapat. Do read and think about it. Reading about what they uncovered made me feel very uneasy…

I am now pretty sure that there is something that has gone wrong which we do not know about (yet).  Most of you will not be surprised that Anupam was hounded when he went public with his fears…and no mainstream newspaper would touch their report or findings (sole exception: Mid-Day in Mumbai).

If it was not for the internet, the story would have been censored and buried - never to see the light of the day.

In view of this report, the concern raised by Vidhya on one of my previous posts - ought to be taken seriously (Like most other readers, I too was guilty of dismissing the concerns as mere conjecture and a bit of “sour grapes”. I may have been very wrong). Read on:

.

From Tracking the Elections 2009 (emphasis mine):

Elections were held in 5 phases across India. The last phase of polling was completed on the 13th of May 2009. The counting of votes was to begin on the 16th of May 2009.

The data of various candidates could be obtained from the Election Commission of India’s website. In order to track the elections and upload candidate and constituency information onto this wiki, we accessed this website and regularly downloaded the CandidateAC file from there. This spreadsheet had various columns containing information of all candidates including their political affiliations, age, address etc. There was also a column for “votes polled” and some “coding” called “DECODE(FINALISED,’YES’,'FINALISED’,)”.

By virtue of the Election Rules no votes polled data/exit poll was to be available before the 16th of May 2009, least of all on the Election Commission of India Website.

The excel spreadsheets on candidate information for all India downloaded from the ECI website between the 6th and 15th of May had “coded” Candidate Names, Party Names and votes polled. Despite repeated queries the ECI has not clarified the meaning of this data. This has resulted in widespread speculation and raised serious questions about the the management and integrity of the democratic process.

The serious questions being asked include:

  • What was the coded data in the “votes polled” column in the versions of the spreadsheet downloaded between the 6th and 11th of May?
  • Why were the spreadsheets between these dates “coded” all of a sudden?
  • If the polling was not even complete how could “votes polled” data be available for all but 47 of the 8071 candidates?
  • If EVM’s were secure with DEO/district collectors, and elections were not even held in many constituencies, how was the data for 8023 candidates or all but 47 of the 8071 candidates available to the ECI on files downloaded between these dates?

  • If data in these files was test/dummy data, how does it match the winners in 108 constituencies or 106 according to another analysis?

  • If the the data in these files was test/dummy data, what was it testing? Why was this test taking place during the polling period?
  • What tests were these that required only some data to keep changing and others to remain unchanging?

*** To be continued ***

Rahul Mehta in Ahmedabad, has been raising similar issues for a long time now. Rahul is ex-IIT Delhi (Computer Science), founder of a political party/social movement and also contested from Gandhinagar this time.

Checkout his EVM related effort here:

http://satyameva-jayate.org/2009/09/16/evms-questions/


September 10, 2009 at 13:19:29


PAPERLESS ELECTRONIC ELECTION UPHELD BY GERMAN SUPREME COURT

By William J. Kelleher, Ph.D. 


In a ruling handed down earlier this year, Germany's highest court, the Federal Constitutional Court, upheld the constitutionality of recent elections to the German legislative branch known as the Bundestag (similar to the US Senate). An English translation of the ruling is now available.

Two of the losing candidates sued for "a scrutiny of the election," in the hope of having it invalidated. They first challenged the election in the Bundestag. After the Bundestag rejected their claims, they appealed to the High Court.


The Controlling Law

The Court declared the constitutional principles that it follows in cases like this. These principles are derived from the German Constitution, or "Basic Law." Article 38, section one, of the Basic Law states, in part, that "Members of the German Bundestag shall be elected in general, direct, free, equal, and secret elections." This has traditionally been interpreted to mean that elections should be conducted in ways that are consistent with the highest principles of democracy. Since the end of WWII, German law has developed and articulated these principles.

The Court stated, for example, "The public nature of elections is a fundamental pre-condition for democratic will-formation." Such public elections are also a "major precondition for the well-founded trust of citizens in the correct operation of the elections." (Para 107 et seq)

Public monitoring of elections is necessary "so that manipulation can be ruled out or corrected and unjustified suspicion can be refuted." Trust in elections is best assured only if they are carried out "before the eyes of the public." (Para 108) Hence, the conduct of elections should not require any specialized knowledge on the part of the voters.

The Complaints of the Challengers

The complainants contended, among other things, that the use of electronic paperless "computer-controlled voting machines" in this election violated Germany's Basic Law.

They argued, in effect, that to be democratic, at best elections should consist of voters marking paper ballots, which are then placed in boxes, counted by hand, and stored securely in case a re-count was called for. If voting machines are allowed, they should have a voter-verified paper audit trail to ensure the integrity of the election, and in case a re-count is needed.

One of the legal briefs filed in the case was by The Chaos Computer Club. (Para 86 et seq) They vehemently opposed the use of computer-controlled voting machines. They also argued that a voter-verified paper audit trail was essential for an honest vote count, and for a reliable re-count. Electronic machines do not give an actual re-count, but only the same count repeated. Besides that, the computer-controlled machines can be programmed prior to an election to adjust the vote and alter the outcome in ways that are undetectable. The "fix"can be programmed into the source code before the machines are used. During, or immediately after, the election the votes can be changed by a remote computer, or a nefarious insider. These suspicions are aggravated because Nedap, the company supplying the machines, insists on its right to keep their codes secret; hence, the entire election cannot be trusted.

Applying the Law

The Court explained that several factors are needed to satisfy the requirement of the "public nature" of elections. This includes that elections be based on laws written and passed according to the Basic Law, and supervised by public officials. Also, an election is "public in nature" because the public is participating in it. (Para 140-144) The Court noted that in a representative democracy, the people do not have to be directly involved in every detail. So long as they feel they have a satisfactory understanding of the process, and sufficient confidence in those who conduct the elections, the requirements for a public nature and public monitoring of elections are met.

The Court agreed that some of the misconduct alleged by the parties might be possible in theory. However, it also agreed with the ministry in charge of elections that these claims are "an over-evaluation of technical security requirements as to the voting machines." (Para 87-88) Nothing in these claims justified even a partial invalidation of the election. (Para 162-164) Indeed, compared to marked paper ballots put in a ballot box, or voting by mail, the electronic machines are at least as secure, if not more so. These conclusions were also reached by the Committee for the Security of Elections, and their report was unanimously accepted by the Bundestag. (Para 90-100) The Court declined to substitute its judgment for that of the legislature.

However, the Court did agree that the voting machines used were so complex that they were "not compatible with the principle of the public nature of elections." Only the manufacturer's technicians could understand and monitor the functioning of these machines. Hence, the public was not adequately represented in the monitoring of the machine usage by officials from the elections ministry. But this constitutional shortcoming was not so severe as to require a re-run of the election. There was no evidence of mechanical error, or of manipulation of the votes cast or counted.

Although the Court did not specify this, it seemed to imply that if the agency in charge of the elections had had personnel sufficiently knowledgeable to monitor the operations of the machines, the constitutional requirement would be satisfied. With such personnel working in the public agency, sufficient public monitoring of the equipment could be conducted. The voters only need to know how to vote, not how source codes record votes.

The Court also held that a regulation made by the ministry in charge of administering the election was unconstitutionally vague. (Para 145 et seq) While the Court offered some suggestions as to how the inadequate language could be tightened up, the errors in the regulation were not so bad that the election should be invalidated because of them.

Conclusion

After its lengthy and minutely detailed discussion, Germany's Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of this election. The inadequacy of the agency regulation, and the shortcomings of the machines, were harmless errors.


This opinion, upholding paperless electronic voting in Germany, has far-reaching implications. The arguments and conclusions made in that opinion can also be applied to the use of Internet voting – another form of paperless electronic voting. Thus, this ruling paves the way for Internet voting in Germany.

While German law, of course, has no precedent value in the US, it can have considerable persuasive value. That is, the legal reasoning and conclusions of the German Supreme Court can be a model for US courts and law-makers to emulate.

In short, this opinion may one day prove to be a milestone in the history of Internet voting in the US.

William J. Kelleher, Ph.D.


PMK team tries its hand on EVMs in New Delhi 

By Express News Service 
28 Aug 2009 03:05:00 AM IST

CHENNAI: The PMK team led by its president G K Mani on Thursday inspected the electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the presence of full Commission comprising three Election Commissioners — Navin Chawla, V S Sampath and S Y Qureshi — in New Delhi. However, the party has requested the Commission to provide an opportunity on September 7 to prove their contention that the evms could be tampered with.
The team comprising retired IAS officer MG Devasahayam, advocate K Balu, Supreme Court advocate Dugar Rai and Pune-based IT expert Vijayendra Gupta inspected the EVMs in the presence of a 10-member expert team of the Election Commission. 
The team was given EVMs and tools required to operate them. PMK sources said the members were satisfied with the EC’s approach in this regard. The EC had asked the PMK to provide technical information about how the EVMs could be tampered with and it would be considered seriously.
During their meeting, Navin Chawla said the PMK would be given sufficient time to prove that the EVMs could be tampered with and that the team could even open the spare parts of the machines. The PMK has sought for another opportunity on September 7. PMK sources said the party would go there with more software and hardware experts to inspect the EVMs.
In its memorandum, the PMK team told the Commission that “We would like to demonstrate the tamperability of the EVM in the presence of an ‘independent committee of experts comprising EC and party nominees’. The ECI should constitute such a committee and provide EVMs to us for demonstration.”
In this connection, the PMK team submitted a memorandum to the EC in which it said the ECI should provide a few EVMs randomly picked from various polling booths in the country by their experts team. The PMK team said, “Our team would tamper 3-4 machines and would request ECI technical committee to identify the tampered machines.”

http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/print.aspx?artid=/6GSNgFEkPM=

Voting machines: hackable, crackable, hijackable

August 19, 5:15 PM · Garry Reed - Dallas Libertarian Examiner

According to a Raw Story write-up from August 12, 2009, a party of profs and post grads from Cal – San Diego, Michigan, and Princeton universities hacked into an electronic voting machine and tainted the tall. They wanted to prove that criminals (their euphemism for Democrat or Republican Party operatives?) could start from scratch with no source codes or inside info, find a weakness, hack the security, and develop their own attack software.

They proved that someone could easily break into the machines the night before an election and install hacking software that would alter the results on election day – all without detection.

Their educational caper cost $100,000; a pittance compared to most politicians' political campaign purses.

And yet the brainiac "experts" keep telling us voting machines are spoof-proof.

If you don't believe that everything is hackable, crackable or hijackable, vote counters included, consider just a scant handful of recent reports:

From Fox News, August 17, 2009 – Three hackers were indicted in an identity theft case that netted over 130 million credit and debit card numbers, along with other account info, stolen from three corporations, including the Dallas-based 7-Eleven convenience store chain. This easily eclipsed the previous American Indoor Hacking record...

From InfoWorld, July 27, 2009 – Internet hosting company Network Solutions announced that someone dipped their illicit software snares into the company's digital pool and fished out half a million of their customer's credit card numbers.

A letter sent to merchants who use their Ecommerce Hosting services admitted that somebody gained "unauthorized access to credit card account numbers, names and addresses of some of your customers."

From Wired, July 31, 2009 - Pentagon hacker and 9/11 truther Gary McKinnon is set to be extradited back to the U.S. from England where he faces trial for hacking into 97 computers, including 53 Army, 26 Navy, 16 NASA, and 1 each Department of Defense and Air Force, between February 2001 and March 2002.

He's also accused of crashing some systems, deleting critical files, shutting down the Army’s Military District of Washington network of over 2,000 computers for 24 hours, and in general causing over $700,000 in damages.

McKinnon, whose hacker handle is "Solo," insists he was on a moral crusade in search of evidence of a UFO cover-up by the military.

From LewRockwell.com, August 13, 2009 – In an article on the libertarian website, Paul Green tells the tale of a teenaged boy jailed for "swatting" his online-gaming adversaries. First, he tracked down a person's IP address. Next, he hacked his intended victim's internet provider for personal details. Then, spoofing (faking) his target's telephone number, he made an emergency call that resulted in armed SWAT teams invading his opponent's house.

And for local readers...

From Dallas Business Journal, September 19, 2008 – Ready for another hacking term? Reflashing. Dallas was a "hotbed of hackers" last year when TracFone filed 13 lawsuites against 50-plus Dallas-area businesses and individuals who bought the phones in bulk, reflashed them so they could be used on other wireless networks, and resold them for a profit.

If every kind of giga-gadget and digital widget from military mainframes to remotely started keyless-entry security-encoded nose hair trimmers can be hacked, is it any wonder that libertarians have long looked askance not only at electronic voting machines but at the very concept of voting itself? Some still check a box for the perceived "lesser of two evils" while others pull nothing but the Libertarian lever.

But why bother when your choice of Charlie can be changed to Charlene without you ever knowing it?

The state mandating more electronic voting machines just gives more props to libertarians who refuse to vote at all on the principle that voting only serves to encourage the out-of-wedlock reprobates who run for public power.

Working within the system means getting grifted by the system.

So figure it out for yourself:

1. It has long been proved by constant hacks and virus attacks that any good geek with off-the-shelf gear is light years ahead of the government-academic-corporate rocket scientist security experts, including the colossal computer corporations who stand to make millions by selling vulnerable voting devices to the politicos.

2. Every electronic voting machine in the nation is under the control of some government entity at some level.

3. Trust them like you trust the dope-smoking mope next door who wants to diddle your daughter.

http://www.examiner.com/x-1449-Dallas-Libertarian-Examiner~y2009m8d19-Voting-machines-hackable-crackable-hijackable

A boycott to stem ‘vote for money’ 

By Anbumani Ramadoss 
19 Aug 2009 11:49:00 PM IST

When the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) announced their boycott of the assembly by-elections in Tamil Nadu, they were spurred by memories of the recent parliamentary elections. The elections in Tamil Nadu witnessed the gross misuse of science — electronic voting machines (EVMs) were manipulated and systematic rigging was resorted to by officials showcasing blatant use of money power to the advantage of the ruling party, handing them stupendous victory on a silver platter, defying all principles of democracy, ethics and logic. The entire election drama was staged with such shocking impunity and lack of compunction that the opposition parties and the conscientious public watched with benumbing horror. The spectacle of the democratic process crumbled down like a pack of cards.
Elections in Tamil Nadu were held on May 13, 2009. Till May 9, the AIADMK front was thought to be well on its way to a winning streak. Abruptly, the situation changed — dramatically. I surmise the cartwheel turned due to the tsunami of money that raised its ugly head and gobbled up the gullible. 
After two corrections, when the final polling percentage of 73 per cent was announced the day after the elections, it clearly suggested two possibilities. Such an increase in polling meant that either people voted in large numbers in support of the Sri Lankan issue or the inconceivable had happened due to manipulated rigging by the ruling party. Sadly, the latter emerged to be true. Any increase in polling percentage over that of the previous elections has always gone against the party in power. Defying all electoral predictions and norms, an unprecedented 12.2 per cent increase in polling over the last elections, in 2004, has given a resounding victory to the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), contrary to the predictions of the media, private surveys, Intelligence Bureau reports etc, which predicted a clean sweep for the AIADMK front.
West Bengal recorded the highest polling percentage of 81.3 per cent, an increase of 3.3 per cent over that of 2004 and the opposition garnered 25 seats, more than it had ever managed to garner in the long past. Kerala, with the second highest polling percentage of 73.3 per cent registered an increase of 1.8 per cent over the last elections, handing 15 seats out of 20 to the opposition coalition. Tamil Nadu was the lone exception. The state recorded 73 per cent polling and had the third highest polling percentage in the country. The increase of 12.2 per cent over the previous elections gave 28 out of 40 seats to the ruling coalition, a clear deviation from past trends.
What is surprising is that when the DMK front swept 40 out of 40 seats in the 2004 parliamentary elections, the polling percentage was only 60.8 per cent. The polling percentage of all the seven constituencies where the PMK contested this time was around 80 per cent, that points towards massive rigging by the ruling party.
During his press meet, the chief electoral officer of Tamil Nadu, Naresh Gupta, mentioned that one polling booth, which had a PMK contestant, recorded 100 per cent polling. He said that nearly 725 polling booths had recorded more than 90 per cent polling. According to political scientists and experts, the probability of a polling booth recording a 100 per cent turnout is next to impossible. Incidentally, when some of the polling booths had more than 80 per cent polling during the last elections, re-polls were ordered. The logical question that arises now is: What or who stopped the election commissioner from doing an encore this time, announcing a re-poll in these booths?
No doubt that a combination of various factors led to the thumping victory of the DMK front during the current Lok Sabha elections. Money power, muscle power, blatant misuse of government machinery, rigged EVMs and the flouting of all Election Commission norms helped the esteemed members of the DMK front to be ensconced comfortably in their coveted seats.
Devious machinations by the DMK front went into the scheming of the rigging to make the results appear genuine. The DMK front could have won all the 40 seats contested by its members on the strength of these malpractices. Yet, to give an impression that the results were genuine, they willingly gave 12 seats to the opposition. However, those who were not in the good books of the DMK were all ignominiously defeated. The fate of E V K S Elangovan, R Prabhu, K V Thangabalu, Manishankar Iyer, Vaiko and all the PMK candidates was decided well in advance by the DMK.
The PMK was the hardest hit in this conspiracy. It is alleged that the DMK spent anywhere between Rs 40 to 70 crore in each of the PMK constituencies. The highest amount was spent in the Arakkonam constituency which is estimated to be around Rs 70 crore where the PMK candidate R Velu and erstwhile minister of state for railways contested. R Velu, a retired IAS officer, who has an exemplary reputation not only in Tamil Nadu but also in the entire country, lost out to S Jagathrakshakan, currently MoS (I& B) who is the owner of a distillery, a hotelier and the chancellor of a deemed university (which was in the news recently for being caught on tape demanding capitation fees for an MBBS seat).
The clandestine operations were carried out during the dark hours of the night, for distributing money from house to house. The upshot of these undesirable developments was that a case was filed in the Supreme Court against the use of EVMs by V V Rao and in the high court by the PMK. Almost all national and regional parties including the BJP, CPI(M), CPI, SP, RJD, BSP, TC, JDU, TDP, LJP, AIADMK, PMK, MDMK, and DMDK have come down heavily against the use of EVMs for future elections.
The responsibility of infusing confidence among the public and the parties regarding the reliable use of the EVMs lies with the judiciary and the Election Commission. In the context of the miserable failure of the EVMs during the recent elections, it makes sense to go back to the traditional ballot system. In fact, most of the developed countries are going back to the traditional ballot system due to the undependability of the EVM. The recalcitrant attitude of the Election Commission, with a preconceived mindset in continuing with the EVM seems incomprehensible. The election commissioner’s argument is that in India we use a standalone EVM whereas the developed countries use a centrally linked EVM. Ironically, according to experts the standalone EVM system is easier to manipulate than a centrally linked EVM system.
It is believed that the media was threatened and gagged so that free and fair reporting was not done. I am not writing this out of a sense of frustration because we lost, but out of a fervent desire for free and fair elections that uphold the democratic principles of the largest democracy in the world — at least in the future.
Among other gimmicks employed to lure the public, the ruling DMK doled out a lot of freebies to the general public like TVs, LPG connections, rice for one rupee, etc. Apart from this, the DMK government took advantage of the dismal plight of the indigent and bought votes for a ‘fee’ ranging from Rs 100 to Rs 2,000 per vote. The DMK front has created ‘history’ whipping up a frenzy of mass scale corruption enticing the public to accept bribe for their votes, thereby creating a new culture.
Officials manning the polling booths were handpicked by the government in the seven constituencies where the PMK candidates contested and were allegedly asked to poll between 100 and 200 votes illegally, without arousing suspicion of large-scale rigging, but effectively ensuring victory to the ruling front. Strict instructions were given not to poll more than 200 illegal votes per booth to obliterate the suspicion of rigging, Computing the statistics on this basis, 100 votes on an average in 1,300 polling booths per constituency will count up to 1,30,000 votes and 200 votes per polling booth is 2,60,000 votes per constituency. No wonder PMK and other parties were hit very hard.
During the parliamentary elections money was inundating the state like uncontrollable floods. It has been alleged that an inspector of police was paid Rs 25,000, a sub inspector Rs 15,000, a polling officer got Rs 10,000 and  a party booth agent pocketed Rs 5,000, apart from Rs 100 to Rs 2,000 per vote that the general public received. The Election Commission was in a trance of ‘Masterly Inactivity’. All complaints by the opposition fell on deaf ears.
Innumerable complaints against election code transgressions went unheeded. When the PMK party cadre caught persons belonging to the opposition party distributing money red-handed, and took them to the authorities, cases were filed against the PMK cadre rather than against the perpetrators of malpractice. The district collectors and district superintendents of police exhibited their allegiance to the DMK blatantly. Even my meeting with the Big Three — the chief election commissioner Navin Chawla, Quareshi and Sampath, turned out to be a formal meeting without any outcome.
It is beyond doubt that the EVMs were pre-programmed for the DMK’s victory. Numerous complaints about the malfunctioning of the EVMs also went unheeded. It has been said that when the voting button was pressed against the PMK symbol, the light was blipping against the DMK candidate’s name. Amidst all this, the common man and his rights have been conveniently forgotten. Every individual has the right to know to which candidate his/her vote was cast, but who cares?
While our alliance worked round the clock for door-to-door election campaigns at all levels with senior leaders like J Jayalalithaa, Ramadoss, Vaiko, Varadharajan of CPI(M),  Nalla Kannu (CPI), Prakash Karat and others personally visiting villages, towns and cities of Tamil Nadu, there was hardly any campaign in the opposite camp, with the exception of the present deputy chief minister, M K Stalin. Without exaggeration, I would like to disclose that during the five weeks I campaigned for elections, I did not come across any DMK leader or party worker campaigning in any village or town.
It was alleged that the ruling party threatened to stop the NREGS in the villages if the people did not vote for them. Till the time of elections, the ruling party paid Rs 120 over the wages of Rs 80 per day under the scheme. It was also alleged that self help groups were paid Rs 2,000 to Rs 20,000 almost throughout Tamil Nadu, depending on their power of persuasion.
The money plundered by the sand mafia, rice mafia, sugar mafia, liquor mafia and other unscrupulous elements was used freely by the ruling party to systematically create a new culture of ‘vote for money,’ whether the candidate is a competent leader or not. In future, economically deprived candidates or political parties cannot even think of contesting elections due to the advent of this new culture. It is the duty of the Election Commission to restore the confidence in the electoral system for a free and fair election and uphold the democratic and constitutional values and principles. Otherwise, the general public would soon lose faith and shun these types of farcical elections.
If such a large-scale electoral scam can be planned and executed so systematically and scientifically during the massive parliamentary elections, a by-election is simply a walk over. Thirumangalam was the starting point for the commencement of the new culture of ‘vote for money,’ which has been perfected during the recent parliamentary elections in Tamil Nadu. This made even the former CEC Gopalaswami castigate the DMK government saying that Tamil Nadu was worse than Bihar. The by-election may just happen to be a repetition of this objectionable trend. Is there any necessity to waste people’s time and money in conducting a farce? Why not announce the winner right away and eschew all the drama? 
After all, the recent parliamentary elections do not reflect the true defeat of the PMK nor is it a true victory for the DMK. When justice and fair practice prevail, there will be true victory.
(The author is a former Union health minister)

http://tinyurl.com/ou5jlx

Poll panel allows petitioners to show EVM’s tamperbility

Ians

August 17th, 2009

NEW DELHI - The Election Commission Monday met petitioners who have filed cases in courts across the country challenging the efficacy of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and agreed to offer machines so they could demonstrate their claims of tamperability.

We met the Election Commission and demanded it offer us EVMs to demonstrate that these can be tampered with. The commission has agreed and will tell us tomorrow (Tuesday) of the time to give this demonstration,” Hari Prasad, managing director of Net India, a Hyderabad based software company, told IANS after the meeting.

Two engineers of Net India are also petitioners in this case.

All three Election Commissioners were present along with their expert committee at the meeting with the delegation which included observers from political parties and technical experts.

Prasad said he has asked for 20 EVMs that he will pick randomly from different booths to demonstrate that these can be tampered with.

The commission has reiterated several times that the machines were tamper-proof.

The first attack against the EVMs came from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani. Later, other political leaders also voiced their concerns about the reliability of the EVMs used during the April-May Lok Sabha polls.

Since many cases were filed on the matter in various courts, the commission invited those who had approached the courts and political parties to its headquarters in New Delhi to discuss the issue.

http://blog.taragana.com/n/poll-panel-allows-petitioners-to-show-evms-tamperbility-141837/

AIADMK, SP leaders meet EC to prove EVM tampering

PTI 17 August 2009, 08:16pm IST

NEW DELHI: A delegation comprising leader of two political parties and technical experts today met Election Commission officials and discussed with them the possibility of tampering of EVMs. 

The delegation, comprising leaders of AIADMK and Samajwadi Party, said the Commission has asked them to demonstrate at a later date that the machines can be tampered with.  

"The Election Commission wants the demonstration be done on their EVMs and they will fix a date later," AIADMK spokesperson V Maithreyan told reporters after meeting the three-member commission.  

However, Commission sources said no dates have been fixed.  

"Our team was ready to demonstrate with a sample machine how the EVM can be tampered. But the EC was not prepared to undergo that exercise", he said.  

"The EC wanted us to prove that the EVMs used by them (EC) can be tampered with," Maithreyan said.  

"We have accepted the challenge of EC and will "prove that EVM can be tampered with," he added.  

The EC had earlier in a statement said that "it remains entirely satisfied that EVMs cannot be tampered with and are fully tamper-proof."

 

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/india/AIADMK-SP-leaders-meet-EC-to-prove-EVM-tampering-/articleshow/4903491.cms

Oldest PSU to develop first biometric EVM

Maneesh Chhibber Posted online: Monday , Aug 17, 2009 at 0338 hrs
New Delhi : The country’s oldest public sector undertaking (PSU) is all set to play a major role in ushering in a new era in the way elections are conducted in the country. Bangalore-based ITI Limited is on the verge of developing what could be the country’s first biometric electronic voting machine (EVM).

With concerns over whether the EVMs that the Election Commission of India (EC) presses into service during elections can be hacked, the biometric EVMs could effectively end all debate about the fairness of the electoral process. In October last, the then Chief Election Commissioner, N Gopalaswami, had said that the EC was considering introduction of biometric EVMs. Last week, the EC held a meeting with Nandan Nilekani, recently-appointed chief of the UID project, where the issue of biometric EVMs was also discussed.

The biometric EVMs, which the ITI Ltd is developing, would identify voters by their fingerprints, thereby putting an end to all bogus voting and impersonation. When contacted, Lt Col A M Uniyal (retd), General Manager (R&D), ITI Ltd, confirmed that the company was working on the new type of EVMs. “Beyond that I can’t tell you anything,” he said.

A source in the EC said with the Government of India having already set up an authority to provide unique identity cards to the citizens, the problem of a database of biometric prints of the voters would automatically be solved. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Oldest-PSU-to-develop-first-biometric-EVM/502868

E-Voting Takes Another Hit

August 16, 2009 Mike Pearson

 

The design requirements for e-voting are high, preventing not-yet-discovered attacks.

 

A group of computer scientists have shown how voting results, held in electronic voting machines, can be changed using a novel hacking technique. It’s yet another reason why we need to have a verifiable, auditable, paper-trail for electronic voting machines.

 “This research shows that voting machines must be secure even against attacks that were not yet invented when the machines were designed and sold. Preventing not-yet-discovered attacks requires an extraordinary level of security engineering, or the use of safeguards such as voter-verified paper ballots,” said Edward Felten, an author on the new study; Director of the Center for Information Technology Policy; and Professor of Computer Science and Public Affairs at Princeton University.

 

http://mikepearsonnz.amplify.com/2009/08/16/e-voting-takes-another-hit/

 

From a statement:

To take over the voting machine, the computer scientists found a flaw in its software that could be exploited with return-oriented programming. But before they could find a flaw in the software, they had to reverse engineer the machine’s software and its hardware—without the benefit of source code.

Essentially, return-oriented programming is a technique that uses pieces of existing system code to exploit the system. In this demonstration, the researchers successfully performed a buffer-overflow.

The team of scientists involved in the study included Shacham, as well as researchers from the University of Michigan and Princeton University. The hacked voting system was a Sequoia AVC Advantage electronic voting machine.

Shacham concluded that paper-based elections are the ay to go. I wouldn't go that far, but he did:

“Based on our understanding of security and computer technology, it looks like paper-based elections are the way to go. Probably the best approach would involve fast optical scanners reading paper ballots. These kinds of paper-based systems are amenable to statistical audits, which is something the election security research community is shifting to.”

I'd settle for verifiable paper-based audit trail.
Professor Edward Felten, a long-time observer of electronic voting systems also commented:

“This research shows that voting machines must be secure even against attacks that were not yet invented when the machines were designed and sold. Preventing not-yet-discovered attacks requires an extraordinary level of security engineering, or the use of safeguards such as voter-verified paper ballots,” said Edward Felten, an author on the new study; Director of the Center for Information Technology Policy; and Professor of Computer Science and Public Affairs at Princeton University.

In February 2008, Felten demonstrated how he was able to access several electronic voting systems at multiple locations in New Jersey.

http://www.informationweek.com/blog/main/archives/2009/08/evoting_takes_a.html;jsessionid=ZAEAADKKKRDW3QE1GHPSKH4ATMY32JVN?cid=RSSfeed_IWK_ALL

EVM hacking: EC accountable under cyber law: IT Act 2000

I have collated and summarised arguments demonstrating EVM hacking and the imperative of subjecting EC to a forensic audit by an independent agency under the directions of the Supreme Court. The splendid contributions made by Prof. J Krishnayya, Dr. Anupam Saraph, Prof. MD Nalapat, Sri Rajeev Srinivasan, Prof. Sohan Prabhakar Modak, Sri Senthi Raja are gratefully acknowledged. 

Freedom we have earned has to be defended resolutely. Eternal  vigilance is the price of liberty. 

EC like caesar's wife should be above suspicion. Now, EC is tainted as it has entered the complex cyber world,  has to justify its constitutional status before the peoples' court and explain fully the measures taken to guard against cyber frauds in the wireless technology age exemplified by a chip the size of a pencil head can transmit and receive messages when buttoned on to a device like the EVM.

Our ancestors of the 10th century (919 CE) seem to have conducted elections -- with secret ballots using pots -- much more efficiently as recorded in the Uttaramerur (near Kanchipuram) inscription of King Parantaka chola . This was mentioned during the Constituent Assembly debates by T. Prakasam (who was CM of Madras Presidency) while referring to the democratic traditions of our nation. http://parliamentofindia.nic.in/ls/debates/debates.htm(Constituent Assembly Debates) This inscription which refers to adult suffrage and secret ballot, was cited during Constituent Assembly deliberations for drafting the Constitution of independent Bharat. “Shri T. Prakasam (Madras: General): The Honourable Mr. Madhava Rau said that the ballot box and ballot paper were not known to our ancestors. I would like to point out to him, Sir, that the ballot box and the ballet papers were described in an inscription on the walls of a temple in the villages of Uttaramerur, twenty miles from Conjeevaram (Kanchipuram). Every detail is given there. The ballot box was a pot with the mouth tied and placed on the ground with a hole made atthe bottom and the ballot paper was the kadjan leaf and adult franchise was exercised. The election took place not only for that village but for the whole of India. This was just a thousand years ago. It is not known to my honourable Friend and that is why he made such a wrong statement – a grievously wrong statement and I want to correct it.” http://parliamentofindia.nic.in/ls/debates/vol7p5b.htmhttp://parliamentofindia.nic.in/ls/debates/vol4p8.htm 

http://www.thehindu.com/fr/2008/07/11/stories/2008071151250300.htm Constitution 1000 years ago

namaskaram. kalyanaraman

EC accountable under cyber law: IT Act 2000

How can an accused become a judge?

All parties have expressed concerns about functioning of EVMs (Ghulam Nabi Azad about Orissa polls, Advani about Lok Sabha polls, PMK/MDMK in Tamil Nadu etc.) EC is going through a make-believe, non-transparent exercise. How can the accused become a judge?

EC has not explained who manufactures the chips in the EVMs

The manufactures of the CHIPs are still not revealed by the EC, and most probably the manufacturer of the chip would be a foreign company.  Again, this is another national security issue, where we mortgage our credibility of our election process to a foreign company.  Ultimately we never inspect the foreign company premises too.

There are also reports that ECIL/BEL have outsourced the making of the EVMs to private parties thus introducing another trojan horse. EC has to confirm the situation.

Introduction of timer device in EVMs violates secrecy of ballot

The latest EVMs record the time of each vote.  This violates the fundamental principle of secret voting.  When the polling booth agent, notes down the time a particular voter had voted, he will be able to find which party he voted for, if he has access to EVM vote logs.  This is a violation of constitutional rights, which can invalidate the last loksabha election itself, since about 16% of EVMs had time details.

Use of two types of machines -- one with timer (introduced in Jan. 2009 first in Delhi Assembly polls) and another without timer device. EVMs with timer devices are said to be about 2 lakh in number (out of a total of  about13 lakh EVMs). Thus in 16% of the constituencies or about 80 Lok Sabha constituencies the timerdevice EVMs were used rendering them to internet frauds because timer device makes the device non-local and directly amenable to internet crime. There is a good possibility that the 80 constituencies selected for manipulation were in Tamilnadu, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, UP and Delhi. EC is accountable to provide info. on how the timer-device EVMs were distributed and how they were certified by manufacturers , audited by
EC, before being deployed. Party polling agents should be allowed access to such regular system audits to ensure transparency and accountability of EC.

The possibility of embedding wireless Feature in the Chip:

Since the early days of electronic devices such as Read Only Memory (ROM) chips, there have been dramatic advances including wireless technologies.

UC SanDiego Prof writes about having been able to reverse engineer the software of
(American) EVMs, without opening them up at all. His programming style suggest that there have been many changes in the capability of software hackers. 

The first question is how will we know, if a chip contains wireless feature or not?  It is impossible to find the architecture of the chip, after it is manufactured.  This wireless feature can be be made passive, so that it gets activated only upon receiving a specific signal in a specific frequency.

A simple analogy is that, our mobile phone rings only if the call is intended for it..  All the GSM waves are available to the mobile phone, but it activates only when a particular signal (corresponding to its mobile number or set code) is detected.  IT rejects all other waves, even though it can read those.

In a similar case, the wireless feature will remain passive, unless activated by the known person.  And this can be done, through satellite from any part of the world.

Or it can be done at a distance of 200 - 300 metres outside the polling booth..  The possibility is wide here.

Failure to audit the design integrity of EVM's and embedded software

Beep sound can NEVER be a confirmation of the vote:

The EC claims that when a voter presses the particular party's button, there will be a beep sound to confirm his vote.  But in practical perspective, a beep sound confirms only the pressing of the button, but it does not confirm whether the vote has been delivered to the particular party.

This is just like giving our vote to a third person, who in turns puts in to ballot box.  We never know if that third person puts our vote correctly or he changes it and puts a different vote or he may not even deliver the vote itself.

So, direct and secret voting itself is violated, which is available in the ballot paper, where we know which party symbol we are marking, and we ourselves ensure the voting by directly putting the paper in the ballot box ourselves.

- Closed source proprietary design- If it is a mere calculator and completely secure, why the secrecy about its design and software, why not allow use of any EVM's that confirm to a standard? We do not restrict to using HP calculators and ban the use of any other calculator for number crunching.

- EVM's cannot work without elaborate supervised pre and post-poll process involving observers, agents and security paper seals. This is a huge risk and cost. Like a calculator that cannot work unless scientists, teachers and examiners certify that the calculator is secure and not fraudulent.

- There is no verification of software on the EVM - no checksum or debug programs to confirm identity and version of software - besides black-box testing. What can distinguish an authentic EVM from an unauthentic one?

An extraordinary statement was made by EC that from now on ECIL/BEL (makers of EVMs) will be asked to certify the EVMs supplied by them. It is amazing that such certification and audit by EC did not occur for the 13 lakhs + EVMs in use now and for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

Trojan Code:

Secret Trojan code embedded right at the manufacturing stage.  This trojan can be activated, by combination of special keys known only to secret group of people.  This trojan need not know the candidate or his serial number or his party symbol.  What it needs is to know the exact button, to which the benefeciary party belongs to, so that it can either simulate that button press, or transfer votes from other buttons to the beneficiary party's button code. 

This point is very important, because the Indiresan committee report claims that the candidate serial number is not known till two weeks of commencement of election. This is a false claim, because, candidate serial number is only for human reference, and all the internal workings are based on machine codes. 

Even if cadidate serial number claim is to be accepted, there should be a mechanism to feed or map the button to the serial number, and that can be done only by humans..  who are they? 

Absence of standards for EVM data storage and retrieval

- There are no standards and procedures for data-storage, data-retrieval, archiving, data-transfer, data-verification. In fact the BEL and ECIL machines are not even compatible when it comes to obtaining, storing retrieving, archiving or transferring data. What is the standard? Why are there no third party designs? Who are the OEMs? This is like NTSC and PAL- only the manufacturers benefit.


- There is a manual process for reading the votes - Why is there no print-out of the votes recorded on the machine with the machine id? Why can the entire data not be transfered to public website instantaneously? Why must the form 17C and form 20 be manually filled? Why can it not be printed by the EVM? 

Absence of EVM audit procedures

- There is no standard for maintaining a transaction trail and statutory independent audit by anyone who wishes to audit an EVM or entire constituencies. This is like allowing pass-books to be updated without entries in registers and without payment slips or cheque-book entries in the registers. This is like trusting the system because it runs, not because there is a mechanism to check for points of malfunction or misuse.

- There is no transaction slip to the voter. For the voter, the vote is untraceable once it is cast. This is like depositing money without a deposit slip. It is like a bank that has no pass-book updates or ways to check that the money is still in your account.

EC gets results on 6 May 2009 before Voting is completed (last date of polling May 13)

- Coded "results" were available on the ECI website in the versions of the spreadsheet CandidateAC.xls downloaded between the 6th and 11th of May. They contained "results"  for all but 47 of the 8071 candidate. If EVM’s were secure with DEO/district collectors, and elections were not even held in many constituencies, how was did the ECI have this data?

- Was this data not in control of the ECI? Was their site hacked? Or was data from various EVM's uploaded in advance?

- How can the ECI distinguish between real and dummy data? 

EC in violation of Supreme Court order of 19 Jan. 2009


- The existence of the poll results data as early as May 6 (one week before May 13 the final date of polling) contravenes the Order passed by the Supreme Court on 19-01-2009, in writ petition ( C) No. 207 of 2004th See http://eci.nic.in/press/current/pn140409.pdf reproduced below: 

ELECTION COMMISSION OF INDIA

Nirvachan Sadan, Ashoka Road, New Delhi – 110 001

No. ECI/PN/ 23 /2009 Dated : 14th April, 2009

PRESS NOTE

Subject : Prohibition on Publication and Dissemination of Results of Opinion

polls/Exit polls.

In pursuance of the Order passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court on 19-01-2009,

in writ petition ( C) No. 207 of 2004, the Election Commission issued Guidelines, on 17th February, 09, to be followed in the matter of publication/dissemination of results of opinion polls and exit polls in connection with the current elections to the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies. As per the guidelines, result of opinion/exit polls carried out at any time, cannot be published, publicized or disseminated in any manner, during the period starting from 48 hours before the hour fixed for conclusion of poll in the first phase of election and till the conclusion of poll in the last phase of election. The period referred to in the guidelines starts from 3 PM today, the 14th April, 09 (as the hour fixed for conclusion of poll in some of the constituencies in the first phase of election on 16.4.09 is 3 PM ), and will continue till the conclusion of poll in the last ( the fifth) phase of election. 

(K.F.WILFRED) SECRETARY

 Use of Genesys software by EC to consolidate vote counts 

Counting of votes using Genesys software 

EC has not publicized, NOR audited the flow of information after the EVMs have been used for the polls.  There are so many places along the route (not to mention the idea of using E-mails to collect vote totals!) where errors can creep in.  (In fact, the Genesys programme mentioned by EC to Anupam and Nalapat has NOT been publicised.  Has it been checked out by the technical  group led by Indiresan?

- If this data is generated as test/dummy data by "Genesys" software that collects and transfers data from districts to the ECI then:
  * Why did this happen during the poll process?
  * Why did the ECI not put up notice to the effect on its website?
  * Why did it not react to the alert to this data sent to them on the 6th of May by NIC and Dr Anupam Saraph? Why is there no response to date? Why is there no clarification on this?
  * If the purpose of the test is to match names with votes, why were the names coded to match the order in which they appear on the EVM?
  * If it is just meant to tally the match, why was the data changing for at least some constituencies in this period? 

Votes polled by 108 winners in 2009 Lok Sabha polls tally with May 6 spreadsheet data of EC 

Nalapat's discovery of EC working with spreadsheets on May 6 when the final count and results were due only on May 10. Prof. SP Modak has found that 108 constituency results match with the numbers used in the spreadsheets. This is a serious issue requiring CBI inquiry. EC cannot be allowed to brush this under the carpet; this is comparable to a cyber crime of fraudulent of use of ATMs of Banks. An external agency should audit the use of Gensys software for gathering info. On counted votes from the state Election Commission officials. 

  * Why do 108 winners tally with winners as per this data?
  * Why do the ranks of 662 candidates match the finally declared?
  * In many cases multiple ranks in the same constituency match - this is a highly non-random event considering each of the 'n' candidates in a constituency would have '1/n' chance of making it to any position and p positions matching is a low probability chance with probability 1/(n)**p.
  * If previous years data is used to generate "dummy data", why are there only 108 matches? Also where does the data for those who did not contest previously come from?
  * Why was this data "sanitized" on the 15th of May?
  * Why were the final results never uploaded onto the spreadsheet?
  * Why was the link to the spreadsheet removed on the 15th of July when the media asked the ECI questions about it? 

EC has not replied to the notes sent by Anupam and Nalapat

  * Why has the ECI not replied to the mails and minutes of the meeting with ECI sent to them by Dr Anupam Saraph and Prof Madhav Nalapat?

- Why does the voters and votes polled data reported by the ECI in different documents on its own website differ significantly?

EC contravenes Cyberlaws in India 

SC should direct that EC be made accountable under the Information Technology Act 2000 since EC is using a computer/computer network/computer resource/computer system as defined in the Act. 

EVMs are computers/computer networks/computer resource/computer system under the definitions included in The Information Technology Act, 2000 (No. 21 Of 2000)Of India

http://www.legalserviceindia.com/cyber/itact.html (For the full text of the Act) 

Amendments have also been made to the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) to recognize electronic records and to the Indian Evidence Act 1872 (1 of 1872) and Reserve Bank of India act 1934 (2 of 1934).

In the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, in section 58, in sub-section (2), after clause (p), the following clause shall be inserted, namely:-

"(pp) the regulation of fund transfer through electronic means between the banks or between the banks and other financial institutions referred to in clause (c) of section 45-1, including the laying down of the conditions subject to which banks and other financial institutions shall participate in such fund transfers, the manner of such fund transfers and the rights and obligations of the participants in such fund transfers;".

This is an Act to provide legal recognition for transactions carried out by means of electronic data interchange and other means of electronic communication, commonly referred to as "electronic commerce", which involve the use of alternatives to paper-based methods of communication and storage of information, to facilitate electronic filing of documents with the Government agencies and further to amend the Indian Penal Code, the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, the Bankers' Books Evidence Act, 1891 and the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. 

1 (2) It shall extend to the whole of India and, save as otherwise provided in this Act, it applies also to any offence or contravention thereunder committed outside India by any person.

) "computer" means any electronic magnetic, optical or other high-speed data processing device or system which performs logical, arithmetic, and memory functions by manipulations of electronic, magnetic or optical impulses, and includes all input, output, processing, storage, computer software, or communication facilities which are connected or related to the computer in a computer system or computer network;

(j)  "computer network" means the interconnection of one or more computers through—

(i) the use of satellite, microwave, terrestrial line or other communication media; and

(ii) terminals or a complex consisting of two or more interconnected computers whether or not the interconnection is continuously maintained;

            (k)  "computer resource" means computer, computer system, computer network, data,computer data base or software;

(l) "computer system" means a device or collection of devices, including input and output support devices and excluding calculators which are not programmable and capable of being used in conjunction with external files, which contain computer programmes, electronic instructions, input data and output data, that performs logic, arithmetic, data storage and retrieval, communication control and other functions;

The act defines in Section 2 (ze) a  "secure system" means computer hardware, software, and procedure that-

(a) are reasonably secure from unauthorised access and misuse;
(b) provide a reasonable level of reliability and correct operation;
(c) are reasonably suited to performing the intended functions; and
(d) adhere to generally accepted security procedures;

Sections 65 and 66 of the IT Act 2000 prescribe penalties for tampering/hacking:

65. Tampering with computer source documents.
Whoever knowingly or intentionally conceals, destroys or alters or intentionally or knowingly causes another to conceal, destroy or alter any computer source code used for a computer, computer programme, computer system or computer network, when the computer source code is required to be kept or maintained by law for the time being in force, shall be punishable with imprisonment up to three years, or with fine which may extend up to two lakh rupees, or with both.

Explanation.- For the purposes of this section, "computer source code" means the listing of programmes, computer commands, design and layout and programme analysis of computer resource in any form.

66. Hacking with computer system.

(1) Whoever with the intent to cause or knowing that he is likely to cause wrongful loss or damage to the public or any person destroys or deletes or alters any information residing in a computer resource or diminishes its value or utility or affects it injuriously by any means, commits hack:

(2) Whoever commits hacking shall be punished with imprisonment up to three years, or with fine which may extend upto two lakh rupees, or with both.

Procedures governing ATMs which require printout of transaction as an audit trail for the customer should be followed in EVM operations. 

Just as an ATM produces a receipt, EVM should produce a receipt which can be deposited in a separate box for verification in cases of  EVM malfunction/complaints. Secrecy of the ballot will not be vitiated. The voter is free to inform others of how he voted; there is no law prohibiting this freedom. He should also get a copy of the EVM receipt. Even as of now, since an EVM can accommodate only 3000 votes, secrecy of ballot has already been violated; it will be possible to know which ward voters voted for which candidates. 

A note on cyberlaws is provided in a separate document. Just as a Bank is accountable for  preventing potential ATM frauds, EC will have to be answerable to the possibility of crimes committed on EVMs which are computing devices. RBI regulates the operation of the ATMs of banks. Similar regulatory mechanism is needed for EVMs operated by EC. Elections are high-stake democratic exercises. 

Why EVM should be declared unconstitutional by SC 

Voter cannot be expected to be able to understand the systems audit requirements for complex computing devices. Elections as a public exercise should be simple and intelligible to the voter. This is the 'simplicity' criterion on which German Supreme Court declared use of EVMs unconstitutional. 

Nontranparency of EC about vote counting 

EC is not transparent about the election counting procedure. See also the episode about EC admitting the use of Genesys Software to maintain spreadsheets of election results. This software had been used to keep the count on May 6 itself even before the final counting date of May 16 in serious violation of all canons of propriety. EC has promised to explain this issue to Anupam Saraph and Nalapat. Response from EC awaited. 

Dangers of erroneous counting or manipulated counting or tally of votes 

The possibility of changing the values at the last minute:

All the votes are electronically stored, most probably in a flash memory. (Similar to pen drive).  This memory should be rewritable, otherwise, the votes cannot be entered in this memory.  The EC claims only the controlling unit is one time writable.   But not the storage chip. 

When there is a mechanism to read the total number of votes, cant there be a secret mechanism to alter the reading?  

In the case of Chidambaram episode, the EVMs seem to have been modified somewhere in the middle. 

To give an idea on how to change the values, we can refer to digital FM radios available now, where the frequency can be either incremented or decremented, just using two buttons.

The focus on Election Counting Machine:

EVM's are NOT manually counted.. rather, they are connected to a counting machine, which reads the bulk of EVM machines.  Why can’t the counting machine be hacked?  Since the counting machine gives a consolidated total, it would be possible to change values through the counting machine, since what it displays tends to be the final result.

Surely, EC has to provide a lot of answers instead of issuing Press Notes declaring that EVMs are tamper-proof. No one buy this declaration in this electronic, wireless age. Else, there would have been no need for an IT Act 2000 as a cyberlaw of India.

EVM: no paper trail; CEC cites secrecy doctrine. Isn't EC a creature of the citizens' will?

Does secrecy over-ride accountability of a functionary under the constitution? EVM is a mystery wrapped in electronics which an ordinary voter has reason to mistrust.

What is the objective of an election? Counting peoples' will. If the count is flawed, the democracy is rendered meaningless by the EC.

Paper trail is needed to make the EC accountable and to audit the accuracy of the count by the machine.

k

EVMs are tamper-proof: Election Commission

STAFF WRITER 19:0 HRS IST

Mumbai, Aug 13 (PTI) In the backdrop of allegations by certain political parties that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) could be hacked, the Election Commission today said EVMs were and are tamper proof.

"In the view of the Election Commission, EVMs were and are tamper proof. Nobody has been able to demonstrate that they can be tampered with," Chief Election Commissioner Naveen Chawla told reporters here.

On the demand by some parties for paper printouts of ballots, Chawla said "we believe a paper trail would foil the essence of democracy, which is secrecy of individual ballot, and it would be seriously compromised."

"The whole purpose of democracy is that individuals' preference must be secret and it is the whole pillar of free, fair and transparent  election process," he said.

http://www.ptinews.com/news/228283_EVMs-are-tamper-proof--Election-Commission


PMK to demonstrate its claim on EVMs tampering before EC Published by: Noor Khan Published: Wed, 12 Aug 2009 at 19:38 IST Chennai, Aug 12 The Election Commission and the PMK today reached an understanding before the Madras High Court under which the party would demonstrate to EC on August 27 how the EVMs could be "manipulated" as claimed by it. A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice H L Gokhale and Justice D Murugasen recorded the submission by counsels for EC and PMK on the understanding to hold the demonstration at the commission's office premises in New Delhi. "The petitioner is expected to remain present and point out whatever defects he finds in the Electronic Voting Machines," the judges said. PMK President G K Mani had moved the court for a direction to the EC to afford an opportunity to experts identified by the party to demonstrate on how EVMs could be "manipulated". The party had also sought an interim injunction, restraining the EC from using EVMs in the August 18 by-elections to five assembly seats in Tamil Nadu. PMK, which drew a blank in the May Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu despite contesting seven seats, had claimed that according to experts EVMs could be tampered with so that votes polled in favour of one candidate could be registered in the name of another. http://www.samaylive.com/news/pmk-to-demonstrate-its-claim-on-evms-tampering-before-ec/646305.html PMK to show Election Commission how EVMs can be tampered Ians August 12th, 2009 CHENNAI - The Madras High Court Wednesday permitted political party PMK to demonstrate to election commission officials how the electronic voting machine (EVM) can be manipulated. Hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by PMK’s G.K. Mani, a division bench of the high court asked the PMK leader to show to the election commission on Aug 27 how the EVMs could be manipulated. In his petition, Mani had said several software experts had opined that the EVMs could be manipulated. Alleging the EVMs were tampered with in the recent Lok Sabha elections, he prayed to the court to order setting up of a committee comprising software experts from the government and private sector to look into the issue. He sought the court’s permission to let his party demonstrate to the election commission how the EVMs could be tampered with. http://blog.taragana.com/n/pmk-to-show-election-commission-how-evms-can-be-tampered-137519/



Expert: EC silent on EVM tampering
Rajaram Satapathy, TNN 10 August 2009, 11:01pm IST

BHUBANESWAR: Election watch group functionary V V Rao, who is now on a
countrywide tour making public demonstration to prove that EVMs used
in elections could be tampered with easily to the advantage of
interested parties and candidates, on Monday accused the Election
Commission of India of showing not much interest for transparency in
the existing voting system.

Rao's reaction came after failing to get ECI's response for a
demonstration of the EVM before it. "We requested the ECI to invite us
for a live demonstration at its office and sent reminders as well. We
waited in New Delhi several days. But no call came", Rao, who recently
conducted a mock public voting here to prove the danger of EVMs, said
in a release.

The IT expert said the ECI in a communication dated August 8 has
stated that it had invited us but we did not turn up for doing the
demonstration. "It is blatant lie. The ECI did not call us, but has
issued a statement to the contrary. It is a completely false
statement", he said.

Rao said he along with two others, Arun and Vasavya, had moved the
apex court on the issue which advised them to approach the ECI. "It
was at the Supreme Court's order we had gone to the ECI, but the
latter seems trying to sweep the matter under the carpet. It is saying
one thing within the four walls of its office, but making a different
statement in public", Rao said over phone from Chennai where he made a
similar demonstration before people from different strata of society,
including lawyers, retired bureaucrats and politicians. "Our
apprehensions mentioned before the Supreme Court about the ignorance
of the ECI towards any concerns on the EVMs or the entire process
involved in the elections using EVMs has come true. This clearly shows
the intentions of ECI not to listen to the genuine concerns on the
vulnerabilities in the EVMs. Such a stand not only violates the order
of Supreme Court but also avoid questions which are extremely relevant
and important for free and fair elections which can alone strengthen
the democracy", Rao remarked.

He demanded the ECI to withdraw its statement forthwith and said they
would soon approach it again on the same issue. "For the greater
interest of democracy in India and creating ground for fair elections
we will approach the ECI again. If the ECI does not accept our demand
we will have no option but to move the Supreme Court", he pointed out.
Rao said a 'Forum for promoting verifiability, transparency and
accountability in Indian elections' (VeTA-India) had since been
constituted to carry forward the nationwide campaign on the election
issue, including the liability of EVMs. "More than 15 noted
personalities, including retired bureaucrats and technocrats, have
given their consent to join this mission", he said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/city/bhubaneswar/Expert-EC-silent-on-EVM-tampering-/articleshow/4879003.cms

 August 16, 2009
EVM expose
Is electronic 'rigging' subverting electoral mandate?
By GVL Narasimha Rao
Shockingly, of the 13.78 lakh EVMs deployed in the 2009 Lok Sabha
polls, only 4.48 Lakh are either new or upgraded machines, while as
many as 9.3 Lakh EVMs (or over 2/3rd of all EVMs) deployed are old
machines. The Commission has furnished this information in reply to a
RTI query dated July 21 to V. Venkateswara Rao, the main petitioner
who filed a PIL in the Supreme Court on the issue.

Political parties now suspect that something has wrong but appear
woefully short in understanding the rigging possibilities of
electronic voting machines. Most of them have nagging doubts about the
tampering of the EVMs, but have not raised these concerns in an open
manner for fear of retribution and ridicule. The Supreme Court in its
order in disposing the writ petition on EVMs had stated last month
that the issue raised are of vital concern and the political parties
may approach the Commission to clarify their doubts about the EVMs.
The debate over the unreliability of the EVM that raged over the last
two months is reaching a crescendo as many new facts come to light,
even as Election Commission officials continue to carp ad nauseam that
the EVMs used by the Election Commission are infallible, without any
substantive proof, whatsoever.

On the other hand, there is now enough verifiable and circumstantial
evidence to show that there is something amiss about the EVMs. The
true story of the EVMs is beginning to unfold and it would be a
tragedy if the political parties do not get to the bottom of the truth
about these allegations and apprehensions. The poll panel is betraying
signs of nervousness as it has no convincing explanations to a number
of emerging concerns and the political parties owe it to the millions
of the voting public to investigate and arrive at proper conclusions
to show that their votes have not been robbed by unscrupulous
individuals and to restore the public faith in our voting system.

Shocking verdicts
As someone who has analysed and predicted many parliamentary and
assembly elections in the past, let me add a new perspective to the
raging EVM debate. The only two parliamentary elections where the
pollsters in general have gone horribly wrong in India’s parliamentary
history are the Lok Sabha elections of 2009 and 2004. Consider this
fact these are the only two national elections that were totally
electronic.

In stark contrast, the Lok Sabha election results of 1991, 1996 and
1999 which were manual could be accurately predicted by most
pollsters. For instance, my own Lok Sabha predictions for the Times of
India and Doordarshan for all these elections were bang on target.
(See box for these predictions and actual results).

That brings up the relevant question: Has the voter mood in the Lok
Sabha elections that we were able to gauge very accurately until 1999
become so complex after the Election Commission made them totally
electronic employing the EVMs?

Poll predictions vs. Actual results
* Polls by G.V.L. Narasimha Rao for Times of India/Doordarshan

Interestingly, we could accurately predict various assembly elections
(held using EVMs) held between 2004 and 2009 general elections
including the elections of Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya
Pradesh and Delhi. How is it that the same electronic voting machines
turned in voting results that we could capture accurately in assembly
polls, but not in national elections?

Is it the case that these voting machines per se are reliable when
they are properly handled (which explains why there were no problems
in assembly elections), but have been tampered with in the Lok Sabha
polls producing startling results both in 2004 and 2009?

Lest the cynics argue that my theory of “electronic rigging” in
national elections based on this circumstantial evidence is a figment
of my imagination and rubbish it on the promise that the BJP would not
have performed creditably well in states like Bihar and Chhattisgarh
in 2009 general elections if that were the case, let me substantiate
my claims with some pertinent information and questions.


EC owes explanation
The Election Commission is less than truthful in claiming that the
EVMs deployed in general elections are tamperproof, when its own
technical committee led by Prof. P.V. Indiresan held otherwise. The
Expert Committee in its September, 2006 report (points 3.6 and 3.7)
recommended that the old EVMs should be upgraded with suggested
modifications, testing and operating precautions to make them tamper
proof.

Shockingly, of the 13.78 lakh EVMs deployed in the 2009 Lok Sabha
polls, only 4.48 Lakh are either new or upgraded machines, while as
many as 9.3 Lakh EVMs (or over 2/3rd of all EVMs) deployed are old
machines. The Commission has furnished this information in reply to a
RTI query dated July 21 to V Venkateswara Rao, the main petitioner who
filed a PIL in the Supreme Court on the issue. (Copy of the ECI reply
enclosed)

New, improved EVMs were deployed in the states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh,
Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and some UT’s and all north
eastern states except Assam. In all others states, old EVMs, which do
not meet the technical specifications, were used.

Why is it that these new, improved machines were not deployed in any
of the key Congress-United Progressive Alliance (UPA) ruled states?
Who were the persons responsible in making these decisions and what
was the rationale in making the choice of states with the new,
improved EVMs?

Curiously, while many states seem to have been selected following some
alphabetical sequence, the UPA ruled states like Andhra Pradesh,
Assam, Haryana, Maharastra and Tamil Nadu (which fall in the same
sequence) have been left out systematically.

Naturally, the following questions arise and the EC is duty bound to
answer them satisfactorily. What considerations guided the deployment
of the old EVMs, more susceptible to tampering in all the states ruled
by the ruling combine at the Centre? Why all the EVMs were not
upgraded or replaced as recommended by the Expert Committee? Isn’t the
Commissions guilty of misleading the political parties and the public
opinion that it’s EVMs are tamper proof when it is fully aware of
their limitations and shortcomings? All these serious questions
warrant convincing answers from the Commission.

Latest statements from Commission officials reveal that they
themselves seem to entertain doubts about the functioning of the old
EVMs deployed in Lok Sabha elections. The Commission officials now say
that only new, improved and ‘certified’ EVMs will be deployed for
by-polls due shortly in Tamil Nadu where the opposition parties led by
the AIADMK have decided to boycott by-elections. Does it not amount to
admission of guilt that the old EVMs used in the Lok Sabha polls in
Tamil Nadu were not reliable and prone to tampering?

‘Stand alone’ EVMs
Election Commisison officials have time and again argued that the EVMs
cannot be tampered as they are stand alone machines without being part
of any network and are not based on operating systems as the EVMs used
elsewhere in the world.

That is an erroneous argument. The stand alone EVMs can be hacked on a
selective basis; in any state, constituency or polling station of
one’s choosing. Granted, this cannot happen without tampering with the
individual EVMs deployed for election duty at some stage of their
handling in the manufacture or election operations. That brings up the
relevant question as to who can actually be involved in tampering.

It may be difficult or even impossible to influence lakhs of
government functionaries deployed for election duty to tamper all the
EVMs. But, it appears that there are a number of private players
involved in gaining access to the EVMs at various stages, starting
from their manufacture to their operations and maintenance at various
stages of elections. Evidently, they are a huge potential security
hazard.

Role of private players
Election Commission officials now claim that the EVMs are tamper proof
and this confidence stems merely from the certificates of authenticity
given by their manufacturers namely the ECIL and BEL, both in the
public sector. Is that a valid ground for unbridled optimism about
their tamper proof reliability? Is there any way that the officers on
election duty or political party representatives to verify that these
EVMs are indeed not tampered with? The answer is a no.

In addition to the manufacturers, there are a number of private
players and individuals who are engaged in handling these machines at
several crucial stages. There is not much information available on who
these people are, who hires them, what duties they perform, what
process is adopted to hire them and what are the terms of their
engagement?

Preliminary enquiries show that they include chip manufacturers,
service maintenance staff, manpower suppliers, outsourcing agencies,
transporters of EVMs etc., who have unlimited access to the EVMs. What
prevents them from tampering with the EVMs at some stage of election
operations? In some states, we found reports suggesting that the
maintenance and EVM handling work has been done by people belonging to
the ruling parties. Does that not give ample scope to these parties to
manipulate these machines?

A few authorised, unscrupulous elements gaining access to the machines
can play havoc with them. No one would even get a hint of such
manipulation as most officials are completely ignorant of the
technology manipulation possibilities. Experts allege that these
manipulations are so simple and devious that these could be done even
without any knowledge on the part of the operational staff engaged in
such manipulations who will mistake these activities to be part of the
operational procedures.

EC operations in mystery
The biggest problem is that all the operations of the Election
Commission of India are shrouded in mystery and there is a veil of
secrecy that surrounds them, while as a public institution; it is
expected to function in a transparent manner. India’s democracy cannot
be held hostage to the whims and fancies of a few high ranking and
well meaning officials of the Election Commission who would like us to
simply believe that under their watchful supervision, nothing can go
wrong.

Most senior officials of the Election Commission and those engaged in
the polling process at various levels seem blissfully unaware of the
manipulation possibilities of the EVMs. Worse, ECI officials see any
doubts raised against EVMs as attacks on their personal integrity.

But, in a country where the election commissioners are appointed owing
to their known political affiliations and former election
commissioners are rewarded with positions and ministerial berths for
‘services’ rendered, doubts are bound to be raised about their
impartiality. It is the duty of the Commission to reveal all facts to
show that it has little to hide.

The Election Commission has the responsibility to initiate a national
debate to discuss all issues threadbare. In stead of addressing valid
concerns, it has been asking everyone to prove that their EVMs are
tamper prone. Granted, no tampering can be done without physically
manipulating it. Experts are challenging that the EVMs used in the
elections can be tampered if one has physical access to them and the
commission is not willing to take the challenge. The Commission
perhaps wants the petitioners to perform some magic skills in
manipulating their machines without gaining any physical access.

In the wake of serious concerns and the emerging potential
possibilities for manipulation at various stages, it is the onerous
duty of the poll panel to demonstrate basis for their oft repeated
claims that their EVMs cannot be tampered with and not anyone else.
The Commission should take voluntary steps in promoting a healthy
debate and remove all hurdles to restore public faith in a system that
has been junked by most western democracies rather than attempt to
muzzle all opposition by making unsustainable claims.

Political parties must demand accountability
Most political parties now suspect that something has wrong but appear
woefully short in understanding the rigging possibilities of
electronic voting machines. Most of them have nagging doubts about the
tampering of the EVMs, but have not raised these concerns in an open
manner for fear of retribution and ridicule. The Supreme Court in its
order in disposing the writ petition on EVMs had stated last month
that the issue raised are of vital concern and the political parties
may approach the Commission to clarify their doubts about the EVMs.

At stake is not just the fate of the political parties but the
sanctity of our electoral process and the essence of our democracy.
Parties must vociferously raise their concerns in public domain and in
Parliament and ensure that the poll panel is held accountable to the
millions of its electorate and conduct future elections in a manner
that enhances the confidence of the electorate and that of the
political parties in their outcomes.

(The author is a leading political analyst and a member of the BJP.
Views expressed here are his own.)
-       -       Forecast        Actual
1996    BJP+    188     189
-       Congress+       142     132
-       Others  212     215
1998    BJP+    252     252
-       Congress+       140     147
-       Others  145     138
1999    BJP+    287     298
-       Congress+       174     135
-       Others  77      105


http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=304&page=28

EVMs: “doubters must present their case before poll panel”

Special Correspondent (The Hindu, Aug. 11, 20090)

CHENNAI: Former Chief Election Commissioner T.S. Krishnamoorthy has advised those having doubts on the infallibility of electronic voting machines to present their case before the Election Commission and stop “misleading people.”

Mr. Krishnamoorthy, who was among those invited to witness a demonstration on how EVMs could be tampered with, initially began to walk out as the organisers of the function, along with leaders of some Opposition parties began casting aspersions on the conduct of the Election Commission.

He relented to watch the demonstration after the organisers cut short their speeches and began the demonstration. The event, ‘Reliability of EVMs and its demonstration,’ was organised by the Advocates Forum for Social Justice and a national forum for transparency and accountability in Indian elections.

In the demonstration, the organisers, using a Net-India made EVM (not an ECI EVM – the organisers said they had requested the EC for a few EVMs, which was turned down) initially showed how there was no problem during the mock poll. They said that after the mock poll the district-level officials certified that the EVMs were in working order.

They later conducted a ‘poll’ to prove how if a software programme is written into the EVM chip, it will show more votes for the candidate who managed to manipulate the machine.

Mr. Krishnamoorthy pointed out to the audience, comprising mostly members of Opposition parties, that only a technically qualified person could assess if a chip was burnt and whether there was a ‘Trojan’ programme in it. But, given the fact that there were as many as six safeguards in the machine, the “question of a Trojan does not arise.”

Detailing the poll process, Mr. Krishnamoorthy said that for every election, EVMs were rotated from State to State.

Conceding that there could be some technical apprehensions for the organisers which needed clarification, Mr. Krishnamoorthy said it was “unfair” to make allegations that the “EVMs could be tutored.”

http://www.hindu.com/2009/08/11/stories/2009081160700700.htm

EVM: Hacking demo

Public release date: 10-Aug-2009


Contact: Daniel Kane
dbkane@ucsd.edu
858-534-3262
University of California - San Diego 

Video at http://www.eurekalert.org/multimedia/pub/15858.php?from=142265 Caption: Computer scientists led by Hovav Shacham, a UC San Diego professor, hacked an electronic voting machine and stole votes using a malicious programming approach that had not been invented when the voting machine was designed. The computer scientists employed "return-oriented programming" to force a Sequoia AVC Advantage electronic voting machine to turn against itself and steal votes.

Computer scientists take over electronic voting machine with new programming technique

Voting machines must remain secure throughout their entire service lifetime, and this study demonstrates how a relatively new programming technique can be used to take control of a voting machine that was designed to resist takeover

Computer scientists demonstrated that criminals could hack an electronic voting machine and steal votes using a malicious programming approach that had not been invented when the voting machine was designed. The team of scientists from University of California, San Diego, the University of Michigan, and Princeton University employed “return-oriented programming” to force a Sequoia AVC Advantage electronic voting machine to turn against itself and steal votes.

“Voting machines must remain secure throughout their entire service lifetime, and this study demonstrates how a relatively new programming technique can be used to take control of a voting machine that was designed to resist takeover, but that did not anticipate this new kind of malicious programming,” said Hovav Shacham, a professor of computer science at UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering and an author on the new study presented on August 10, 2009 at the 2009 Electronic Voting Technology Workshop / Workshop on Trustworthy Elections (EVT/WOTE 2009), the premier academic forum for voting security research.

In 2007, Shacham first described return-oriented programming, which is a powerful systems security exploit that generates malicious behavior by combining short snippets of benign code already present in the system.

The new study demonstrates that return-oriented programming can be used to execute vote-stealing computations by taking control of a voting machine designed to prevent code injection. Shacham and UC San Diego computer science Ph.D. student Stephen Checkoway collaborated with researchers from Princeton University and the University of Michigan on this project.

“With this work, we hope to encourage further public dialog regarding what voting technologies can best ensure secure elections and what stop gap measures should be adopted if less than optimal systems are still in use,” said J. Alex Halderman, an electrical engineering and computer science professor at the University of Michigan.

The computer scientists had no access to the machine’s source code—or any other proprietary information—when designing the demonstration attack. By using just the information that would be available to anyone who bought or stole a voting machine, the researchers addressed a common criticism made against voting security researchers: that they enjoy unrealistic access to the systems they study.

“Based on our understanding of security and computer technology, it looks like paper-based elections are the way to go. Probably the best approach would involve fast optical scanners reading paper ballots. These kinds of paper-based systems are amenable to statistical audits, which is something the election security research community is shifting to,” said Shacham.

“You can actually run a modern and efficient election on paper that does not look like the Florida 2000 Presidential election,” said Shacham. “If you are using electronic voting machines, you need to have a separate paper record at the very least.”

Last year, Shacham, Halderman and others authored a paper entitled “You Go to Elections with the Voting System You have: Stop-Gap Mitigations for Deployed Voting Systems” that was presented at the 2008 Electronic Voting Technology Workshop.”http://cseweb.ucsd.edu/~hovav/papers/hrsw08.html

“This research shows that voting machines must be secure even against attacks that were not yet invented when the machines were designed and sold. Preventing not-yet-discovered attacks requires an extraordinary level of security engineering, or the use of safeguards such as voter-verified paper ballots,” said Edward Felten, an author on the new study; Director of the Center for Information Technology Policy; and Professor of Computer Science and Public Affairs at Princeton University.

Return-Oriented Programming Demonstrates Voting Machine Vulnerabilities

To take over the voting machine, the computer scientists found a flaw in its software that could be exploited with return-oriented programming. But before they could find a flaw in the software, they had to reverse engineer the machine’s software and its hardware—without the benefit of source code.

Princeton University computer scientists affiliated with the Center for Information Technology Policy began by reverse engineering the hardware of a decommissioned Sequoia AVC Advantage electronic voting machine, purchased legally through a government auction. J. Alex Halderman—an electrical engineering and computer science professor at the University of Michigan (who recently finished his Ph.D. in computer science at Princeton) and Ariel Feldman—a Princeton University computer science Ph.D. student, reverse-engineered the hardware and documented its behavior.

It soon became clear to the researchers that the voting machine had been designed to reject any injected code that might be used to take over the machine. When they learned of Shacham’s return-oriented programming approach, the UC San Diego computer scientists were invited to take over the project. Stephen Checkoway, the computer science Ph.D. student at UC San Diego, did the bulk of the reverse engineering of the voting machine’s software. He deciphered the software by reading the machine’s read-only memory.

Simultaneously, Checkoway extended return-oriented programming to the voting machine’s processor architecture, the Z80. Once Checkoway and Shacham found the flaw in the voting machine’s software—a search which took some time—they were ready to use return-oriented programming to expose the machine’s vulnerabilities and steal votes.

The computer scientists crafted a demonstration attack using return-oriented programming that successfully took control of the reverse engineered software and hardware and changed vote totals. Next, Shacham and Checkoway flew to Princeton and proved that their demonstration attack worked on the actual voting machine, and not just the simulated version that the computer scientists built.

The computer scientists showed that an attacker would need just a few minutes of access to the machine the night before the election in order to take it over and steal votes the following day. The attacker introduces the demonstration attack into the machine through a cartridge with maliciously constructed contents that is inserted into an unused port in the machine. The attacker navigates the machine’s menus to trigger the vulnerability the researchers found. Now, the malicious software controls the machine. The attacker can, at this point, remove the cartridge, turn the machine’s power switch to the “off” position, and leave. Everything appears normal, but the attacker’s software is silently at work.

When poll workers enter in the morning, they normally turn this type of voting machine on. At this point, the exploit would make the machine appear to turn back on, even though it was never actually turned off.

“We overwrote the computer’s memory and state so it does what we want it to do, but if you shut off the machine and reboot from ROM, the exploit is gone and the machine returns to its original behavior,” explained Checkoway.

The computer scientists tested a machine that is very similar to machines that are used today in New Jersey and Louisiana. These New Jersey and Louisiana machines may have corrected the specific vulnerabilities the computer scientists exploited, but they have the same architectural limitations. The researchers highlight the possibility that current voting machines will be vulnerable to return-oriented programming attacks similar to the attack demonstrated in this study.

“This work shows how difficult it is to design voting machines that will remain secure over time. It’s impossible to anticipate what new kinds of attacks will be discovered in the future,” said Halderman.

###

Watch a four minute video interview with Hovav Shacham, professor of computer science at UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering at:http://www.jacobsschool.ucsd.edu/news/news_video/play.sfe?id=40 orhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Me3oMlAZ4Qo

County by county information on voting machines is available, via Verified Voting.org at:http://www.verifiedvoting.org/verifier/searched.php?model%5B%5D=AVC+Advantage&rowspp=20000

This return-oriented programming development comes less than one year after a pair of UC San Diego computer science graduate students both extended return-oriented programming to RISC computer architectures and automated much of the necessary low level programming. http://www.jacobsschool.ucsd.edu/news/news_releases/release.sfe?id=788

“Can DREs Provide Everlasting Security? The Case of Return-Oriented Programming and the AVC Advantage” by Stephen Checkoway,University of California, San Diego; Ariel J. Feldman, Princeton University; Brian Kantor, University of California, San Diego; J. Alex Halderman, University of Michigan; Edward W. Felten, Princeton University; Hovav Shacham, University of California, San Diego.

The computer scientists presented this work on August 10, 2009 at the 2009 Electronic Voting Technology Workshop / Workshop on Trustworthy Elections (EVT/WOTE 2009), the premier academic forum for voting security research.

Related publications:

J.A. Halderman, E. Rescorla, H. Shacham, and D. Wagner. “You Go to Elections with the Voting System You Have: Stop-Gap Mitigations for Deployed Voting Systems.” In D. Dill and T. Kohno, eds., Proceedings of EVT 2008. USENIX/ACCURATE, July 2008. 
http://cseweb.ucsd.edu/~hovav/papers/hrsw08.html

R. Roemer, E. Buchanan, H. Shacham, and S. Savage. “Return-Oriented Programming: Systems, Languages, and Applications.” 2009. In review. 
http://cseweb.ucsd.edu/~hovav/papers/rbss09.html

E. Buchanan, R. Roemer, H. Shacham, and S. Savage. “When Good Instructions Go Bad: Generalizing Return-Oriented Programming to RISC.” In P. Syverson and S. Jha, eds., Proceedings of CCS 2008, pages 27–38. ACM Press, Oct. 2008. 
http://cseweb.ucsd.edu/~hovav/papers/brss08.html

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-08/uoc--csh080609.php#

The ECI said that tests are conducted on the "Gensys" software that transmits the results to the website. These tests are to ensure that the candidate name and results columns match. They also sad all such tests are clearly labeled as tests on the website. They were unable to explain why the data available on the 6th of May through the 15th of May on the ECI website was not labeled test, was changing, was coded, did not display the candidate name and why the results were not uploaded on to the spreadsheet. They agreed that they would send a written communication about this serious issue.

Meeting with the ECI

 

On the 7th of August 2009, at the request of Kirit Somayia, Dr Anupam Saraph visited the ECI along with several technology experts. Security Expert Vijay Mukhi pointed out that the ECI should change its language that EVM's cannot be hacked as there is no technology that is hack proof. He also pointed out several holes in the EVM that can be used to compromise an EVM. Kirit Somayia highlighted the need to keep making improvements in the election process by seeking open and inclusive dialog with all stake-holders. He also highlighted the lack of audit of the votes or voters, as would exist in the finance profession. He asked the ECI to immediately switch to paper trail to EVMs.

Here is the summary of the points Dr Anupam Saraph raised with the ECI:

Trust in EVMs: When people transact on an ATM and trust the machine in the wall with their hard earned money, the machine does NOT require any "observers", micro-observers", "agents of the bank", "agents of the Reserve Bank of India", "Representatives of the Account holder" etc. along with seals fixed on the machine by various persons, countersigned by others on specially printed paper from Nasik to build trust. Unfortunately, as indicated by the ECI during the meeting itself, the EVM has to be viewed in its totality, including the administrative checks and balances and the various processes. These include a paraphernelia of observers, micro-observers, polling agents, returning officers, counting agents etc. as well as several seals on paper printed at the government press in Nasik to ensure and create the perception of trust. The transaction slip that the ATM generates, the ability to check the balance anytime on the ATM or on a counter in the bank- even update a "passbook"- creates trust. The EVMs, however leave no such transaction trail and ability to build trust. They are purely faith based on the entire machinery and it is painful that the ECI is not giving adequate reasons to even build the faith in the machinery. The banking system also has a statutory Audit by a third party, not the manufacturer of the ATM or the bank. The EVM has no transaction trail, no audit and cannot be checked by anyone without the direction of the court. How many times had any audit been undertaken and where, by whom? Which of the "upgrade" features of EVMs were used on a regular basis and what were the results? Why instead was there no focus on simplifying the EVM to make it more trustable?

 

Consolidating databases: The election commission is required to track information on voters, constituencies, candidates, votes etc. This information is collected, stored and maintained in various databases of the ECI in multiple formats, multiple copies and multiple locations. There is no way to tell the authentic one. A query to one may generate a different answer from the other. There needs to be a broader open and inclusivetechnology reform agenda beyond the EVMs.

 

Tests and dummy data: The ECI must make public any tests, their schedule, the nature of such tests, the data used for such tests, the results obtained from such tests and the names of the persons and organizations responsible for such tests. Kirit Somayia asked the ECI to particularly comment on the queries raised by Prof Madhav Nalapat and Dr Anupam Saraph about the data available from the 6th of May.

 

ECI Responses

The ECI agreed that the simplification of the EVM was needed- the need for such an elaborate machinery should be done away with. They agreed to compile the list of audits undertaken, if any, and make them available. While conceding that none of the upgrade features had been used to generate reports, they said they were there in-case of direction by the court.

The ECI agreed that it had need to consolidate the databases and ensure that the system would be less error prone. They agreed to create a "technology reform agenda" beyond the EVMs.

The ECI said that tests are conducted on the "Gensys" software that transmits the results to the website. These tests are to ensure that the candidate name and results columns match. They also sad all such tests are clearly labeled as tests on the website. They were unable to explain why the data available on the 6th of May through the 15th of May on the ECI website was not labeled test, was changing, was coded, did not display the candidate name and why the results were not uploaded on to the spreadsheet. They agreed that they would send a written communication about this serious issue.

The ECI conceded to the existence of holes, "easter eggs" in the software and the absence of any process other than "black-box" testing to confirm the source code on EVMs and rationalized saying that the proprietary nature of the technology, the elaborate administrative procedure and the seals made sure that the EVM was unhackable and safe.

Even while arguing that the EVM was not a computer, but just a calculator, the ECI was closed to releasing the source or making the technology open-sourced. Their argument: open source will generate clones that compromise the process.

 

Actionable Points

 

An open and inclusive dialog on process simplification to include transaction trail and independent auditability to be initiated by the ECI. The ECI should participate in the technology reform wiki already set up by the various stake-holders.

The ECI to provide a detailed response on the manner it conducts tests and specifically the questions raised due to the availability of the 2009 results data in coded form between the 6th and 15th of May.

 

The wiki community to list out case with examples of how open-source or closed-source technologies can create more trusted, highly secure and contemporary voting processes.

The ECI to move to a paper trail to the EVM for all elections beginning immediately.

The paper trail to be used as an audit record that must be counted independently at different locations by third parties during the counting process.

 

References:

Tracking the elections

Questions about Indian democracy raised by the data on the ECI website

Voting Reforms: Options in an imperfect world

Copy of letter sent to the ECI requesting clarifications

Researching the coded database

Case for Election Reforms

Review the 2009 Lok Sabha Election Process: Promises and Reality

Results before Voting?

Facts about Meeting with the ECI

 From: http://government.wikia.com/wiki/Meeting_with_the_ECI

Press Information Bureau Government of India Saturday, August 08, 2009                                                       

ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINES- REGARDING 

20:58 IST            

              The Election Commission had, in an extraordinary measure, invited those who have recently expressed reservations about the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) to come and demonstrate the points made in their allegations from 3rd to 8th August 2009. Those invited included political parties, petitioners before various courts and some individuals who had been writing to the Commission on this issue. One hundred EVM samples were obtained on random basis from ten states namely, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. These were kept at the Commission’s office in readiness for scrutiny and for any application to establish its alleged fallibility. The EVMs were offered for such demonstration in the presence of a technical experts group as well as engineers representing the EVM manufacturers, BEL and ECIL. These engineers were especially called from Hyderabad and Bangalore and stationed in ECI’s office for a whole week for this specific purpose. The outcome of this exercise is that none of the persons, who were given the opportunity, could actually demonstrate any tamperability of the ECI-EVM, in any of the hundred machines put on display. They either failed or chose not to demonstrate. 

The Election Commission would like to underline that it always had a firm conviction and complete satisfaction that EVMs could not be tampered with. Its faith on the machine has never wavered through the conduct of elections in the last many years including the nation-wide general elections in 2004 and 2009 and over 30 general elections to state assemblies during the last five years. In the past, no one has been able to actually demonstrate that EVMs used by the Election Commission can be tampered with or manipulated. What has been demonstrated or claimed to have been demonstrated is on a privately assembled “look-alike of ECI-EVMs” and not the actual ECI-EVM. However, the aforesaid extraordinary measure was undertaken by the Election Commission in fulfillment of its responsibility not to allow even a small shade of doubt about any aspect of its operation and in order to set at rest any misgiving anywhere. Today, the Commission once again completely reaffirms its faith in the infallibility of the EVMs. These are fully tamper-proof, as ever. 

Dr. Kirit Somaiya, Vice-President, BJP, Maharashtra, accompanied by some others, visited the Commission on 7 August 2009 responding to the Commission’s invitation. He categorically stated that he was not opposed to the use of EVMs and he had never wanted to do any demonstration about the tamperability of EVMs. He however made certain suggestions for consideration of the Commission in line with his earlier correspondence with ECI. Ms. Veena Singh, a candidate in recent Parliamentary election in Madhya Pradesh also visited the Commission and made certain general points regarding physical handling of EVMs. It was explained to her that there are sufficient safeguards to take care of such problems. Shri Satinath Chaudhury, a petitioner in the Supreme Court in 2004 on the EVM issue, came on 8th August 2009 and after making some attempts, failed to demonstrate that the EVM could be tampered with. 

Shri Omesh Saigal, who visited the Commission on the same day, accompanied by some others, refused to demonstrate the points earlier raised by him, using any of the 100 actual ECI-EVMs, he was offered to choose from. In a letter, addressed to the Chief Election Commissioner and handed over to EC officials, he in turn wanted certain arrangements for him and his team of hardware and software professionals from a private company before coming to demonstrate about the tamperability of the EVM. He also offered to show what he claimed as possibility of tampering using his personal computer and a ‘look alike’ of the ECI-EVM, that was privately manufactured, and is also seen on several TV channels. It was pointed out to Shri Saigal that the ECI-EVM was not at all comparable with what he had brought. Based on this, the EC officials declined to deal with, what appeared to be an imitation machine, so as to avoid creating any confusion in public mind. Shri Saigal made also a request to the Commission to consider pre-poll audit of the EVMs. 

The Supreme Court of India, while disposing of a petition filed by Shri V. V. Rao and three others belonging to the Jan Chaitanya Vedika, raising questions about use of Electronic Voting Machines in the elections, on 27 July 2009 observed that the petitioners could approach the Election Commission in the matter. Similar petitions were filed before three High Courts in the country. These are the Madras High Court, the Bombay High Court and the High Court of Madhya Pradesh ( Jabalpur bench). These petitions also raise allegations about the possibility of tampering with the EVMs. The Mumbai High Court has since dismissed the petition asking the petitioner to approach the Election Commission. The Election Commission has invited all these petitioners to come and demonstrate their points before the Commission. But none of them turned up for making a demonstration from 3rd August 2009 to 8th August 2009. 

EVMs have served the country’s elections well. These were introduced after long ranging political, technical and administrative consultations since 1979. The use of machines has helped prevent several electoral malpractices and resulted in more efficient conduct of elections. Judgments from various courts have upheld the use of EVMs and technical experts have endorsed the machines from time to time. In fact, the Karnataka High Court has hailed the EVM as ‘a national pride’. Similarly, the Madras High Court, after elaborate consideration of the issue in a batch of petitions in 2001, rejected allegations that the EVMs could be tampered. The issues recently raised by petitioners in the Courts and by some others, broadly allege the possibility of tampering with the machine during the manufacturing process or while operating the machine. The following facts about ECI-EVMs conclusively rule out any such possibility. 

Facts about EVMs used by ECI 

i. ECI-EVMs are manufactured only by Electronics Corporation of India Limited (Department of Atomic Energy) and Bharat Electronics Limited (Ministry of Defence), both Central Public Sector Undertakings, which are entrusted with development of very high security product/equipment development.
ii. The ECI-EVMs cannot be reprogrammed.

iii. The software for this chip is developed in-house by a select group of engineers in the two PSUs independently from each other. A select software development group of 2-3 engineers designs the source code and this work is not sub-contracted. 
iv. The source code is so designed that it allows a voter to cast the vote only once. The next vote can be recorded only after the Presiding Officer enables the ballot on the Control Unit. In between the machine becomes dead to any signal from outside (except from the Control Unit).
v. After completion of software design, testing and evaluation of the software is carried out by an independent testing group as per the software requirements specifications (SRS). This ensures that the software has really been written as per the requirements laid down for its intended use only.
vi. After successful completion of such evaluation, machine code of the source programme code known as hex-code (not the source code itself) is given to the micro controller manufacturer for fusing in the micro controllers. From this machine code, the source code cannot be read. Source code is never handed over to anyone outside the software group.
vii. Micro controller manufacturer initially provides engineering samples for evaluation. These samples are assembled into the EVM, evaluated and verified for functionality at great length. Bulk production clearance is given to micro controller manufacturer only after successful completion of this verification.
viii. The source code for the EVM is stored under controlled conditions at all times. Checks and balances are in place to ensure that it is accessible to authorized personnel only.
ix. During production, functional testing is done by production group as per the laid down quality plan and performance test procedures.
x. Samples of EVMs from production batches are regularly checked for functionality by Quality Assurance Group, which is an independent group within the organizations.
xi. Certain additional features were introduced in 2006 in ECI-EVMs such as dynamic coding between Ballot Unit and Control Unit, installation of real time clock, installation of full display system and date and time stamping of every key pressing in EVM. It is important to note that there was no modification of any type done at this stage in the basic functions of the machine. 

Not comparable with EVMs Abroad 

The Commission has come across some comparisons between ECI-EVM and EVMs used by foreign countries. Such comparisons are both misplaced and misguided. Most of the systems used in other countries are PC based and running on operating Systems. Hence, these could be vulnerable to hacking. The EVM in India on the other hand is a fully standalone machine without being part of any network and with no provision for any input. As already stated, the software in the EVM chip is one time programmable and is burnt into the chip at the time of manufacture. Nothing can be written on the chip after manufacture. Thus the ECI-EVMs are fundamentally different from the voting machines and processes adopted in various foreign countries. Any surmise based on foreign studies or operating system based EVMs used elsewhere would be completely erroneous. The ECI-EVMs cannot be compared with those EVMs. 

Complete Procedural Security 

The Commission has in place elaborate administrative measures and procedural checks-and-balances aimed at prevention of any possible misuse or procedural lapses. These measures include rigorous pre-election test and inspection of each EVM by the technicians, two level randomization with the involvement of candidates and their agents, for the random allotment of the EVMs to various constituencies and their subsequent dispatch to various polling stations. Preparation of the EVMs for elections is done in the presence of the candidates/their agents and sealing of the prepared EVMs is also done in candidate’s or their agent’s presence. Thread seal are fixed on the EVM where again, the candidates or their representatives put their own signature and seals. Paper seals guards against any unauthorized access to the EVMs after preparation. EVMs are then kept in sealed strong rooms with provision for the candidates to put their individual seals on the strong rooms. The EVMs are randomized twice over. The list of EVMs going to individual polling stations is given to the candidates for them to check, on the poll day the actual machine, that is used in that polling station. Furthermore a mock poll is conducted in the presence of polling agents, when the polling agents can verify, inter-alia, the EVM numbers. A mock poll certificate is taken before the commencement of poll. After the mock poll the machine is set back to zero and green paper seal printed at Government Security Press is put in, where once again every polling agent is allowed to put his/her signature. After the polls, the EVM are also sealed in such a manner that there is no physical access to any of the buttons on the EVMs. Indeed there is no access to the EVMs itself since the carrying case is sealed completely. The machines are put in the strong room again in presence of the candidates, observer of the commission under video camera surveillance. The strong room is allowed to be guarded by the supporters of the candidates besides the police protection provided to strong rooms. At every step, the EVM is very well protected and elaborate arrangements are in place for the same. 

Election Commission of India
8th August , 2009,New Delhi                                                                  

http://pib.nic.in/release/rel_print_page1.asp?relid=51718

The Complete 1 Hour LIVE Video of EVM Tampering

New postby shrishanidev on Tue Jul 21, 2009 6:41 am

Those who does not know about the complete issues I have raised on this forum from beginning to end may kindly go through all these posts:

1) Tampering in EVM - Information Security Expert:  http://www.lkadvani.in/forum/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=5715

2) For the first Time - EVM Video Evidence:  http://www.lkadvani.in/forum/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=5945&start=0

3) EVM Tempering - Proved LIVE ON AIR on Sahara Samay:  http://www.lkadvani.in/forum/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=6141

After going through all the topics mentioned above, those who have not gone through complete issue may now hopefully will know what is the reason behind posting these video links. These are nothing but an evidence to implement and take actions on EVM issue and try for re-election issues as much as possible across the nation. Because cheating with all losing candidates and 100 million indian citizens is not acceptable at any cost. Come out on streets - Stop the nation on it's place till the Election Commission not prove that we are wrong or till the re-election issue does not take place. The live demo of my telecast with all answers and evidence is here. Submit the CD's of these videos in rural(village) areas so that everyone can come to know about the frauds that took place in these elections.

Part 1:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBnZdPFxT7U
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPFGpwG_GwY
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tTEy0-YCzc
Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tO1SJqutcQc
Part 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeucSGa1VBg
Part 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-HXxIACSwc

I am going to start my email campaign as well as national promotion with an intention to target millions of people to make them aware of this cheating that happened to them in these elections. You all also do the same in co-operation wih all loosing candidates and loosing parties. If anyone needs my help them sms me on 9227435453 or email me on  shrishanidev@gmail.com or intelligence@reliancemail.net or cmtechnical@bsnl.in or leave message to my mobile voicemail system.

NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE THOUGH.

Thanking you all,

Kalpesh Sharma

 

Poll panel convenes all-party meeting on voting machine

 

New Delhi, Aug 6

The Election Commission has convened an all-party meeting Friday to discuss the issue of the effectiveness of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) following doubts about their credibility from various quarters.

The meeting is scheduled for Friday afternoon.

"In the light of the continuing public debate and the emerging concerns, the Election Commission has invited political parties and petitioners in various courts to discuss their concerns in the presence of technical experts and representatives of manufacturing firms," said a statement issued by the National Forum to promote verifiability, transparency and accountability in Indian elections.

The forum was launched recently and consists of experts, NGOs and other eminent citizens as its members.

"We welcome this initiative but sincerely hope that the commission examines all the valid concerns and apprehensions expressed by various stakeholders," said its convenor G.V.L. Narasimha Rao.

"As a national forum to ensure fairness in Indian elections, we would like the Election Commission to examine and provide credible answers to all the following questions and issues," he said.

The commission last week had said they "remain entirely satisfied that EVMs cannot be tampered with. These are fully tamper-proof."

The first attack about the reliability of the EVMs came from Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) L.K. Advani. Following his protests, other political leaders also voiced their doubts about the reliability of the EVMs that were used during the April-May Lok Sabha polls.

As many cases were filed on the matter in various courts, the commission invited those who had approached the courts and political parties to its headquarters in New Delhi for a demonstration.

The meeting would be held in the presence of technical experts as well as engineers representing the EVM manufacturers.

Last updated on Aug 6th, 2009 at 20:46 pm IST--IANS

http://www.prokerala.com/news/articles/a70179.html

 

EVM controversy: Old allegations revisited

 

Ajai Shukla / New Delhi August 07, 2009, 0:32 IST

Today, the BJP and the Shiv Sena appeared before the Election Commission to allege that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), which are now used for all Indian elections, can be manipulated to favour a candidate. But old-timers from Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), who perfected the EVMs in the late 1980s, say that all the current allegations have been raised before, and comprehensively disproved.

Colonel H S Shankar, former Director (R&D) at BEL, says that EVMs came under fire soon after BEL demonstrated these to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in mid-1989. Shankar, who attended that meeting, recalls that an impressed Rajiv Gandhi suggested the use of EVMs in 150 constituencies during the 1989 general elections.

The first challenge came swiftly. On October 15,1989, at a dramatic press conference in New Delhi, Janata Dal chief, Vishwanath Pratap Singh and George Fernandes produced a “computer consultant” to prove that EVMs could easily be rigged. Before a crowd of journalists, the consultant keyed in “3 + 3” into a computer, pressed “Enter” and showed the answer to the crowd. It was 9.

In the charged atmosphere of 1989, the Election Commission scrapped the plan to use EVMs that year. But when V P Singh became PM, BEL launched a campaign to prove the reliability of electronic voting. Eventually, the government created an experts committee to examine whether EVMs could be “fiddled”.

Professor S Sampath of the Defence R&D Organisation headed the committee, which included Dr P V Indiresan of IIT Delhi, and Dr C Rao Kasarabada, Director Electronic Research and Development Center, Trivandrum. Dr Indiresan gathered four of his brightest research students and gave them five days to subvert the EVM’s source code. Their only restriction: there should be no external damage to the EVM.

Colonel Shankar says that BEL gave Dr Indiresan’s team all the EVM circuit diagrams and design drawings; only the encryption-coded software was withheld. “After five days of struggling, they admitted that the EVM was tamper-proof.”

At the core of the EVM is a micro-controller chip, built by Hitachi of Japan, called an OTP-ROM (one-time programmable read-only memory). Onto this, the Indian EVM contractors — BEL and Electronics Corporation of India (ECIL) — “burn” the algorithm that makes it record votes. The microprocessor’s “non-volatile” memory ensures that, once the algorithm is written, it can never be overwritten or subverted, not even by the manufacturer.

The algorithm makes the EVM function as a vote counter. Each candidate is assigned a numbered button, according to the alphabetic order of the candidates’ names. Each time a voter presses, say, Button No 1, the software adds one vote to the account of Candidate No 1. And since, in each constituency, each political party’s candidate will have different serial numbers (determined by the candidate’s name), there is no possibility of installing a country-wide code that favours one party.

After failing to subvert the software, the Sampath Committee staged a mock election to try and subvert the procedure. Failing to do so, it strongly endorsed the EVM. Chief Election Commissioner, R V S Peri Sastry, discussed the test results with all the political party heads, including BJP President L K Advani, all of whom agreed to the use of EVMs in general elections.

“The reason why all parties accepted the EVM was simple”, explains Colonel Shankar, “We copied the simplicity and transparency of the earlier system, while doing away with its drawbacks.”

Besides the tedious counting of votes, the major drawback in the old system of paper voting was booth capturing. Party goons would take over voting booths and, in a couple of hours, stamp thousands of paper ballots in each booth and slip them into the boxes. EVMs mitigate the effects of booth capturing, since a delay circuit ensures only two votes can be recorded per minute. Even if a booth is captured for an hour, a maximum of 120 votes can be polled.

EVMs were used for the first time in general elections in 45 seats in 1999. Polling in the 2004 general elections was entirely on EVMs. This year, again, 671 million voters got the opportunity to vote on EVMs.

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/evm-controversy-old-allegations-revisited/366219/

 

 

SPECIAL REPORT | Anupam Saraph and Madhav Nalapat (6 Aug. 2009)

DON’T BANK ON EVMS

 

Were the results of some Lok Sabha constituencies decided even before polling?


While tracking the lok Sabha elections of 2009 we stumbled upon startling versions of a file on polling information on the Election Commission of India’s [ECI] website.
We were tracking candidate information from an Excel spreadsheet titled “CandidateAC”, which was downloadable from the ECI’s website. The “CandidateAC” spreadsheet has a column for “votes polled”. As one would expect, this file when downloaded on 16 April [the first day of polling] and 24 April did not contain any information on votes polled. The file, when downloaded on 6 May, 7 May and 11 May, had coded the candidate name, party name and the number of votes polled [check footnotes 1-5]. The last phase of polling took place on 13 May and, officially, the votes were counted and results declared on 16 May.

This information could have changed in three possible ways:
1. Someone had hacked the file.
2. The data from various EVMs had been uploaded to the private database, and this was used to create the public file.
3. Someone who had access to the private database had actually added the data.

The first possibility is serious, as it implies that the databases hosted by the ECI are not secure and can be compromised. The second is a violation of the ECI’s rule that no counting was to begin till 16 May. It also constitutes a breach of security, as the EVMs were supposed to be in safe custody in a strong room of the DEO [district election officer]. The third would imply that the election results were being decided by whoever had access to the private database. If the results were to be read only from the EVMs, why was a coded spreadsheet prepared? How could this spreadsheet have the data on “votes polled”? Check the file downloaded on 15 May. Surprisingly, it does not have any information on “votes polled”. More surprisingly, after the media raised the issue on 15 July, the link to the file disappeared from the ECI website.

Sceptics might say that the coded data containing information on the votes polled was test or dummy data. If so, why was this test or dummy data prepared? What was being tested? How was this test data generated? What were the results of the tests? Why was the data generated after the first three phases of polling, but before the fourth and fifth phases? Why was the data removed when there was no intention of loading real data into the file? Why was the dummy data coded? How do 108 winning candidates in the dummy data match the eventual winners?

When the implications are so serious, why has the ECI not clarified the issue despite repeated requests, or constituted a panel to initiate reforms to make the process less vulnerable to such serious implications?

EVMs, like all technology, can be hacked. Hacked EVMs can have Trojan Horses or programs with instructions to receive a coded spreadsheet and translate them into results. It is possible for such spreadsheets to actually prepare a predetermined result. If your bank publishes your account details and claims it is dummy data, will you let them manage your money? To ensure that such manipulations do not ruin our democracy what must the EVMs have? They must be built to leave a transaction trail auditable by anyone in case there is a dispute. To create such transaction trails, every vote cast on every EVM must be distinguishable from votes that might be cast by a Trojan. In the Indian system, the electronic votes are not recorded to indicate that they belong to a particular voter. Imagine a situation where you cannot track the money in a bank account as money deposited through a source: Someone, by gaining access to your account on the bank’s computer deposits an unlimited amount of money or withdraws whatever you have deposited, but you do not have the resources to trace that money or have a third party audit the bank’s books. That is why leaving a transaction trail is important in any audit process.

Now imagine a candidate having an “account” in an EVM. Unless there is a mechanism to track every transaction as an inflow or outflow of votes from a legitimate source, there is no transaction trail and no ability to audit the actual vote balance in the candidate’s account. The votes cast by the voters are indistinguishable from those cast by a Trojan software or hardware. This is a very serious design lapse, and renders the EVMs completely useless for carrying out a costly democratic process. Will you trust your money with a bank that cannot track your account’s transactions?

The current EVM system banks on faith, not on the accounting of votes — the faith of the voter in the honesty, integrity and fidelity of the EVMs, the people involved and in the process. Will you switch to a faith-based banking system when it comes to your money?

If the system is not faith-based, why not simply give the EVMs — like telephones — to electronic voting booths [EVBs] — like the STD-ISD booths — for anyone to run? Give everyone a week to vote and then collect the votes as you would collect the coins?

The manuals prepared for the chief election officer, district election officer, observers, polling agents, presiding officers, returning officers, candidates and counting agents show that the ECI gives little focus on building trustworthy databases, or on building good accounting practices and clean auditable systems that anyone other than they themselves can audit. Will the RBI permit financial institutions that cannot maintain basic records, or cannot be audited by third parties, to function?

Imagine a situation where you deposit your money in your account without getting any acknowledgement of your transaction specifying your account. In case there is a dispute, will you be able to claim that you had deposited the money into that account? When you deposit a vote for your candidate, do you get any acknowledgement about your deposit that you can use in a dispute? Is there any way that you can check later that your vote has been counted? Will you trust your money with a bank that does not give you a passbook or a statement of your deposits and withdrawals? What makes you trust the EVM with your liberty, and with your money that funds these elections? Finally, imagine a situation where your bank issues statements in which the number of depositors varies from statement to statement, as well as the deposits made. How comfortable does that make you about your bank?

Managing the democratic process of voting requires a database of voters, of candidates, constituencies and of votes deposited in a candidate’s account by legitimate voters. The voters’ banker, the ECI, has failed not just to track its depositors — the voters — but also how many votes they have deposited. Public databases maintained by the ECI indicate that the elections of 2009 had 716,676,063 or 714,103,070 or 713,776,525 voters [check footnotes 6-8]. As for the number of votes polled in these elections, the figure was either 417,158,644 or 417,156,922 [check footnotes 9-10]. Evidently, there is much the ECI can do to reform its technology [¼] Dr Anupam Saraph, an IT and governance expert, has created the world’s first governance wiki at giki.wikia.com Professor Madhav Nalapat holds the UNESCO Peace Chair and is Director of the Department of Geopolitics at Manipal University 
FOOTNOTES
1. http://www.scribd.com/doc/15676183/CandidateAC.xlsdownloaded on 16 April 2009
2. http://www.scribd.com/doc/15676724/CandidateAC1.xlsdownloaded on 24 April 2009
3. http://www.scribd.com/doc/15676840/CandidateAC2.xlsdownloaded on 6 May 2009
4. http://www.scribd.com/doc/15676045/CandidateAC4.xlsdownloaded on 7 May 2009
5. http://www.scribd.com/doc/15676489/CandidateAC5.xlsdownloaded on 11 May 2009
6. 716,676,063 according to http://eci.nic.in/Analysis/ Voter Turnout
7. 714,103,070 according to http://eci.nic.in/eroll&epic/ERoll2009.pdf
8. 713,776,525 according to http://eci.nic.in/Analysis/ Electors Information
9. 417,158,644 according to http://eci.nic.in/Analysis/ Voter Turnout
10. 417,156,922 according to http://eci.nic.in/Analysis/ All Candidates Votes Polled

http://www.covertmagazine.com/anupham.htm

EVMs should generate hard copy for voter: Jayalalithaa

August 5th, 2009 - 9:44 pm ICT by IANS 

Chennai, Aug 5 (IANS) Continuing her tirade against electronic voting machines (EVMs), Leader of Opposition in Tamil Nadu and AIADMK general secretary J. Jayalalithaa said Wednesday that the voting machines can be hacked or manipulated.

Citing media reports about a Hyderabad based software engineer Hari Prasad who on behalf of a non governmental organisation (NGO) demonstrated how EVMs can be tampered with, Jayalalithaa said in a statement: “This should come as an eye-opener not only to the Election Commission of India and the judiciary but also to the voting public.”

She said the main problem is that in an electoral exercise, if tampering or hacking of EVMs is suspected, there are no means whatsoever to ascertain or prove before the authorities or the court that hacking has been done.

“It is equally impossible to prove that hacking has not been done. The reason for this is that the EVMs in use in our country do not generate a hard copy or a coded print-out. At the time of voting, unless the EVM simultaneously generates a physically verifiable hard copy, it would be impossible to ascertain the veracity of any complaints of tampering.”

According to her in a democracy, every voter should know whether the vote cast has gone to the candidate or party it was meant for.

“In the absence of such certainty, the entire democratic process will be rendered a mockery. It is to ensure that democracy, in its true sense, is brought back that the AIADMK decided to boycott by-elections to five assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu,” she added.

Five assembly constituencies in the state are scheduled to have byelections Aug 18.

http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/politics/evms-should-generate-hard-copy-for-voter-jayalalithaa_100228107.html

 

Jaya cites EVMs as reason for bypoll boycott

 

Chennai, Wednesday 5 August 2009: AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa, who has been strongly critical of electronic voting machines, today cited the issue of reliability of the EVMs, a reason for boycotting the August 18 assembly bypolls in five seats in Tamil Nadu.

Noting the recent demonstration by an NGO that EVMs can be tampered with, she said, “This should come as an eye-opener not only to the Election Commission, but also to the voting public,” and added,” In a democracy, every voter should know whether the vote cast has gone to the candidate or party it was meant for.”

In the absence of such certainty, the entire democratic process would be rendered a “mockery”, she said in a statement here. “It is to ensure that democracy in its true sense is brought back that AIADMK decided to boycott the bypolls.
(Agency)

http://www.asianetindia.com/news/jaya-cites-evms-reason-bypoll-boycott_67299.html

வாக்குப் பதிவு இயந்திரத்தில் தில்லுமுல்லு செய்ய முடியும்

First Published : 03 Aug 2009 01:12:41 AM IST

Last Updated :

http://dinamani.com/Images/article/2009/8/3/3evm.jpg 

வாக்குப் பதிவு இயந்திரத்தில் எப்படியெல்லாம் தில்லு முல்லு செய்ய வாய்ப்புள்ளது என்பதை ஒரிசா தலைநகர் புவனேசுவரத்தில் ஞாயிற்றுக்கிழமை விளக்குகிறார் தகவல்

புவனேசுவரம், ஆக. 2: மின்னணு வாக்குப் பதிவு இயந்திரத்தில் தில்லுமுல்லு செய்ய முடியும் என்பதை தன்னார்வ அமைப்புகள் நிரூபித்துள்ளன.

ஒரிசா தலைநகர் புவனேசுவரத்தில் ஞாயிற்றுக்கிழமை நடைபெற்ற நேரடி விளக்க நிகழ்ச்சியில், மின்னணு வாக்குப்பதிவு இயந்திரத்தில் எப்படியெல்லாம் தில்லுமுல்லு செய்ய முடியும் என்பதை அவர்கள் விளக்கிக் காட்டினர்.

முன்னாள் நீதிபதிகள், ஓய்வுபெற்ற அதிகாரிகள், அரசியல் தலைவர்கள், பத்திரிகையாளர்கள் முன்னிலையில் இந்த நேரடி விளக்கம் நடைபெற்றது.

ஒரு குறிப்பிட்ட கட்சி அதிக வாக்குகள் கிடைக்கும் வகையில் வாக்குப் பதிவு இயந்திரத்தில் புரோஹிராம் செய்து தவறு செய்ய முடியும் என்பதை நேரடியாக ஜன சைத்திரிய வேதிகா அமைப்பின் துணைத் தலைவர் வி.வி. ராவ் விளக்கினார்.

மின்னணு வாக்குப்பதிவு இயந்திரத்தில் முறைகேடு செய்ய முடியும் என்று மின்னணு தொழில்நுட்ப நிபுணர்கள் பலரும் தேர்தல் பார்வையாளர்களும் கருத்துத் தெரிவித்துள்ளனர் என்று "நெட்இண்டியா' அமைப்பைச் சேர்ந்த ஹரி பிரசாத் தெரிவித்தார்.

தில்லுமுல்லு செய்ய முடியாத அளவில் தற்போதைய இயந்திரங்களை மேம்படுத்தும்வரை இவற்றை எந்தத் தேர்தலிலும் பயன்படுத்தக் கூடாது என்று அவர்கள் வலியுறுத்தினர்.

வாக்குப்பதிவு இயந்திரத்தில் தில்லுமுல்லு செய்ய முடியும் என்பதை ஹைதராபாத், தில்லி, நாக்பூர், மும்பை மற்றும் புணே ஆகிய நகரங்களில் ஏற்கெனவே நேரடியாக விளக்கி உள்ளோம் என்றார் அவர்.

தில்லுமுல்லு செய்ய முடியும் என்பதை தில்லியில் தங்கள் முன்னிலையில் நேரடியாக நிரூபிக்குமாறு தேர்தல் ஆணையம் எங்களுக்கு அழைப்பு விடுத்துள்ளது. தேர்தல் ஆணையத்திலும் இதை நிரூபிப்போம் என்று அவர்கள் கூறினர்.

நன்றி தினமணி,

http://dinamani.com/edition/story.aspx?&SectionName=India&artid=99832&SectionID=130&MainSectionID=130&SEO=&Title=

எலன் செந்தில்

‘Tampered' EVMs: Opp cries foul     

Sandeep Mishra, TNN 3 August 2009, 11:17pm IST

BHUBANESWAR: Enthused by an IT expert's claims that electronic voting machines (EVMs) could be manipulated, Opposition parties on Monday said there was need for a "thorough probe" into the alleged misuse of EVMs during the recent twin polls in the state.

After biting the dust in the elections, leaders from Congress, BJP as well as other parties had accused the ruling BJD of "manipulating" the EVMs to its advantage during the polls to secure a landslide triumph. 

Following software engineer Hari K Prasad's demonstration here on Sunday that the EVMs were vulnerable to tampering, state BJP leaders said they would seek legal refuge if necessary. "We are keeping a watch on the developments. The Election Commission has asked the experts to demonstrate before it how the EVMs could be manipulated. The experts would do the demonstration before EC on August 6. If the commission does not act to our satisfaction, then we would consider moving court," state BJP president Suresh Pujari told TOI. 

"More importantly, we have decided to go to the people and create awareness about the issue among the masses. There needs to be national debate and proper probe to know the truth," he added.  

Senior BJP leader Jual Oram informed that the party has formed a committee to study the EVM issue. "In my constituency (Sundargarh Lok Sabha), there were different instances of EVM malfunctioning. All these need to be probed," he said. 

Chairman of Orissa Pradesh Congress Committee media cell Kailash Acharya said aggrieved party candidates had started writing to the Election Commission. "The issue should not be viewed in a partisan manner. It should be seen as a systemic failure. Hence even the beneficiaries should come forward and demand a truthful probe into the use of EVMs," he said.  

Ruling BJD leaders, however, rubbished allegations of misuse of EVMs, saying the Opposition parties were unnecessarily creating a hue and cry over a "non-issue" after losing the polls. 

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-4853832,prtpage-1.cms

EVM Trojans

(Rahul C. Mehta)

 

BEL to certify EVMs. EC’s credibility problem

Published by: Noor Khan 
Published: Mon, 03 Aug 2009 at 15:25 IST

 

Krishnagiri (TN), Aug 3 Bangalore based publicsector undertaking Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) will certifyall the 800 Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) to be used forthe August 18 assembly bypolls from Bargur constituency in thedistrict.

Following allegations by opposition AIADMK and PMK thatDMK had indulged in malpractices in the EVMs culminating inits victory in the Lok Sabha polls from Tamil Nadu, theElection Commission purchased new machines to be used for thefive assembly by-polls and it would be used only after theissuance of fitness certificate by the BEL engineers, anofficial press release said here today.

The BEL engineers have started checking the working ofthe EVMs in the presence of Krishnagiri District Collector V KShanmugam and Returning Officer cum District Revenue Officer AShanmugasundaram yesterday, the release said.

Each machine would be allotted with a code number thatwould be registered in computer for verification. The machineswould be dispatched randomly to poling stations only a daybefore the polling in the presence of election observer andcandidates.

Besides Burgur, other constituencies going for bypollsare Ilayankudi, Cumbum, Srivaikuntam and Thondamuthur, whichfell vacant either due to death or resignation of MLAs.

 

http://www.samaylive.com/news/bel-to-certify-evms/642764.html

 

August 09, 2009 

AIADMK boycott of by-elections

EVMs are not fair, not transparent, have no voter verifiable audit trails 
By MG Devasahayam

The decision of the opposition parties in Tamil Nadu to boycott the by-elections to five assembly constituencies is an expression of no-confidence in the electoral process in general and the Election Commission in particular, rather being aimed at the ruling DMK-Congress combine. 

An AIADMK press note makes it manifest: "Looking at the way elections have been conducted in Tamil Nadu in the last three years and in particular in Thirumangalam constituency and the recent parliamentary polls, the AIADMK has doubts if the Election Commission can function in a free and fair manner." The opposition alleges that several malpractices took place in the recent elections through use of money and muscle power to win elections and the Election Commission has been a silent spectator.  

What is strange, but not surprising, is the open admission of such malpractices by three election bigwigs-N Gopalaswami, till recently the Chief Election Commissioner, SY Quraishi, Election Commissioner (possibly the next CEC) and Naresh Gupta, long-serving Chief Electoral Officer of Tamil Nadu.  

A couple of weeks ago, while addressing a select gathering in Chennai in the presence of PC Alexander, former Tamil Nadu governor, Gopalaswami said candidly: "Electronic voting machines (EVMs) cannot be hacked as being alleged because these are stand-alone equipment and not connected to any operating system. We have met party muscle-power with government muscle-power by deploying armed central police force in polling booths. But we cannot counter money-power in a similar manner."  

He added: "In three months Election Commission cannot obliterate the massive money-power acquired by politicians in 57 months." Gopalaswami also said that though EVMs could not be hacked or tampered with, "booth capturing and bogus voting is very much possible and very much prevalent".  

The statements of Quraishi and Gupta were also on the same lines, thus creating a credibility crisis about the EC and the electoral process.  

In this context the "Caesar’s wife" anecdote would be appropriate. In 61 BC, Julius Caesar’s second wife, Pompeia was implicated in a scandal following the annual feast of the Great Goddess. Though men were not admitted to this religious ritual, the notorious libertine Publius Clodius allegedly disguised himself as a woman and seduced her. Caesar divorced Pompeia and an inquiry was held. Although several members of Caesar’s family gave evidence in favour of Pompeia, Caesar himself did not, and the court asked him why he had demanded a divorce when so much uncertainty surrounded the incident. "Caesar’s wife," he replied, "must be above suspicion."  

This is applicable mutatis mutandis to the situation in Tamil Nadu’s electoral scenario. The EC, the grandmaster of India’s electoral process, described as the "greatest democratic exercise on earth" is held in high esteem in the free world and cannot afford to lose its reputation. Therefore, though these allegations of electoral malpractices are controversial in nature, the Election Commission and the electoral process must be above suspicion. 

First, the EVMs. Even assuming these machines are tamper-proof, three essential elements of free and fair elections available to the voter under the paper ballot system are not there in the EVMs-checking the accuracy of the ballot paper before marking the vote; verifying whether he/she has correctly marked it, and reconstruction of the vote for authentication in case of electoral dispute.  

Therefore, its fairness is open to question and doubts have been raised that need to be dispelled. It may be too late in the day to stop the EVM juggernaut. But the Election Commission can build in a reasonably foolproof safeguard in the form of a verification system. This can be done by a "voter verifiable audit trail." A printer attached to the voting machine, something like ATMs in banks, could permit a "vote verification slip" to be printed out, giving the candidate and symbol for which the voter has voted. The voter picks up the slip, verifies that the vote has been correctly registered, and deposits it in a safe in front of the polling officer. Boxes containing these slips would be sealed and stored securely to be available for reconstruction of the vote and authentication of election results in case of any dispute. This way, while going hi-tech, basic requirements of a free and fair election can be met.  

Secondly, money-power. Gopalaswami is right when he said "party money-power" cannot be physically countered by "government money-power." But creating fear in the minds of the corrupters can certainly fight it. Countermand elections in constituencies where massive money power is being deployed-as described in Section 123 of the Representation of the People Act-because of which ‘result of the election is likely to be affected’. This will send shivers down the spine of the "cash-and-carry candidates", who are destroying the credibility of the electoral process. The EC can obtain such information through the battery of observers they deploy, whose numbers can be augmented in select "rogue constituencies".  

As of now, such a provision under Section 59 A 2(b) of the Act is available for booth capturing as defined in Section 135A, which covers the physical act of taking possession of polling stations, ballot boxes/EVM or ballot papers because of which "result of the election is likely to be affected".  

Both suggestions can be implemented by the EC immediately. If necessary, the Act can be suitably amended, and that brooks no delay. What is at stake is the integrity of our democracy.  

(The writer is a retired IAS officer and can be contacted at mgd@airtelmail.in) (http://tinyurl.com/m9j98m)

http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=303&page=4

 

August 09, 2009 

Debate

EVM and electoral reforms - II
EVM: The credibility factor 
By Nishitendu Chaudhury

The inflow of black money in electoral process is a great menace. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has observed after discussing various issues in this regard based on real incidents as brought on record that the political parties and candidates collect money from undisclosed and doubtful sources for the purpose of fostering their electoral prospect. In the case of Common Cause, a registered society -vs- Union of India, reported in (1996) 2 SCC 752 the Supreme Court has discussed the ill-effect of black money in electoral process and the consequences ensuing therefrom during the next tenure of the government coming in power. The initial incorporation of corrupt money through illegal means result in corruption in executive compulsorily and in the process the people are always deprived from the benefits they are entitled. The Supreme Court, therefore, has made as many as seven recommendations making it obligatory on the part of the political parties to submit return in regard to their income and expenditure. In its report dated 31.3.2002 the NCRWC has also highlighted the problem of high cost of election and abuse of money power under paragraph 4.14 of its report. It has been opined that present provisions of law have a significant loophole in the shape of explanation 1 to section 77 (1) of the RP Act 1951 under which the amounts spent by person other than the candidate and his agents are not counted in the election expenses. All extra expenditure even when known and proven can be shown to have been spent by the party or by any friends thereby taking it beyond the enforceable realms. The report therefore recommended for suitable amendment, inter alia, by deleting explanation-1 to section 77(1) of the RP Act 1951. 

The subversion of the atmosphere of free and fair poll is often done by the political parties and their candidates dividing people on the basis of race, caste, creed, language and religion and in the process the judgment of the people get vitiated by extraneous consideration other than on merit. Merit has virtually occupied the back seat in the present scenario of electoral politics because of various factors as referred to above. Unless suitable legislations are made to curb the trend, the future of our democracy will continue to be shrouded in darkness.  

The Phase-III occurrences include various types of corrupt practices within the meaning of section 123 of the RP Act 1951 and also by other means unknown to the said sections. Apart from usual corrupt practices like booth capturing, undue influence, rigging etc. there is yet another class of manipulation termed as ‘classical rigging’ by a well known journalist while making comment about the modus operandi of the election machinery of the Left parties in the West Bengal.  

The latest controversy that has come to fore is with regard to reliability of EVM. While the Dinesh Goswami report of 1990 and the opinion of the EC is in favour of use of EVM but a recent spate of articles in international journals of computer science and electronics have opened up a significant debate in this regard. The former Chief Secretary of the Union Territory of Delhi has been in the press recently for his statement that EVM can be manipulated. The strongest objection to the use of EVM has come from former Law Minister Dr Subrahmaniam Swami. He has written an article in the (The Hindu, June 17, 2009), raising several strong and legitimate objections as to the advisability of use of EVM which need to be duly addressed. Dr Swami has quoted an article published in the International Electrical and Electronic Engineering Journal (IEEE, May 2009 page-23) and Newsweek (June 1, 2009). It is a fact that a backlash against e-voting is brewing across the world. Germany’s Supreme Court has already prohibited use of EVM after one software consultant sued alleging that an EVM is less secure than a mobile phone. Netherlands has already banned use of EVM. The matter is in significant controversy in US after the Secretary of State of California has set up a full-fledged inquiry into EVMs after staying all further use. By holding a press conference at Chennai, Dr Swami has alleged that political party of India has just before last General Election recruited large number of persons who had been convicted in the US for hacking bank accounts on the internet and the credit cards. According to Dr Swami, the EVMs being nothing but computers with softwares programmed in it, are vulnerable to manipulation by hackers who has access to it. The incidents referred earlier in regard to polling of more than 100 per cent in large number of polling stations in Arunachal Pradesh may be by way of such manipulations. 

Introduction of machine in election was done by the EC for the first occasion in 1982 in a constituency in Kerela. This was challenged by the defeated candidate Sivan Pillai successfully and as such the matter was brought to the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of AC Jose-Vs-Sivan Pillai, reported in AIR 1984 SC 921. The Supreme Court found fault with the EC saying that Art. 324 cannot confer power on the EC to introduce a new system without amendment of law by the Parliament and as such the first attempt was declared illegal. Thereafter the Parliament in its wisdom passed Act I of 1989 authorising the EC to make use of machine by incorporating Section 61A in the RP Act 1951. But it appears that the Supreme Court once again has advised the EC to reconsider the technical flaws of EVM in a PIL filed by one Satinath Choudhary, a US based software engineer. 

I have stated earlier quoting concrete examples as to how polling in about 20 booths in one LAC of the state of Arunachal Pradesh could be rigged within an hour or so taking advantage of EVM. This is because in the EVM system one has to press two buttons only in casting votes. The labour is minimum in pressing button twice. On the other hand rigging under traditional ballot system is more arduous inasmuch as there the process to voting involves several steps like tearing of ballot papers from the bundle, marking the same, folding the ballot papers and there after to push it inside the ballot box so I feel under the facts and circumstances it is necessary to abandon the EVMs and to revert back to ballot system.  

One more fundamental aspect has been highlighted in both 170th report and the report of the NCRWC is that the present system of First Past the Post (FPP) system does not reflect the will of the people. In the FPP system a candidate getting say, 35 per cent of votes may win because of multi-cornered contest and presence of huge number of independent candidates. It is possible that a party or a pre-poll alliance may occupy the power only by commanding 35 per cent support of the people. Even in the 14th Lok Sabha the INC has been occupying the driving seat of the government after having polled merely 28.52 per cent of votes in aggregate. Thus the number of seats in Parliament which is the only important factor is not proportional to the aggregate percentage of support by the people. The 170th Law Report, therefore, has suggested that the FPP system be done away with partially if not fully. It has recommended amendment of Article 81(1) of the Constitution providing that not more than 530 members be chosen by direct election from territorial constituency in the state, not more than 20 members to represent the UTs chosen in such manner as Parliament may by law provide and not more than 130 members be chosen by list system in such manner as Parliament may by law provide.  

It may be further added that if law is made providing that a candidate has to submit a list of two polling agents per booth for at least 75 per cent of total number of booths in the constituency prior to scrutiny of nomination and that no person other than the listed ones would be permitted to act as polling agent and further providing that in case a candidate fails to submit such list his nomination would be rejected. This would minimise the number of non serious candidates most of whom are dummy candidates in reality. It would be necessary to provide further by law that the EC shall be duty bound to impart training to these polling agents at the time of training the polling staff as to the rules governing free and fair poll and the duties and responsibilities of the polling agents. Such awareness and knowledge imparted to polling agents shall substantially suppress the undue acts of the polling staff facilitating manipulation.  

These are only some of the aspects in regard to electoral reforms. A nationwide debate in this regard involving politicians, teachers, and lawyers, intellectuals, journalists and the Bar Councils and the Bar Associations so as to find out the ways and means to get rid of the viruses that have crept into the election machinery. Unless some steps in remedy are taken in tome our democracy shall be in jeopardy.  

(Concluded)

http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=303&page=10

EVMs can be manipulated, claim experts

IANS

August 2nd, 2009

BHUBANESWAR - An electronic experts group Saturday challenged the poll panel’s claim that the electronic voting machines (EVM) are tamper proof, and said the voting devices can be tampered with in many ways.

Claiming that there are loopholes in the EVMs, the expert team here demonstrated how the machines can be tampered through a prototype EVM they have developed.

“EVMs have many loopholes. We are challenging those who claim that EVMs are infallible. There are many security leakages in these machines which can give us a manipulated result,” said Hari K. Prasad, a Hyderabad based electronics expert and head of Net India Pvt Ltd.

The claim by the electronic expert group comes a day after the Election Commission Saturday maintained that the EVMs were “fully tamper-proof” and invited political parties and others who had raised doubts about the credibility of the machines to come for a demonstration to set their misgivings at rest “once and for all”.

About 1.3 million EVMs were used during the April-May Lok Sabha polls. Of these, 400,000 were new.

“Leave apart the old EVMs, the upgraded machines are not fully tamper proof,” Prasad told a gathering.

The group was accompanied by the Hyderabad-based NGO, Jana Chetana Vedika, which had earlier filed a PIL in the Supreme Court challenging the infallibility of EVMs.

The group is making another demonstration to nail the poll panel’s claims next week before a technical experts team.

Prasad said mechanisms like printing a confirmation paper slip after voting, like in credit cards, would make the process more credible.

http://blog.taragana.com/n/evms-can-be-manipulated-claim-experts-128314/

EVM tampering: EC schedules demos first week Aug

 

ELECTION COMMISSION OF INDIA

Nirvachan Sadan, Ashoka Road, New Delhi-110001

No- PN/ECI/40/2009 Dated 1st August, 2009

 

Subject- Electronic Voting Machines- regarding

 

Press Note

 

The Supreme Court of India, while disposing of a petition filed by Shri V. V. Rao

and three others, raising questions about use of Electronic Voting Machines in the

elections, on 27 July 2009 observed that the petitioners could approach the Election

Commission in the matter. The Election Commission had already on 22nd July 2009,

written to one of the petitioners to come and demonstrate the ‘so called manipulation of

the EVM’. Following the apex court’s orders, the petitioners approached the Election

Commission to consider the points raised by them. The Commission has replied back to

the petitioners on 31st July 2009, reiterating its invitation to them to come and

demonstrate the points made in their allegations about possible tampering of EVMs,

preferably in the week starting from 3rd of August 2009.

 

Similar petitions have been filed before three High Courts in the country. These

are the Madras High Court, the Bombay High Court and the High Court of Madhya

Pradesh (Jabalpur bench). These petitions also raise allegations about the possibility of

tampering with the EVMs. The Election Commission has invited these petitioners to

come and demonstrate their points before the Commission.

 

In this connection, the Commission has taken note of certain news reports and

more recently one advertisement suggesting that the Electronic Voting Machines used

for polling can be tampered with. The Commission has also received a few

communications from individuals and political parties raising the possibility of

manipulation of the EVMs.

 

The Election Commission remains entirely satisfied that EVMs cannot be

tampered with. These are fully tamper-proof. So far, no one has been able to

demonstrate that EVMs used by the Election Commission can be tampered or

manipulated. EVMs have served the country’s elections well. These were introduced

after long ranging political, technical and administrative consultations since 1979. The

use of machines has helped prevent several electoral malpractices and resulted in more

efficient conduct of elections. Judgments from various courts have upheld the use of

EVMs and technical experts have endorsed the machines from time to time. In fact, the

Karnataka High Court has hailed the EVM as ‘a national pride’. Similarly, the Madras

High Court, after elaborate consideration of the issue in a batch of petitions in 2001,

rejected allegations that the EVMs could be tampered.

 

The issues recently raised by petitioners in the Courts and by some others,

broadly allege the possibility of tampering with the machine during the manufacturing

process or while operating the machine. It has also been mentioned that some of the

western countries have given up using the EVMs. The fact is that unlike the machines

used by other countries, which are based on operating systems, the software in the EVM

chip is one time programmable and is burnt into the chip at the time of manufacture.

Nothing can be written on the chip after manufacture. The EVM in India is a fully standalone

machine without being part of any network and with no provision for any input. In

addition, elaborate administrative measures and procedural checks are in place to make

the EVM doubly safe against any possible tampering or misuse. So, it is completely

tamper proof.

 

At the same time, the Election Commission is fully alive to its onerous responsibility not to allow even a small shade of doubt about any aspect of its operation. While the Commission completely rejects the contention regarding fallibility of the EVMs, it has now decided to go the extra distance by inviting all those who have expressed reservations about the machine to come and demonstrate the points made in their allegations. Those who have made petitions before the Courts have been invited for the

purpose along with the political parties who have written to the Commission. The demonstration has been scheduled at the headquarters of the Election Commission of India in New Delhi in the first week of August 2009. This will be done in the presence of a technical experts group as well as engineers representing the EVM manufacturers. The Election Commission expects that the demonstration would once for all set at rest any misgiving anywhere, in the interest of the country’s electoral democracy.

(R.K.SRIVASTAVA)

SECRETARY

http://eci.nic.in/press/current/pn010809.pdf

 Punjab Newsline

INLD calls for barring EVM's in elections

Punjab Newsline Network   

Thursday, 30 July 2009

CHANDIGARH: Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) has called for barring the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in elections. INLD has also stressed the need to call an all party meeting to deliberate on the issue.

INLD Secretary General & Rajya Sabha MP Mr Ajay Singh Chautala said that in view of the ongoing controversy and allegations by different non-Governmental organizations about the chances of tampering in the EVMs, there should be an inclusive national debate on the issue. He said that the issue is paramount as it is related to the impartiality of the elections and faith of the billions of voters in the democracy. Next Vidhan Sabha elections should be held by Ballot Papers till the controversy is resolved to the satisfaction of all, he added.

 Mr Chautala said that many regional & national political parties including partners of NDA have expressed apprehensions and doubt over the impartiality of the EVMs, so all doubts should be clarified and the use of EVMs be banned till the issue is sorted out to the satisfaction of all. Delhi’s former chief secretary & IIT alumnus, Mr Omesh Saigal has also demonstrated the chances of the hacking and managing the people’s mandate before the Election Commission. It is a serious & considerable matter, which should be urgently addressed to continue the 62 year old unblemished record of our country’s democracy. The issue is larger as it is related to sustenance of democracy and credibility of the country and international image, he added.

INLD leader said that government & Election Commission should give top priority to addressing the objections and chances of “rigging, programming and hacking” as otherwise; elections would become farce and lose their credibility. Various countries like Germany, Netherland have already discontinued the use of EVMs in their elections.

INLD leader said that the country should revert to the older ballot papers unless Election Commission is able to ensure the people that Electronic Voting Machines are foolproof and every possibility of their malfunctioning is being taken care of. The possibility of EVMs' malfunctioning must be addressed in the interest of free democracy and faith of the electorate, Mr Chautala said.

http://www.punjabnewsline.com/content/view/17801/ 

 

Sukhbir demands all party meet on EVMs

Chandigarh, Jul 28 (PTI) Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal today demanded that Elections Commission should call an all party meet, to reach a consensus on the reliability and non-corruptibility of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and their use in future elections.

In a statement issued here, Badal said that most of the NDA partners have already expressed their apprehensions on corruptibility of EVMs and it becomes the prime duty of EC to either restore faith of people in the objectivity of election process or revert back to old process of ballot papers.

He said that this relook on the corruptibility of EVMs has become much more imperative after the yesterday's observation of Apex Court that Election Commission should review the working of EVMs.

Badal said that Leader of Opposition L K Advani had already aired his fears about EVMs being hacked in favour of a particular candidate.

http://www.ptinews.com/news/198756_Sukhbir-demands-all-party-meet-on-EVMs

Results of the 15th Parliamentary Elections
A mischief of the EVMs!
By KG Acharya (August 2, 2009)

Results of the 15th Lok Sabha elections are extremely shocking and unexpected. The exit poll results were all wrong without exception. Even the results of the last parliamentary elections held in 2004 were wrong. It is surprising that on both the occasions the beneficiary of the wrong results was the same party, namely, the Congress. 


All the TV channels and psephologists must look into the fact that why all of them were wrong in forecasting their exit poll results. Otherwise their credibility will go down further. 

Balasaheb Thackeray had announced in a large gathering at Shivaji Park, Mumbai immediately after the election results of the 1971 Lok Sabha election that they were not effected by “Bai (woman-Indira), Gau (cow—the election symbol of the Congress), but by Shai (ink—used on ballet paper)”. It was alleged that ink stamp put on the symbol of some ballot papers used to vanish and the same used to appear on the Congress symbol of cow and calf. It is possible that what the KGB did at that time was done now by the CIA. It is known that nearness of Russia to Indiraji is now replaced by the nearness of Sonia to America, which is very much keen on getting the Nuclear Agreement passed by the government. 

It must be noted that the plot for the mischief was planned and carried out very meticulously. It was done only in certain constituencies so that doubts would not be raised. No attempts were made to defeat candidates like LK Advani. Only a small percentage of votes were transferred to the Congress, so that strongholds of the BJP would have only reduced strength but they would not be completely destroyed. 

The following points may be considered to justify the suspicion. 
There was a news in Samana of May 17, 2009 that votes given to any candidate in booth no. 265 in the Nanded Parliamentary Constituency in Maharashtra were transferred to Congress. This speaks a lot for the mischief caused by Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) even in other parts of the country. According to Rediff news, May 16, 2009: “The Shiv Sena’s Mohan Rawale has refused to accept defeat even as Milind Deora was declared the winner of the South Mumbai [Images] seat. Rawale alleged that there was a problem with some EVMs and a complaint would be lodged with the Election Commission in this regard after consulting senior leaders of the Shiv Sena including executive president Uddhav Thackeray. Rawale cited the examples of US and Indonesia where the use of EVMs has been stopped due to their inconsistency.” “I wonder how I got only 5 votes from an area that is a Shiv Sena stronghold,” the defeated candidate said. 

The outcome of the election is completely shocking. And the more shocking news is the possibility of tampering of EVMs to manipulate the results throughout India. And now there is a PIL filed in the Supreme Court over the possibility of tampering of the EVMs by one of the technologists. Please see the link below.http://www.indianexpress.com/storyOld.php?storyId=45296 

“Computer chips that control the EVMs can be easily programmed to do all kinds of improper manipulations. For example, after a certain number of people (perhaps hundreds) have voted, the rest of the votes may be channeled to a chosen candidate. This is just one among many mischievous tricks possible.” 

Also, a similar news appeared in a technical magazine called Linux Journal, citing that the hardware and the software used in the EVMs are not open sourced and hence the functioning of the EVMs are still not clear. http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/7561 

Moreover, there is large possibility that the EVMs can be programmed, reprogrammed at anytime of the election process, and the data can be altered even at the last minute. 

There are reasons to suspect the role of foreign powers coming forwards to help the Congress party and in particular, the Nehru dynasty, whom they have always helped in the past. Track records show that the concerned Congress leaders have also never hesitated to take the help of foreign powers in their own party interests. 

For example: Dr. Yevgeniya Albats, a Soviet journalist, who was a member of the official KGB Commission wrote in her book that payments in US dollars were made to Rajiv, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi and Paola Maino, Sonia’s mother. Rajinder Puri, a very senior journalist has written details of the report in the FPJ of April 30, 2009. He has also referred to a report in the Hindu of July 4, 1991 alleging that Rajiv Gandhi had 2.5 billion Swiss franks in numbered Swiss bank accounts. In an article in the Indian Defence Review Anand K Verma, a former RAW chief of the Cabinet Secretariat claimed that the influence of foreign intelligence organisations had reached deep into civil society and suspicion was cast even on a PM. An article to this effect was published in the Times of India of April 19, 2009. It was reported a few years ago that Congress party and Sonia Gandhi were involved in the “Oil for food programme of Iraq” and the disclosure had caused the exit of a former external affairs minister of the Congress government. 

After the February 1971 elections in which the KGB allegedly did the ink experiment, a few scientists made experiments to prove that ballot papers could be tampered. It was shown to a group of Jan Sangh leaders that included Shri Balraj Madhok. A shocking fact of those days was that in the municipal elections in Delhi held only a few days after the Lok Sabha polls, the Jan Sangh, which had received a severe blow in the Parliament, got a thumping victory in the municipal elections. This raised doubts in the public mind. It is for this reason that this time mischief was done on a moderate scale. Yet there are doubts, how all exit polls are wrong! 

(The writer can be contacted at keshavacharya@yahoo.com)

 

SC dismisses lawsuit doubting EVMs

By janamejayan

But this is not the end of it.  It will be the same supreme court that will rule to the surprise and consternation of the rulers who usurped power by fraud.  Watch my prediction.

IANS
First Published : 27 Jul 2009 07:17:29 PM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Monday refused to entertain a lawsuit by an election watch group doubting the credibility of the Electronic Voting Machines
, which were used in the April-May general elections.

A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, while rejecting the lawsuit
, asked the petitioners to first approach the Election Commission of India on the matter.

The bench, which also included Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Cyriac Joseph, however, gave the petitioners freedom to again approach the apex court if their grievances are not addressed by the poll panel.

Appearing for the election watch group, senior counsel Sanjay Parekh sought to impress upon the court that due to the growing political distrust against the EVMs it had become imperative for the court to set up a panel of experts to examine the functioning of the voting machines and ascertain whether they are tamper proof.

“All I want from this court is to set up a panel to examine the machines and then submit its report to this court,” Parekh pleaded, but the court refused to accept his plea.

The lawsuit was filed by two officials of a Hyderabad-based election watch group and two electronic engineers, who had contended that it was possible to tamper with the software of the machine and rig the election.

The lawsuit sought formation of a panel to examine the EVMs and decide if they needed to be improved or abandoned in favour of the ballot paper.

Election Watch official V.V. Rao and engineers A. Kankipati and Y. Vasaya contended in their lawsuit that “several experts and election watch groups and individuals, who have been monitoring the election process have found that EVMs could be manipulated and tampered with.”

“They have analysed the results in several constituencies, which indicates that there is something drastically wrong with the EVMs,” the petitioners claimed.

The lawsuit also raised the issue of secrecy of the votes, pointing out that EVMs are not able to even protect the secrecy of voters and the votes cast by them.

Arguing for formation of an expert panel, Parekh contended that two expert panels appointed by the Election Commission in 1990 and 2005 had indicated that there were several lacunae in the functioning of EVMs and they needed to be rectified.

Later, speaking to IANS, Election Commission’s legal consultant S.K. Mendiratta sought to refute the doubts being raised about the EVMs.

“We have been writing to one and all, who have been raising doubts about the EVMs, to approach the Election Commission and demonstrate to us how the EVM could be tampered with,” said Mendiratta, who was former principal secretary of the poll panel.

“No one has turned up till now to ask for any demonstration,” he said, adding that at least three high courts and the apex court have approved of the EVMs’ functional authenticity.

http://janamejayan.wordpress.com/2009/07/27/sc-dismisses-lawsuit-doubting-evms/

Only poll panel can deal with EVMs issue: Supreme Court 

New Delhi (PTI, The Hindu, 28 July 2009): The Supreme Court on Monday declined to entertain a PIL questioning the functioning of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) saying any grievance relating to them could be raised with the Election Commission.

The apex court said it was not underestimating the concern raised in the petition but the issues relating to the working of the EVMs have to be dealt by the Election Commission.

"We are not underestimating your stand but you have to approach the right place which is Election Commission," a Bench comprising Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justices P. Sathasivam and Cyriac Joseph said.

The Bench said the petitioner is at liberty to make representations before the Election Commission which will look into the issue.

It said if the representation is made before the EC then even political parties can express their views.

The PIL filed by V.V. Rao had questioned the functioning of EVMs and sought a direction to the Election Commission to stop using them till the machines are made tamper-proof.

Advocate Sanjay Parikh, appearing for the petitioner, had suggested an expert committee be appointed to examine the issues raised in the petition and submit its report to the apex court.

However, the Bench was from the beginning of the view that such issues could be raised before EC.

"At this stage, you must approach the EC," it said without giving much credence to the submission that the issues have been raised before three different High Courts.

http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/holnus/002200907280382.htm

July 27, 2009                                         PTI  

SC declines to hear PIL on EVM functioning 

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to entertain a Public Interest Litigation, questioning the functioning of Electronic Voting Machines and seeking a direction to the Election Commission to withhold using them till the machines are made tamper proof.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan while declining to hear the PIL, directed the petitioner, V V Rao, to make a representation before the Election Commission in connection with the matter.

Was Election 2009 rigged?

Rao, in his petition, said several experts and election watch groups have claimed that EVMs could be manipulated. They have analysed electronics results of several constituencies and indicated that there is something drastically wrong with the EVMs, it said.

The existing EVMs are vulnerable and should not be used for any election till the time the machines are made tamper proof, Rao claimed in his petition.

http://news.rediff.com/report/2009/jul/27/sc-declines-to-hear-pil-on-evm-functioning.htm

EVM and electoral reforms

By Nishitendu Chaudhury (Organiser, August 02, 2009 )

The EC within the meaning of Article 324(1) of the Constitution is duty bound to fulfill the Constitutional aspiration that an election is free and fair and that it manifests the will of the people. The role of the EC within the bounds of the law in force has to be analysed to see as to how far such aspirations have been fulfilled.

Free and fair election is the basic foundation of a democratic polity. In our system of democracy, people elect members of the legislatures both at the Centre as well as at the State by universal adult suffrage. From these legislators are the political executives drawn to rule the country or the state as the case may be. 

Thus by electing the legislators, people simultaneously choose the political executives. This is why a right to vote, the sanctity to vote, the manner of casting vote and above all a poll without fear and restraint is so important. The framers of the Constitution being well aware as to the importance of this, initially wanted to place this right to vote along with fundamental rights so that it transcends to a higher plane than other legal and statutory rights. A perusal of the Constituent Assembly Debates and the fifth volume of the Framing of Constitution by Shiva Rao show the seriousness with which the framers proceeded in making Part XV of the Constitution. However, right to elect and of being elected has been recognised as a legal right under the control and superintendence of a constitutional autonomous body academically independent of the executive in sharp contrast with the provisions of the Government of India Act, 1935 wherein election and election process were under control of the executive.  

The Part XV of the Constitution deals with elections. It comprises of six articles from Article 324 to 329. Article 324 is the source of power and jurisdiction of the Election Commission (for short, the EC). It has been vested with the power of superintendence, direction and control of elections from preparation of electoral rolls to declaration of results of elections to the Parliament and the Legislative Assemblies of States. Article 325 prohibits any discrimination in regard to eligibility for inclusion in electoral roll on the ground of race, religion, caste, sex or any of them. Article 326 prescribes that elections to Parliament and to the State legislatures are to be made on the basis of adult suffrage. By Article 327 Parliament has been given power to make law with respect to all matters relating to or in connections with elections to the Parliament or to the House of either House of the State Legislature. Article 329 prohibits interference by court in electoral matters except by way of an election petition presented to such authority and in such manner as be provided for by or under law made by the appropriate legislature.  

In the case of Ponnuswamy (NP Ponnuswamy-Vs-Returning officer, Namakhal Constituency) reported in AIR 1952 SC 64 the Supreme Court has held that before an election machinery is put into operation three requisites are to be fulfilled, namely,

         i.            there should be a set of laws and rules making provisions with respect to all matters relating to or in connections with elections and it should be decided as to how these laws and rules are to be made;

        ii.            there should be an executive charged with the duty of securing the due conduct of elections; and

      iii.            there should be a judicial tribunal to deal with dispute arising out of or in connection with elections.

Following Ponnuswamy, the Supreme Court held in Mohinder Singh Gill-Vs-CEC (reported in AIR 1978 SC 851) that the power under Article 324 was very wide and under the power derived from the said Article Election Commission has power to cancel a poll in a constituency and it is also held that to direct a re-poll was part of election process and thus jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226 was because for the non obstinate clause in Article 329(b) of the Constitution. 

The legal and Constitutional position as it stands today after catena of judicial pronouncements is that the EC is the competent executive responsible for putting the machinery of election process in motion subject, however, to the provisions of the Constitution and the law framed there under. The EC within the meaning of Article 324(1) of the Constitution is duty bound to fulfill the Constitutional aspiration that an election is free and fair and that it manifests the will of the people. The role of the EC within the bounds of the law in force has to be analysed to see as to how far such aspirations have been fulfilled.  

The Parliament enacted the Representation of the People Act, 1950 (for short, the RP Act 1950) and the Representation of the People Act 1951 (for short, the RP Act 1951) as the machinery for holding of elections and also for resolution of dispute arising out of an election. There are measure prescribed under the Act to deal with the situation when a free and fair poll is not held. The RP Act 1951 basically takes care of the exigencies like corrupt practices. It also provides for means and manner as to how the EC is to respond to the situation if an impediment to holding of free and fair election comes in front of it.  

Election is held by the EC in exercise of power conferred under Article 324 of the Constitution of India as well as the provision of the aforesaid the RP Act 1950, the RP Act 1951 and the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961. The EC gets the job performed with the machinery of executive by way of taking unto itself the services of the Civil Servants and the Employees in a manner akin to deputation under service law. So, the possibility of manipulations in the election process right from enrollment in the electoral roll up to declaration of election results have many folds and they may be cited, inter alia, phase wise as follows:

A. Phase I (Enrolment stage)

         i.            Erroneous inclusion/deletion of names in the electoral roll deliberately or unwillingly by unbecoming acts of the employees/enumerators;

        ii.            Error on the part of the District and State Election Officers in regard to disposal of objections in regard to erroneous inclusion/deletion in the roll and the appeal arising there from deliberately or unwillingly;

      iii.            Erroneous act on behalf of the EC in this regard deliberately or unwillingly;

B. Phase II (during poll process by political parties and candidates)

         i.            Criminalisation and consequent use of physical force and mafia in polluting the atmosphere of free and fair poll;

        ii.            Use of black money in violation of law holding the field.

      iii.            Subversive activities by way of dividing people on the basis of caste, creed, language and religion;

C. Phase-III (poll day violations)

         i.            Corrupt practices by candidates and their supporters under section 123 of the RP Act, 1951;

        ii.            Manipulation of voting machinery (both man and machine) by poll staff and/or candidate or his supporters;

      iii.            Innovative rigging popularly called as classical rigging.

D. Phase-IV (post-poll defection) Let us examine the position in detail.

         i.            Willful inclusion or deletion in the electoral roll by the staff is a much known phenomenon. In case well organised political forces, the same is systematically done to inflate the number of supporters and to deflate the number of the voters of the opposite camps. Sometimes names of dead persons are allowed to remain or rather preserved in the electoral roll for impersonation. An efficient door to door visit is the only alternative to curb such menace. However, steps for general awareness among voters is also a must to put a check and balance on the erring staff. It does not appear that a common people is much aware and concerned for a defect free electoral roll. There does not appear to be seriousness on the part of the executive and the EC to inculcate awareness among the people in this regard. Lack of concern in this matter has gone to such an extent that even a large section of the educated middle class prefer to enjoy an additional holiday at home rather than standing in queue for casting vote. This is an ominous sign for a vibrant democracy.

        ii.            The District and State Election Officers work under the disciplinary control of the state government during the whole year except the election time. The corrupt politicians and the executives take opportunity of the situation and exert influence on the bureaucracy to manipulate the process in regard to disposal of objections and appeals under the RP Act 1950 and the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961. To ensure an independent and impartial action reasonably beyond influence by executive, it is necessary that the autonomy of the EC be made complete in regard to services under it by providing a skeletal staff under it up to Sub-Divisional level if need be by introducing an all-India Service under the Election Commission like Indian Election Service.

      iii.            The Election Commission is headed by a Chief Election Commissioner under Article 324(1) of the Constitution. In addition to the CEC, The President may appoint one or more Election Commissioners under the said Article. The President makes the appointment on the advice of the Council of Ministers under Article 74 of the Constitution and thus obviously the will and choice of the political executive actively work behind the appointment. A political executive shall seldom miss a chance to pack the EC with man of its choice so as to get all possible undue benefits in the hour of need. The controversy triggered by the former CEC, Gopalaswami in regard to role of then Election Commissioner Naveen Chawla brought this to the focus. At least allegations have come on record that Naveen Chawla received instructions from the leader of the INC party before exercise of its jurisdiction which itself is unfortunate irrespective as to whether the allegations were correct or not. However, the finger of suspicion continues to remain pointed towards him even after the conclusion of the election process of the14th Lok Sabha. At least one election petition from the State of Arunachal Pradesh has dared the present CEC (N Chawla) alleging in an Election Petition that the EC has committed injustice by not exercising the jurisdiction vested on it by Section 58 of the RP Act 1951 even after it was proved to the hilt that at least seven polling stations under 3, Mukto LAC of Arunachal Pradesh registered more than 100 per cent polling which is not possible unless the booth was captured. There are 12 other polling stations under the same constituency which showed about 96 per cent polling whereas the average polling rate of the constituency is 46 per cent approximately. Bringing the office of the EC under the penumbra on suspicion could have been averted if the offices under the Commission would have been filled up by a transparent means rather than whims and caprice of the party in power. Perhaps this is why the National Commission To Review The Working of the Constitution (NCRWC) in its report submitted on 31.3.2002 recommended in this regard that appointment to the office of CEC and other ECs should be made the basis of recommendation of a collegium consisting of the Prime Minister, the leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. I feel that such a collegiums may also consist of three persons, namely, the PM, leader of the Opposition in the Parliament and the Chief Justice of India.

The phase II factors referred to above are also important and have direct bearing in preventing a free and fair poll. The 170th report of the Law Commission submitted in the 1999 and the report of the NCRWC submitted on 31.3.2002 have dealt with the seriousness the aspect of criminalisation and mafia force in tilting the election result. It has been suggested that a ban should be put against candidature of a person against whom an inquiry or trial for commission of heinous crime like murder, rape etc. are pending since six months or more before the commencement of the election process. (To be concluded)

http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=302&page=12

BJP for use of EVM paper back-up in state polls

TNN 25 July 2009, 04:40am IST

PUNE: State BJP leader Kirit Somaiya on Friday said the party is set to put forward a demand for use of electronic voting machines (EVM) with paper back-up during the forthcoming state elections. He said that a high-level delegation including BJP and Shiv Sena leaders will meet the election commission on the said issue soon. 

Elaborating the system, Somaiya said, "Under the proposed system, after casting a vote, the EVM will immediately produce a slip. This slip will have a sign printed, confirming that the vote has gone to same candidate to which the voter intends to choose. The voter will have to drop this slip in ballot box. The ballot counting can be matched with the EVM counting in case of doubt. The system has been tried and tested successfully in theUS and so should be implemented in India as well." 

Addressing media persons in city on Friday, Somaiya criticised the use of existing EVMs for any polls in the country. He said, "There are loopholes in use of EVMs as they can be easily tampered with, manipulated as well as hacked. There is no full-proof system available with the election commission which can 100 per cent restrict the misuse or malfunctioning of EVMs."  

Somaiya said, "The BJP wants all further elections to be held with EVM paper back-up. Several instances have been found in the recently held Lok Sabha elections about mal-functioning of EVMs. These include some serious examples like when button of one candidate pressed, light on another candidate were flashed. All major political parties including senior leaders from Congress party have also expressed concern about the functioning of EVM, he added.  

Somaiya said that and an expert committee appointed by the election commission submitted its report with several recommendations to plug the loopholes on manipulation and mal-functioning of EVMs. However, the election commission has not implemented them.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4817819.cms

BJP demands ban on EVMs

PUNE, Jul 26, 2009 (Arab News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Expressing serious concern over the way electronic voting machines can malfunction, former Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Mumbai Kirit Somaiya this evening demanded a ban on the use of machines that have no paper backups and strongly advocated adopting electronic voting machines that produce paper receipts. "The BJP will put forth a demand for use of electronic voting machines (EVM) with paper back-up during the forthcoming state assembly elections," he said. "Under the proposed system, after casting a vote, the EVM will immediately produce a slip. This slip will have a sign printed, confirming that the vote has gone to same candidate to which the voter intends to choose."The voter would then drop this slip in a ballot box so that the votes can be verified.


At a demonstration held at the Pune Union of Working Journalists Center, Somaiya put forth a demonstration on the flaws in the machines that can provide inaccurate or biased voting results.

"The election commission has to date not revealed what happened to the votes cast on these machines," he said.

 
Analyzing voting patterns from across the country, Somaiya showed how certain independent candidates, who he said had no political background or standing, polled a usually high number of votes.

"You can hack the software and hardware through physical manipulation or through remote access," Somaiya said as he demonstrated live using a demo machine. Somaiya, along with his senior party colleagues and Shiv Sena leaders, are scheduled to meet the election commission Tuesday in New Delhi to demand doing away of the electronic voting machines in their existing format.

To see more of the Arab News or to subscribe to the newspaper, go tohttp://www.arabnews.com. Copyright (c) 2009, Arab News, Jeddah, Saudi ArabiaDistributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For reprints, emailtmsreprints@permissionsgroup.com, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a faxto 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave.,Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA. 

http://www.tmcnet.com/scripts/print-page.aspx?PagePrint=http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/-bjp-demands-ban-evms-/2009/07/25/4291520.htm

EVMs: EC indulges in suppressio veri

What is shocking is that EC has NOT told Rediff that the programs of EVM have been changed recently (newly programmed used first time in Delhi assembly polls) by introducing time/date stamp. This time/date stamping itself is a trojan horse which makes the system open to internet since time computation is OUTSIDE of the standalone EVM (as claimed by EC and assuming, without conceding that their claim is valid). The timer process can be interrupted by an external wireless manipulation.

As noted in the wiki entry by Anupam Saraph, EC had KNOWN the results 10 days before the counting (that is on 6th May when the counting date was 16th May) and in the case of over 100 candidates, the spreadsheets maintained by EC on 6 May tallied with the final results. How did this happen?

EC is also silent on audit of the systems when taking delivery from BEL or ECIL. There are also reports that the two companies have outsourced the work :)--.

The most important requirement should be continuous auditability by a third party (apart from EC) to the satisfaction of the party agents.

Unconstitutionality of the EVMs keeping track of the voter's choice, vitiating the secret nature of the balloting. EC has repeatedly claimed through Indiresan committee that every keystroke is mapped, that means, the vote recorded by the voter can be traced to the voter. This is NOT the way to conduct secret ballot. German SC rightly declared EVM unconstitutional for the simple reason that the ordinary citizen does NOT understand the complex machine. 

Auditability by the voter is missing from EVM system: 1. voter checking the accuracy of the ballot paper before marking the vote; 2. voter verifying whether he/she has correctly marked it, and 3. voter confident that reconstruction of the vote is possible for authentication in case of electoral dispute. The three processes are possible in a paper ballot and NOT possible in a machine balloting.

The date/time stamp introduced in 200,000 (Jan 2009) of the 13 lakh EVMs used for 2009 polls pose serious issues vitiating the public nature of the poll:

1. Two system programs were used for the same election (were parties told about this?)

2. Date/time stamp negates the 'stand-alone' nature claimed for the EVMs and provide entry points for external wireless manipulation.

3. Outsourcing of making the EVMs to private parties introduces another trojan horse.

How about the secret nature of the balloting if everything about what the voter does in polling booth gets recorded? The big brother, yantra watches the voter, so it is yantradesh, not janadesh

Kalyanaraman 26 July 2009

EVMs can't be hacked: EC Quraishi

July 26, 2009 (Rediff)

The functioning of Electronic Voting machines and their alleged manipulation has come under scrutiny in the wake of the questions raised by the Bharatiya Janata Party and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

Rediff.com has highlighted many stories about the controversy surrounding the EVMs and the growing opposition to their usage. In a letter to rediff.com, a representative of Election commissioner Dr S Y Quraishi's office has clarified the EC's position over the matter, which is threatening to blow up into a major issue of national concern.

In response to the story published doubting the credibility of EVMs, EC Quraishi says, "The EVMs used in India are tamper proof. All EVMs are hard coded to take votes against a Candidate number only and are programmed to function exactly in the same manner. It is not possible to alter the functioning of EVM in any manner whatsoever by the manufacturers or in the field by election staff, as the program is hard coded and fused in the micro controller, which is one time programmable device. No gadgets, including remote means, can be used to alter the program/data stored in EVM. It is in this manner that the ECI's EVMs are wholly different from those used in other countries."

While denying the mismatch between Control unit and Ballot Unit, two crucial parts of EVMs, EC Quraishi said, "The embedded program in both the Control Unit and Ballot Unit are masked and cannot be read or altered and the program works on a specific hardware platform, which is specific to the voting machine. Any change in the program will be reflected as an error with tamper check. The program is verified for checksum validity whenever the unit is powered up. Any mismatch prohibits the machine from proceeding further and becomes inoperational."

EC Quraishi retreats that it is not possible to hack the machines. He explained, "Apart from that the transparent procedures followed during entire election process starting from manufacturing to the time of counting like first level checking of EVMs by the manufacturers, thereafter storing the EVMs in strong room, preparation of EVMs by the Returning Officer before the candidates or their agents, thereafter storing the EVMs in strong rooms in the presence of candidates or their agents, mock poll by Presiding Officers before the candidates or their agents just before actual poll, sealing and storing of polled EVMs in strong room in the presence of the candidates or their agents etc, it is not possible to taint or hack the EVMs". 

The EC claims that the EVM used by the Commission is a reliable voting device introduced after technical evaluation by an 'Expert Committee' constituted by the Government of India in 1990. Use of EVMs has been proved to be fruitful as is evident from past elections.

EC Quaraishi also listed the past judgmnts in this regard. He said, "Many Courts including the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India have time and again appreciated the efficiency of EVM in many court cases. Attention, in this regard, is invited to the judgment of the Hon'ble High Court of Madras in WP No. 3346, 3633, 4417, 4454, 4466, 4945, 5077, 6038 and 6039 of 2001 dated 10.4.2001, (AIADMK and others Vs. Chief Election Commissioner and others) where the Hon'ble Court dismissed the writ challenging the introduction of EVMs. The petitioner's challenged this ruling of the Madras High Court before the Supreme Court in C.C.2824 and 2825/2001 which was dismissed by the Hon'ble Apex Court in its decision dated 23.4.2001 and the decision of the Madras High Court was upheld. Separately, the Hon'ble High Court of Kerala [ Images ] in E.P. No. 4 of 2001 (T.A.Ahammed Kabeer Vs A.A.Azeez and others) and Hon'ble High Court of Karnatka in E.P.No. 29 of 1999 ( Michael B. Fernandes Vs. C.K.Jaffar Sharif and others) have upheld the EVM as a safe and secure device for conduct of elections. The Hon'ble Karnataka High Court has hailed the EVM as 'a national pride' (judgement dated 5.2.2004 in Michael B Fernandes Vs. C.K.Jaffar Sharif and others in E.P.No. 29 of 1999)."

Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi

http://news.rediff.com/report/2009/jul/26/evms-cant-be-hacked-says-ec-quraishi.htm

What about the manufacturing facilities?
by Jay Shah on Jul 26, 2009 02:32 AM 

This doesn't address speculation that the program running the EVMs was tampered with during manufacturing. If such a thing happened, the tampered program can be made to report success for any checks such as the checksum or infact report a false checksum to mask the tampering.

Without taking a look at the program in the EVM, it is impossible know that it was not tampered with during manufacturing.

Who is he fooling?

by indianpatriot on Jul 26, 2009 01:02 AM  | Hide replies
Mr Quereshi ...Kisko aap Befkoof bana rahe ho???/
He says that the Microprocessors cannot be reprogammed since they are hardcoded......
But Mr.Querishi, the MICROPROCESSORS CAN BE REPLACED in the machine...
Have you ever thought about that or AAP BHI SCAM MAIN SHAAMIL HAIN?

 Re: Re: Who is he fooling?
by Anand Gupta on Jul 26, 2009 02:37 AM 
Telveer, part of your argument is right, but the fact is, ballot tampering is generally physical and hence more auditable. Whereas the tampering of machine, while very difficult for a common man (as you rightly said in regards Web site) is far easier when the establishment itself is the provider of the machine and would rarely leave any audit trail. Given the fact that Chawla was involved or to make this fairer to Chawla, given the fact that India is so blatantly corrupt it would not surprise me if all these EVMs are manipulated. 
I would any-day go back to Ballots as I cannot put my 2 penny and Indian Bureacrat/ Politician in same place even for 2 minutes.

http://sites.google.com/site/hindunew/electronic-voting-machines

Voting Reforms: Options in an imperfect world

Contents

1 Receipts

2 Transaction Trail

3 Auditability

4 Ease of Voting

5 Secrecy

6 References

[]Receipts

Most voting practices across the world do not issue any receipts. The voter has no way to know if the vote cast was counted for the chosen candidate. There have been many arguments in favor of as well as against the issue of receipts.

A receipt is a confirmation, a proof of counting. It reinforces the value of the vote. It gives every voter the feeling of mattering.

The opponents of receipts have argued that they open up vote commerce: exchange of money for votes. Others have argued that voting process without receipts is also open to proxy by commerce.

In the world of business proxy voting is both common and legitimate as is the use of this system by lobbyists and interest groups to take over companies or change their directions. The compulsions of the voter or the proxy holder may be diverse, but the common equation is the value of the vote. A proxy holder looks for controlling return on investment- the voter for an advanced dividend for giving up the right to choosing the management. Proxy is sustained as long at it results in the company can continue to grow and yield return-on-investment to the proxy owner as well as serve a better dividend today than the dividend from the better governance as a result of a different choice. As far as the latter is concerned, it is self-fulfilling to prefer proxy. Dividend payments upfront result in the exclusion of future dividends for the voter group that has given up its right to a future dividend. Therefore the choice of upfront dividends seems always better than otherwise.

A nation elects its government for the dividends its citizens may receive from the management by the new "board". If the use of proxy serves to be more beneficial to the voters than the management by a government, it may well be the lesser evil to voting without receipts.

[]Transaction Trail

In a voting process a transaction trail would require each vote be identified with the voter, location and time. This trail would ensure that every vote can be tracked to the source. If there is a transaction trail, it becomes impossible to add or remove votes that do not come from a voter, a location and during a legitimate period.

Those against a transaction trail argue of its making the ballot free of secrecy. Those for the trail argue about the inability to ensure legitimate votes from illegitimate ones as those may be cast by any compromise of the polling process.

Whatever the merits of secrecy, it certainly fails to enthuse confidence about the voting process and in voter based democracy. What is the difference between the acts of a dictator and a secretly elected ruler? Whatever but a leap of faith can stand witness to the democratic election of the ruler?

Rabindranath Tagore dreamt of a land where the mind is without fear and the head held high- will a secret democracy ever lead us into this world where everyone can walk fearlessly and honorably with the choices they make about the way they may be ruled?

It is interesting that a secret sunday confession does not rid the world of sinners. Would a sunday of public celebration of virtues make the world a better place?

[Auditability

Although voting is a blank cheque to trillions of rupees of spending, a license to control the civil liberty in a country, a framework that pushes thousands of decisions to every citizen it is the most un-audit-able process in a country. There is no way anyone can verify the claims of those in control of the voting process and certify them to be true and correct. There is no way that anyone can follow the transactions of voting and certify that a candidate did indeed get as many votes as counted from legitimate sources. There is no way anyone can certify that the vote cast by anyone actually ended up for the candidate for whom it was destined. There is no way anyone can certify that every voter counted at the polling booth was actually the one who was entitled to vote.

Arguably the process of audit requires a transaction trail. A publicly audit-able process would require a public access to the trail. In an age of open-source it is surprising that we opt for closed-audit systems in the name of secrecy.

[]Ease of Voting

The most that has happened to ease elections is an Electronic Voting Machine. There is little simplification, transparency and security that is built into the system.

Why cannot elections happen at ATM's in banks across the country over a specified week in the year? Why can voters not visit the ATM to change their vote- or at least view it as many times as they like over the period of the election? Imagine the value of exchanging the receipt for money if that were possible!

Or imagine the mobile being the sign-in with a pin to vote over an election week, as many times as you wish? What an idea sirji? Why not vote not just for the representative but also for key bills brought before the legislative and parliamentary bodies? What use is technology if it cannot widen the base of voting?

[]Secrecy

They say secrecy is the difference between a marriage and an affair. Hold anything secret and even a RTI may not be able to get you justice. The hallmark of civilization is when dissenters can walk fearlessly in a world of pluralism. Are we that far away from a civilized society?

The men of character in every civilization rarely hid their true opinions behind secret ballot or diplomatic guile. No land of secret decisions ever yielded a world without fear. Certainly not one where you may hold your head high. Such a land cannot have free knowledge, there would be a price for every information.

To create a honest and trusting society we must cast secrecy of voting to history, teach everyone to be proud to stand to their choice and even welcome dissent.

Election reform can yield us the world Tagore dreamt about- it can leapfrog the worlds biggest democracy to being the worlds greatest nation. Let us embark on a journey to build our nation together. Let us celebrate the diversity of our votes!

From: http://government.wikia.com/wiki/Voting_Reforms:_Options_in_an_imperfect_world

Madras HC notice to Election Commission on EVM's
7/24/2009 The Madras High Court today issued notice to Election Commission (EC) on a petition challenging the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) during elections on a PIL filed by Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) President G K Mani.

While admitting the PIL, a Bench comprising Chief Justice H L Gokhale and Justice D Murugesan directed the EC to file its counter within a week. 

In his petition, Mr Mani submitted that the EVMs could be tampered with by anybody. They were tampered with in Tamil Nadu in the Lok Sabha elections held in May last.
The petitioner further said a expert committee proved the malfunctioning of the EVMs. 
In his main prayer, the petitioner sought the court to direct the EC to forbear EVMs in future elections In his prayer, the petitioner pleaded the court to appoint an expert committee to ascertain the functioning of the EVMs and obtain its report. 
Until the reports were submitted to court, the Election Commission should be directed not to use EVMs.
The Bench also clubbed the matter along with similar petition filed by Desia Murpoku Diravidar Kazhagam (DMDK) led by actor Vijayakanth and posted the case to July 30 for further hearing.
UNI http://www.indlawnews.com/Newsdisplay.aspx?b046f38e-5201-4b27-ae9f-304caf6cdf40

HC issues notices to EC, TN and Centre on EVMs

PTI 24 July 2009, 08:39pm IST

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court issued notices to the Election Commission, the Centre, state government and Bharat Electronics Ltd on a petition filed by PMK seeking a restrain on use of EVMs in the August 18 bypolls to five assembly seats in Tamil Nadu. 

A Bench comprising Chief Justice H L Gokhale and Justice D Murugesan ordered issuing of notices and posted the matter for hearing on July 30 on a petition filed by PMK president G K Mani. 

Beside seeking an interim injunction against use of Electronic Voting Machines, the party pleaded for a direction to the respondents to constitute a committee of electronic experts to study allegations of EVM manipulation. 

It also sought an opportunity for experts identified by the party to demonstrate "how EVMs could be manipulated". 

It alleged that EVMs could be tampered with and votes polled in favour of one candidate could be registered in the name of another. 

The party contended that prior to the recent general elections, a number of political parties had objected to the use of EVMs but it was not taken note of by the EC.

 

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-4817169,prtpage-1.cms

 

 

'EVMs should have printout backup'

Somit Sen, TNN 25 July 2009, 02:46am IST

MUMBAI: A Shiv Sena-BJP delegation will meet Election Commission officials in Delhi on July 28 to demand a new system of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), which will have a printout backup facility. 

Such a system is used in California where, apart from casting their ballot on the machine, voters get a printout which displays the name of the candidate he or she votes for. The slip is then dropped in a ballot box which is used during the recounting process or when an EVM is found to be defective or tampered with. 

Last Saturday, a Hyderabad-based NGO had demonstrated before the BJP and Sena leaders how the EVM machines could be tampered by using a malicious software. Following the demo, Sena's executive president Uddhav Thackeray and former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya have decided to oppose the EVMs and demand introduction of new machines with backup facility for the upcoming assembly polls. 

Somaiya said, "We have made inquiries with the manufacturers and found that it would take a maximum of 40 days to manufacture and deliver such machines. The EC should expedite the process and order for new machines.'' IT expert Vijay Mukhi said the existing EVMs could be easily hacked and agreed that a backup option would provide transparency in the election process. 

"In case of doubt, one can cross-check by counting votes in the ballot box,'' he said. "There should also be a system to verify whether EVMs delivered at a polling booth has been tampered with or not. Such tools should be made available to polling agents and government officials,'' Mukhi said. 

EVMs have become an issue of national debate, with experts expressing concerns about their "malfunctioning''. Sena's former MP, Mohan Rawle, who was defeated by the Congress's Milind Deora in the LS polls, has filed a PIL demanding that the old ballot box system be reintroduced. 

Rawle, a five-time MP, was surprised to find himself placed third, with the MNS' Bala Nandgaonkar emerging the first runner-up.

 

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-4817771,prtpage-1.cms

New EVMs for by-elections  

NT Bureau | Thu, 23 Jul, 2009 , 03:34 PM

Tamilnadu Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Naresh Gupta today said that improved new Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) would be used in a bid to make voting tamper-proof in the forthcoming by-elections to five Assembly constituencies.

Briefing reporters here, the CEO said that the introduction of new EVMs were necessitated, for some EVMs have been in use for about 10 to 15 years, and are more prone to malfunctioning.
The new EVMs would be used in Bargur, Thondamuthur, Cumbum, Ilayangudy and Srivaikuntam constituencies which will go to polls on 18 August, he added.
‘The additional feature of these new EVMs includes the time-wise polling could be read in the booths’, he said, adding that one could know the number of votes polled at a particular point of time on the polling day.
‘It not only does record the vote but also notes the exact time you cast it. The new and improved machines will also give hourly updates of balloting’, he added.
Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Bangalore and Hyderabad-based Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) are the two public sector companies manufacturing EVMs for the Election Commission’, he  said.

With a view to ensuring a fair poll, it has also been proposed to have live-recording in polling stations for which a beginning was made in the Lok Sabha elections 2009 in the districts of Kanniyakumari. Madurai and Chennai. 

There are also efforts to have a communication plan as well as to adopt the SMS-based system of monitoring the polling stations as done in Tripura and recommended by the commission for adoption in the state, he added.
The CEO also urged the co-operation of all political parties to ensure free and fair polls. ‘The election officers would hold consultations with the local leaders of various political parties in these five Assembly constituencies’ he added.  
It may be recalled that almost all opposition political parties urged India should revert to the ballot paper for elections unless adequate safeguards were in place to guard against malfunctioning of Electronic Voting machines. Many opposition parties, led by the AIADMK, in Tamilnadu have decided to boycott the by-elections, alleging that there cannot be a free and fair polling in the State.
On the issue of using paramilitary forces for poll duty, Naresh Gupta   said, ‘it has to be decided by the Central Election Commission.

Naresh Gupta further informed that the EC has written a letter  to the State government urging it not to include the areas coming under the five Assembly constituencies (going for by-electionsl) in the free health insurance scheme being implemented by the State government later today.
On complaints of mass deletion of names from the voters list in the Lok Sabha polls, he said many had informed the change of address after they shifted their residence  and many have not shown interest in adding their names in the voter’s list.

http://newstodaynet.com/printer.php?id=1837

EVMs are NOT fair, NOT transparent, have NO voter verifiable audit trails.

‘Booth capturing and bogus voting is very much possible and very much prevalent’.: Gopalaswamy, ex-Chief Election Commissioner of India.

Three essential elements of free and fair elections available to the voter under the Paper-Ballot system are not there in the EVM — checking the accuracy of the ballot paper before marking the vote; verifying whether he/she has correctly marked it, and reconstruction of the vote for authentication in case of electoral dispute.

Chennai, July 20, 2009. …For the first time since independence, a registered party has called for a boycott, a party which has ruled a state for more than two decades is shying away from the polls and if this and the reasons, do not make headlines in the national media, it only high lightens the mockery of our democracy.  http://www.chennaitvnews.com/2009/07/evm-advance-result-scientific-tamilnadu.html

 

Elections must be above suspicion

 

MG Devasahayam, 23 July 2009

 

The decision of the opposition parties in Tamil Nadu to boycott the by-elections to five assembly constituencies is an expression of no-confidence in the electoral process in general and the Election Commission in particular, rather being aimed at the ruling DMK-Congress combine.

The AIADMK press note makes it manifest: ‘Looking at the way elections have been conducted in Tamil Nadu in the last three years and in particular in Thirumangalam constituency and the recent parliamentary polls, the AIADMK has doubts if the Election Commission can function in a free and fair manner’. The opposition alleges that several malpractices took place in the recent elections through use of money and muscle power to win elections and the Election Commission has been a silent spectator.

What is strange, but not surprising, is the open admission of such malpractice by three election bigwigs — N Gopalaswami, till recently chief election commissioner, S Y Quraishi, election commissioner (possibly the next CEC) and Naresh Gupta, long-serving chief electoral officer of Tamil Nadu.

A couple of weeks ego, while addressing a select gathering in Chennai in the presence of P C Alexander, former Tamil Nadu governor, Gopalaswami was candid: “Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) cannot be hacked as being alleged because these are stand-alone equipment and not connected to any operating system. We have met party muscle-power with government muscle-power by deploying armed central police force in polling booths. But we cannot counter money-power in a similar manner.”

He added that ‘In three months Election Commission cannot obliterate the massive money-power acquired by politicians in 57 months’. Gopalaswami also added that though EVMs could not be hacked or tampered with, ‘booth capturing and bogus voting is very much possible and very much prevalent’.

The statements of Quraishi and Gupta were also on the same lines, thus creating a credibility crisis about the EC and the electoral process.

In this context the ‘Caesar’s wife’ anecdote would be appropriate. In 61 BC, Julius Caesar’s second wife, Pompeia was implicated in a scandal following the annual Feast of the Great Goddess. Though men were not admitted to this religious ritual, the notorious libertine Publius Clodius allegedly disguised himself as a woman and seduced her. Caesar divorced Pompeia and an inquiry was held. However, although several members of Caesar’s family gave evidence in favour of Pompeia, Caesar himself did not and the court asked him why he had demanded a divorce when so much uncertainty surrounded the incident. “Caesar’s wife,” he replied, “must be above suspicion.”

This is applicable mutatis mutandis to the situation in Tamil Nadu’s electoral scenario. The EC, the grandmaster of India’s electoral process, described as the ‘greatest democratic exercise on earth’ is held in high esteem in the free-world and cannot afford to lose its reputation. Therefore, though these allegations of electoral malpractices are controversial in nature, the Election Commission and the electoral process must be above suspicion.

First, the EVMs. Even assuming these machines are hacker-tamper proof, three essential elements of free and fair elections available to the voter under the Paper-Ballot system are not there in the EVM — checking the accuracy of the ballot paper before marking the vote; verifying whether he/she has correctly marked it, and reconstruction of the vote for authentication in case of electoral dispute.

Therefore, its fairness is open to question and doubts have been raised that need to be dispelled. It may be too late in the day to stop the EVM juggernaut. But the Election Commission could build-in a reasonably foolproof safeguard in the form of a verification system. This can be done by a ‘voter-verifiable audit trail’. A printer attached to the voting machine, something like ATMs in banks, could permit a ‘vote verification slip’ to be printed out, giving the candidate and symbol for which the voter has voted. The voter picks up the slip, verifies that the vote has been correctly registered, and deposits it in a safe in front of the polling officer. Boxes containing these slips would be sealed and stored securely to be available for reconstruction of the vote and authentication of election results in case of any dispute. This way, while going hi-tech basic requirements of a free and fair election could be met.

Secondly, money-power. Gopalaswami is right when he said ‘party money-power’ cannot be physically countered by ‘government money-power’. But creating fear in the minds of the corrupters can certainly fight it. Countermand elections in constituencies where massive money power is being deployed — as described in Section 123 of the Representation of the People Act — because of which ‘result of the election is likely to be affected’. This will send shivers down the spine of the ‘cash-and-carry candidates’ who are destroying the credibility of the electoral process. The EC could obtain such information through the battery of observers they deploy, whose numbers can be augmented in select ‘rogue constituencies’.

As of now, such a provision under Section 59 A 2(b) of the Act is available for ‘booth capturing’ as defined in Section 135A, which covers the physical act of taking possession of polling stations, ballot-boxes/EVM or ballot-papers because of which ‘result of the election is likely to be affected’.

Both suggestions could be implemented by the EC immediately. If necessary, the Act could be suitably amended, and that brooks no delay. What is at stake is the integrity of our democracy.

(The writer is a retired IAS officer.

E-mail: mgd@airtelmail.in) http://tinyurl.com/m9j98m

Bring awareness of EVM issues in India

Save Indian Democracy Organization is a nonpartisan and nonpolitical organization consists of individuals across the world  who are primarily concerned about preserving and protecting the largest democracy of the world, India.   While individuals in this organization have worked for many years on aspects of protection of democracy in India, the organization is recently formed to bring about widespread awareness on Electronic Voting Machines in India, particularly in light of many issues raised in 2009 India elections.  It consults with team of professionals across the World including Dr. Subramanian Swamy upon whose initiative in 2001 the then CEC Mr. M.S. Gill arranged a demonstration by MIT Professor Sanjay Sarma, the father of RFID Software fame and his wife Dr. Gitanjali Swamy of Harvard on how unsafeguarded the chips used in EVM in India were.   We are fortunate to have guidance of Stanford Professor David L. Dill (www.verifiedvotingfoundation.org) who is in the forefront in United States in bringing awareness to EVM issues in US during last 6 years and had considerable success.   We are also working with other nonpartisan and non-political Organizations in India such as Voter Watch (www.voterwatch.in) to bring awareness to this issue in India.  Primary contact for the Organization is S. Dosapati (www.saveindiandemocracy.org,  saveindiandemocracy.org@gmail.com ).

Time to rethink on EVMs July 26, 2009 Editorial, Organiser Finally, the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) controversy has reached the apex court. It is not surprising considering the plethora of doubts expressed by almost all political parties and many highly-placed social activists and experts on the reliability of this wonder machine.  Experts are unanimous that it is not tamper-proof. It is not only the losers in the 2009 general election who have questioned the reliability of EVMs. The Congress leaders in Orissa too have joined hands with the BJP to file a petition in the court and take up a mass awareness campaign to protest the alleged large-scale tampering of the instrument in the state during election. Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad is on record alleging that manipulation of voting machines had led to the Congress defeat in Orissa. Azad is the party in-charge in the state. The Leader of Opposition LK Advani has demanded the replacing of EVMs with ballot papers. His view was supported by almost all parties including the CPI(M), AIADMK, TDP and Janata Dal(U). Such wide-spread doubts about the EVM is not good for the health of Indian democracy. The RSS former Sarsanghachalak KS Sudarshan, questioning the credibility of EVMs, in Cuttack, the other day, said, the general elections have become a contempt of democracy, as machines are playing a greater role than the voters. He pointed out that EVMs are not being used in developed countries like Germany and the USA. It is time to replace it with ballot paper, he said. It is not that the people’s verdict in the poll-2009 is being questioned. That, so many well-founded arguments have come up about the possibility of tampering with the EVM to manipulate the electoral outcome is a good enough reason to rethink on it. Election Commission of India has received a number of complaints about EVM malpractices from all over the country. The recent spate of articles published in reputed computer engineering magazines and the international press has raised doubts about the integrity of EVMs. Each step in the life cycle of a voting machine—from the time it is developed and installed to when the votes are recorded and the data transferred to a central repository for tallying—involves different people gaining access to the machine, often installing a new software. It will not be hard, according to experts, to plant a parallel programme under another password on one or many voting machines that would, before voters arrived at the polling stations, ensure a pre-determined outcome. The Election Commission was aware of the fundamental flaws in the EVMs since 2000. But no effort was made to correct them. Nor were precautions taken. The debate now has come not only because the Lok Sabha results surprised many, but also because of the unexpected number of seats won or lost by some parties. Of course, the AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa and the TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu have taken up the anti-EVM campaign in a big way because of the stunning performance of the ruling party in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh respectively. Even neutral agencies and individuals have pointed to the chance of rigging in these elections.  Experts say that the fundamental flaws in the EVM, which were pointed out to the EC by experts, have not so far been rectified. In 2004, a Supreme Court bench comprising the then Chief Justice VN Khare and two other judges directed the EC to consider the technical flaws in the EVM. This directive came as a result of a PIL filed by Satinath Choudhary, a US-based software engineer. But the EC did not budge. Now several High Courts in the country are hearing PILs on EVMs. And a PIL has reached the Supreme Court also. What is now proved convincingly is that EVMs are not protected against rigging and the EC has not made it tamper-proof in spite of clinching evidence to that effect. It is not a bad-idea for the EC to call an all-party meeting on the subject and review suggestions for restoring the credibility of the electoral system. http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=301&page=4 

PMK suggests boycotting TN bypolls Madurai (PTI): There is no point in contesting August 18 bypolls for five Assembly seats in the state as the Election Commission has failed to curb distribution of money to voters during elections, PMK leader S Ramadoss said on Monday. "The EC has failed in all the earlier bye-elections to control money distribution to voters and even the state Chief Electoral Officer has openly admitted to the failure," Dr. Ramdoss told reporters here. "There is no point in political parties contesting elections (in such a situation)," he said. He, however, said that the PMK would support the AIADMK, with whom it had an alliance in the recent Lok Sabha polls, if it contests the bypolls. Bye-elections are being held for the seats of Sri Vaikuntam, Cumbum, Ilayangudi, Bargur and Thondamuthur, which fell vacant either due to the resignation or death of MLAs representing these constituencies. He said the EC should deploy intelligence agents in 100 places to monitor money distribution. The Vanniar dominated party chief also demonstrated to reporters how Electronic Voting Machines (EVM)s could be "rigged" and said even advanced countries of Europe and Japan had now switched back to ballot paper system. The PMK, which drew a blank in all seven constituencies it contested as part of the AIADMK-led front in the Lok Sabha polls, had blamed EVMs for its poor showing. http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/004200907201440.htm

EVMs rigged? Poll panel challenges doubters

Prarthna Gahilote / CNN-IBN

TimePublished on Sun, Jul 19, 2009 at 21:39 in India section

 

Watch video: EC – EVMs can’t be rigged; Hacking EVMs not easy

 

http://ibnlive.in.com/pix/sitepix/07_2009/evm-rig313.jpg Doubting Thomas? Come and prove. We will videograph the whole process, says Election Commissioner SY Quraishi.

 

New Delhi: The controversy over electronic voting machines (EVMs) has a new twist. The Election Commission has challenged a software developer to prove his claim that EVMs can be programmed to guarantee victories for particular candidates or parties.

Ripujit Nomthondam claims the software he has developed can be put into any EVM by activating an already existing secret loop to ensure that by default every fifth vote will go in favour of a chosen candidate.

“The software can give two different results: one is a correct count and the other manipulated. I have put one invalid key that can activate the secret loop in the programme code (of EVMs),” claims Nomthondam.

But the Election Commission points out that Nomthondam’s software has been developed on a laptop and without access to EVMs. The Saigal brothers, Krishan and Omesh, who first talked about the software, reject the safety claims of the Election Commission’s experts.

“We don’t have an EVM so we have asked the Election Commission to give us a machine and give us 10 days. We will show it can be done (EVMs can be tampered with),” says Krishan Saigal. “It is amazing that for Rs 500 a young programmer in seven days can produce a programme which can rig elections.”

Meanwhile, head of Election Commission’s experts, Professor PV Indiresan, laughs off Saigal’s complaints about the EVMs. “This is like asking Sita to prove her chastity by giving agni pariksha. That is all I can say,” says Indiresan.

And along with Indiresan the Election Commission believes they have foolproof logic on their side and says Nomthondam is painting a rather simplistic picture.

It requires six bits of information to access one candidate on every machine and would require the complicity of a large number of officials if even a small section of the 12 lakh EVMs are to be manipulated. Besides, one has to know the source code of the EVMs to programme it to rig.

“The EVMs software programme is frozen and cannot be entered and it cannot be rigged,” says Indiresan.

The Election Commission has challenged the Saigals and Nomthondam to prove their case. Sources tell CNN-IBN that the Election Commission is bringing in a powerful panel comprising experts and the two manufacturers of EVMs, Bharat Electronics Ltd. and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd, to prove the EVMs’ safety.

It has also challenged doubters to prove their suspicions about the machines.

“Come and prove. We will videograph the whole process—we throw a challenge. We are 100 per cent confident about the machines,” said Election Commissioner SY Quraishi.

 

http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/97488/evms-rigged-poll-panel-challenges-doubters.html

http://ibnlive.in.com/printpage.php?id=97488&section_id=3

SUNDAY, JULY 19, 2009

EVM Great Challenge- BOO BOO

The dishonesty or honesty of a system cannot be based on an individual's talent show , especially to prove it is honest. One person is enough to prove dishonesty in any system, but is anyone person fit enough in this world to certify any system as honest or absolutely fool proof beyond any doubts?

EC Qureshi has thrown an open challenge to Saigal to come to the EVM factory and prove that the EVM's can be manipulated. he says all Saigal is doing so far is on a laptop which is vastly dissimilar to the 'machine'.  First of all this is a welcome step, for this is exactly what was expected from EC. IF they are so confident about what they have throw it to the public and challenge, not to some Saigal and have us witness a mock show. The stakes are so high that it will surely come down to what is your price Mr. Saigal? For then it will be only compromising a person's character and not a system or Country. the fact is Saigal is as unknown as the machine itself.

Many a times it has happened in this country and that is a seemingly aggressive opponent is actually a covert friend in need. Before elections a thin EC of a state showed lots of spine , but while and after elections proved to be the best ally of the kings. It happens.

Saigam, Indrasen and also Qureshi may be correct , but prove within reasonable methods that this is ok and that cannot be done by challenging 'one person. So tomorrow a Ramki may challenge and how many will the election commission oblige.

Call all parties, give them a machine, allow them to interact, investigate , tear it burn it do whatever and give them a reasonable time and within that time if no one is able to prove any thing wrong certify the machine and shut the story, else go back to previous.

But wait a minute. That is not the end. I have reasonable faith on the machine originally made for the purpose. But how can a lay man like me,  be sure that what is in the booth is an original machine. What is the guarantee that it is not replaced by a similar machine in the vault.  In Tamilnadu there was a mysterious power cut just a day before polls and after too, THERE IS A CONSTITUENCY WERE THE VOTES ANNOUNCED AS POLLED WAS LESSER THAN THE VOTES COUNTED AND REASON GIVEN WAS CLERICAL ERROR. ETC ETC.- What is the guarantee that nothing went amiss. So log records, QC, logistics information, fairness of approach, multiple checks, etc should be shared with all parties. THERE ARE SO MANY STEPS, SO MANY DAYS AND SO MANY WAYS, HOW CAN THIS BECOME A FOOL PROOF SYSTEM. ATLEAST THE DAYS OF STORAGE SHOULD COME DOWN. ONE SUGGESTION IS TO TELECAST LIVE THE STORE ROOMS OF VAULT AND ALL TRANSPORTATION AND PROCESS INCLUDING THE STORAGE 24*7, AND SHOW IT IN THE WEB, SO THAT ALL CAN SEE WHAT THEY WANT TO, WHICH EVER CONSTITUENCY.   THE PUBLIC HAVE THE RIGHT TO THIS INFORMATION FOR IT INVOLVES HIS DESTINY. 


REGARDING THE ELECTIONS THAT WENT BY I HAVE NOT AN IOTA OF DOUBT THAT IT WAS FIXED, BUT I AM UNDER NO COMPULSION TO TRY AND PROVE IT FOR IT DOES NOT CONCERN ME. WHEN WAS A RULING PARTY A CONCERN FOR A COMMON MAN, EITHER WAY?

Posted by vj at 8:40 PM

http://www.chennaitvnews.com/2009/07/evm-great-challenge-boo-boo.html

EC urged not to use EVMs for GHMC polls

Times of India 18 July 2008

HYDERABAD: Reiterating that EVMs (electronic voting machines) can be tampered, the Jana Chaitanya Vedika and TDP on Thursday urged the Election

Commission not to use these machines in the GHMC elections unless all doubts are cleared.

The organisation wanted the EC to develop a verification tool, which can check the programme authenticity inside the chip.

While the TDP delegation led by N Janardhan Reddy called on the state election commissioner and submitted a letter written by party president N Chandrababu Naidu urging him to re-introduce ballot papers in the GHMC polls, JCV president V Lakshman Reddy at a media conference said that the people who come to vote should know to whom their vote had been cast.

He said that EC should either follow the procedure of issuing a printout of the vote cast or should go with the ballot papers. NetIndia, organisation associated with the JCV, prepared model EVMs based on the proforma of the EVMs of EC and demonstrated as to how the machine can be tampered.

Hari K Prasad, MD of NetIndia, said the biggest flaw in the EVMs used by the EC is that if the machine cables of two EVMs (assembly and Parliament) are swapped the result will be different. He said the chip used by the EC is made by government companies, which “can be managed.” “If the EC can give us information about the chip programming then they can analyse and show how the EVMs can be tampered.”

Prasad said the machines can be manipulated even at the time of activation. Giving an example, he said a programme can be set like ten per cent more votes for the candidate for whom first 20 votes were cast and the candidate can send those first 20 people to the booth and make them stand in queue ahead of others.

The TDP demanded that usage of the EVMs be temporarily suspended till all the doubts about their genuineness are cleared.

http://girgut.com/hyderabad_daily_news/2009/07/18/ec-urged-not-to-use-evms-for-ghmc -

Experts claim EVMs can be manipulated

TNN 18 July 2009, 05:58am IST

NAGPUR: The electronic machines can be tampered with or manipulated at several stages before or during polling was demonstrated here on Friday by an electronics expert and a team of non-political social activists from Hyderabad who have filed a petition recently in the Supreme Court for a fool-proof machine to record votes. 

In the presence of prominent citizens and local leaders of several political parties, the experts showed by using a programmed EVM how the votes actually polled differed from the final count. While button for candidate no. 1 was pressed by sample voters at the demonstration 12 times and that of no. 2 five times, in the final count No.1 got six while no.2 received 14 votes. BJP national executive member Kirit Somaiya, former MP Banwarilal Purohit , city NCP president Ashok Dhawad, MLA Devendra Fadnavis, city BJP president Sudhakar Deshmukh, BJP leader in NMC Anil Sole, ex-MLA Yeshwant Bajirao, BSP's Uttam Shevde and functionaries of several parties were present at the demonstration and public interaction session held at Patrakar Bhavan.  

In his introductory remarks, Somaiya said that in the recent Lok Sabha elections EVMs were used across the country in every polling station for the first time. "That is why complaints have come from several constituencies and court cases have been filed doubting reliability of EVMs. Electoral reforms are a continuing process and the authorities concerned should clear all doubts to ensure that the world's largest democracy uses a voting method that is beyond any manipulation," he said.  

Hari Prasad, a software techie, Hyderabad-based NGO Jan Chaitanya Vedika president Laxman Reddy, its vice-president V V Rao who are campaigning against the EVM machines being used in the country showed how EVMs were open to tampering. At the outset, Hari Prasad said he was not against EVMs and only wanted some verification tool for checking the authenticity of every EVM before it is actually used in polling. "Right now it is very easy to introduce a programmable virus in the chip. EVMs we use are made and programmed abroad. EC's claim that chips used are one-time programmable is debatable and most likely the chips are masked, said Hari Prasad. While any technician having access to a machine can replace the chip within minutes, it is also possible to manipulate a machine to ensure any one candidate's victory by using a remote control device once an antenna is placed in the machine, he said. Besides these machines do not ensure secrecy, he added.  

Hari Prasad endorsed Somaiya's suggestion that at least a facility to have printed slip of every vote deposited in a separate box could be arranged. In case of a recount demand, the vote count could be made from the collected prints, he said. V V Rao of the Election Watch has also filed a PIL in the apex court contending that EC has constitutional obligation under Article 24 to ensure that elections are conducted in a free and fair manner by using fool-proof recording of votes.  

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4791127.cms

EVMs to stay: Election Commissioner 

By IANS  
17 Jul 2009 11:30:51 PM 

CHANDIGARH: In the backdrop doubts raised by certain political leaders on the functioning of Electronic Voting Machines, the Election Commission on Friday said there was no move to discontinue use of EVMs asserting these were "100 per cent tamper proof".
"These machines are 100 per cent tamper proof and cannot be manipulated as they are not connected to any network or a computer", Election Commissioner S.Y. Quarishi told a press conference here.
"These are designed with simple techniques and cannot be hacked... there is no move to revert to use of ballot papers and the Commission is fully satisfied with the functioning of EVMs," he said.
Quarishi, who was here to review poll-related issues as Assembly polls in Haryana are due next year, was asked to comment on the doubts raised by certain political leaders, including those of BJP and CPI(M), recently with regard to EVMs and wondered if ballot papers should be re-introduced.
"It had taken 25 years of approvals and testing before EVMs were finally put to use in the country in 2004 Parliamentary polls. Two technical committees, which includes one Parliamentary committee, had fully approved these machines," he said, ruling out any need to revert to use of ballot papers.
He said from time to time certain people had been complaining and raising doubts and even writ petitions had been filed in various courts, including the High Courts and the Supreme Court, but EVMs have always been held as machines which cannot be tampered with.
Quraishi said EVMs in India are "stand alone" machines and should not be compared with any other machine.
"These cannot be compared with machines in some European countries. Our machines are not using any chip or they are not networked with any computer. So, the question of their being tampered with does not arise. The worst that can be done to our machines is that they can be broken but not manipulated or tampered," he said.
"One High Court judge had remarked that EVMs are pride of our nation. We have been holding free and fair polls with the help of these machines. Now, those who are pointing fingers at EVMs are not doing a good thing for the nation," he said.
The Election Commissioner said they had already come up with one more innovation in EVMs which was the "totaliser".
"We have recently demonstrated the use of totaliser, with whose help we can have vote counts of 15 EVMs in one go.
"Like earlier, we used to mix ballots to eliminate the possibility of pin-pointing from which particular area a candidate has led or trailed. Now, this totaliser technology is also going to work in a similar fashion and we are awaiting approval of a Parliamentary Committee before it can be put to use," he said. 

http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/print.aspx?artid=cEOM/p/X9zA=

No move to discontinue EVMs: EC

STAFF REPORTER 20:47 HRS IST

Chandigarh, July 17 (PTI) In the backdrop doubts raised by certain political leaders on the functioning of Electronic Voting Machines, the Election Commission today said there was no move to discontinue use of EVMs asserting these were "100 per cent tamper proof".

"These machines are 100 per cent tamper proof and cannot be manipulated as they are not connected to any network or a computer", Election Commissioner S Y Quarishi told a press conference here.

"These are designed with simple techniques and cannot be hacked...there is no move to revert to use of ballot papers and the Commission is fully satisfied with the functioning of EVMs," he said.

http://ptinews.com/news/179949_No-move-to-discontinue-EVMs--EC

Hyderabad's engineer demonstrates tampering of EVM

STAFF REPORTER 19:30 HRS IST

Nagpur, July 17 (PTI) As the debate on reliability of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) is going on, an election watch-dog and an NGO from Hyderabad today demonstrated 'tampering' of EVMs and claimed that these machines could be easily manipulated.

Explaining the possibilities of manipulations and insertions of pre-programmed chips, Hari K Prasad of NetIndia and the NGO Election Group's Convenor V V Rao said the chips are imported from Japan and there is a possibility of giving 60 per cent of total votes polled through the EVMs by one particular candidate (party) if the chips are programmed in such a manner.

Elaborating his point, Prasad told a gathering including reporters that in such a case, the first 10 voters who cast their votes can be the basis of manipulations. The particular party will get 60 per cent votes by manipulations as per the programme, they added.

http://www.ptinews.com/news/179721_Hyderabad-s-engineer-demonstrates-tampering-of-EVMDemo held to show EVM can be tampered with        

By Express News Service  
17 Jul 2009 03:58:00 AM IST

http://www.expressbuzz.com/Images/article/2009/7/17/17jul_demo.jpgNetIndia Managing Director V.Hari Prasad (left) and Jana Chaitanya Vedika member Prasad showing the EVM.

HYDERABAD: Disputing with the Election Commission’s claim that electronic voting machines (EVMs) were absolutely tamper-proof, members of Jana Chaitanya Vedika (JCV), along with technical experts, demonstrated today that the machines were tamperable. “The EVMs currently used in elections are vulnerable and tamperable. It is possible to bring a particular political party into power by tampering the machines. Hence the need for the Election Commission to use ballot papers till the EVMs are made fool-proof.

Our intention, however, is not for having ballot system in the country,’’ they said.

NetIndia managing director and technical expert Hari K Prasad, along with JCV president V Lakshmana Reddy, vice-president VV Rao and others, at a press conference here, conducted a mock, actual and modified polling and counting of votes to prove that the EVMs could be tampered with and a favourable result to a particular political party ensured. In one of the demonstrations, they made Lok Satta Party, at the request of mediapersons, gain maximum number of votes vis-avis other parties.

The EVM showed the LSP getting nine votes though it was polled only three (of the total 21 votes).

Programme of a chip could be fixed or set at the time of machine preparation or before the beginning of counting.

Only individual machines (EVMs) could be tampered with but not all the machines at a time, they explained.                 

They demanded implementation of e-governance policy to ensure implementation of `open standard’ mechanism relating to EVMs. Besides, they also sought development of `verification tool’ to check the programme that drives the EVM.

We are ready to prove that the EVMs are tamperable if at all we get an access (to EVMs of Election Commission).

There are instances of EVM tampering in Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and some other parts of the country in the recent elections. In fact, there was 100 percent polling recorded in some booths in Andhra Pradesh where the votes polled went in favour of one party. Several petitions were filed in various courts in the country on such instances,’’ they said.

Asked about the PIL filed in the Supreme Court, Hari Prasad said the case, which would come up for hearing next week, was filed on technology aspect.

http://tinyurl.com/n477bl

 

EVMs: rigged 2009 polls?

2009 Lok Sabha Data Questions

Contents

·                       1 Tracking the Elections 2009

·                       2 Unexpected Votes Data in Coded Spreadsheet

·                       3 Unclarified Questions

o                    3.1 Votes Polled?

o                    3.2 Dummy Data?

o                    3.3 Tests?

o                    3.4 Incompetence or Intent?

o                    3.5 Coding?

o                    3.6 Can you Confirm if Your Vote Counted?

o                    3.7 Closed System?

o                    3.8 What Reforms do we need?

·                       4 The Results?

·                       5 Unnecessary Confusions

·                       6 If this is a Mistake, Why No Clarifications from the ECI?

Tracking the Elections 2009

Elections were held in 5 phases across India. The last phase of polling was completed on the 13th of May 2009. The counting of votes was to begin on the 16th of May 2009.

The data of various candidates could be obtained from the Election Commission of India's website. In order to track the elections and upload candidate and constituency information onto this wiki, we accessed this website and regularly downloaded the CandidateAC file from there. This spreadsheet had various columns containing information of all candidates including their political affiliations, age, address etc. There was also a column for "votes polled" and some "coding" called “DECODE(FINALISED,'YES','FINALISED',)”.

By virtue of the Election Rules no votes polled data/exit poll was to be available before the 16th of May 2009, least of all on the Election Commission of India Website.

Unexpected Votes Data in Coded Spreadsheet

The excel spreadsheets on candidate information for all India downloaded from the ECI website between the 6th and 15th of May had "coded" Candidate Names, Party Names and votes polled. Despite repeated queries the ECI has not clarified the meaning of this data. This has resulted in widespread speculation and raised serious questions about the the management and integrity of the democratic process.

Unclarified Questions

The serious questions being asked include:

Votes Polled?

§           What was the coded data in the "votes polled" column in the versions of the spreadsheet downloaded between the 6th and 11th of May?

§           Why were the spreadsheets between these dates "coded" all of a sudden?

§           If the polling was not even complete how could "votes polled" data be available for all but 47 of the 8071 candidate?

§           If EVM’s were secure with district collectors, and elections were not even held in many constituencies, how was the data for all but 47 of the 8071 candidates available to the ECI on files downloaded between these dates?

Dummy Data?

§           If the data in these files on the 6th was test/dummy data why does it change for some constituencies on the 6th, 7th and 11th May 2009?

§           If data in these files was test/dummy data, how does it match the winner trend in 108 constituencies?

§           If data in these files was test/dummy data, why was it not removed on the 7th after the NIC and ECI were intimated on the 6th? Why was there no explanation from NIC/ECI to date?

Tests?

§           If the the data in these files was test/dummy data, what was it testing? Why was this test taking place during the polling period?

§           What are the tests the ECI can provide to distinguish test data from real data?

§           If the data in these files is test/dummy data, why is real data not uploaded in this file to date, especially as it was removed on the 15th of May 2009?

§           What tests were these that required only some data to keep changing and others to remain unchanging?

Incompetence or Intent?

§           If the data on the ECI website resulted from pure error, why was it coded?

§           If the data resulted from incompetence, is the result data not up in the same file for the same reason?

§           If the data resulted from incompetence why has the CandidateAC spreadsheet that contained the data been pulled off the website on July 15th?

Coding?

§           What is the field “DECODE(FINALISED,'YES','FINALISED',)” in these files and why does it change over time?

Can you Confirm if Your Vote Counted?

§           Besides a faith in the honesty of officials, integrity of the process and independence of the ECI, is there any other way to establish transparency and trust in an Election conducted by the ECI?

§           Is there any test, audit that can certify that votes polled are those polled by the people and not a Trojan Horse or a machine? Like a reverse Turing Test, aDemocracy Test?

§           How can votes be certified by the ECI to be a true vote of the people of India?

§           Is there any mechanism by which the voters can go back and ensure that their vote is still counted? Something similar to going back to the bank and checking that the money is still accounted for?

Closed System?

§           Is the source code of the entire electronic machinery "open-source"? Why not?

§           If Electronic Voting Machines have been banned across the countries for their inability to distinguish between human and machine votes, why are they used in India?

What Reforms do we need?

§           What is Election Reform needed to ensure Democracy is not only practiced and enhanced but is also auditable?

The Results?

The ECI have uploaded the individual vote data in a different file at a different location. You can compare the data in this file with the votes polled available on the 6th and 11th of May or look at the consolidated data file with some analysis assuming that the "votes polled" data in the earlier versions was not coded.

Unnecessary Confusions

Unfortunately, the ECI is using several different locations and different formats to convey election results:

§           An analysis link that has results

§           A results page

§           A results page on a different url: eciresults.nic.in

§           A press release

This itself is raising questions about the information- Which is the real site? Which is the real data? What is the real ECI source? Why are many locations and formats needed?

If this is a Mistake, Why No Clarifications from the ECI?

On the 6th of May we had asked the ECI to clarify the following: "The queries are returning coded names. The spreadsheet is having votes polled for each candidate- Is this test data, a wrong file or actual votes polled?"

We have not yet heard from the ECI so we have sent a reminder on the 31st of May 2009 we have asked the ECI the following: "Can you kindly indicate what the data in the CandidateAC downloaded from http://eci.nic.in/candidateinfo/frmcandidate.aspx file between the 6th and 15th is? Why is the Final votes polled data not uploaded till date at this location? When do you plan to upload it?"

On the 7th of July 2009 we have sent another more detailed request for clarification.

We have not yet heard from the ECI.

Source: Nalapatsaraph

http://government.wikia.com/wiki/2009_Lok_Sabha_Data_Questions#Tracking_the_Elections_2009

HC issues notice on petition alleging EVM tampering

KalingaTimes Correspondent
Cuttack, July 15: Odisha High Court on Wednesday issued notice on a petition filed by Congress leader Alok Jena alleging tampering of electronic voting machines in the recently held Assembly elections.

Justice Indrajit Mohanty issued notice to the respondents after hearing submissions made by Bidyadhar Mishra, counsel for the petitioner. The Court fixed August 7 as the next date of hearing on the petition.

In his petition filed on June 29, Jena has prayed to the Court to declare the election of Biju Janata Dal nominee Bijay Kumar Mohanty as null and void. Jena had lost to Mohanty from the Bhubaneswar Central Assembly seat.

The petitioner has alleged that EVMs were not trustworthy as the voter had no opportunity to see that the vote recorded by him had in fact been recorded in favour of the candidate for whom he voted.

Jena submitted that before actual voting starts and votes are recorded and the data is transferred to a Central repository for tallying, it involves different people gaining access to the machine installing parallel program under another password in the voting machine that would, before voters arrived at the polling stations, can ensure a premeditated poll outcome.

The petitioner further alleged in the petition that no mock poll was conducted before the beginning of polling. One of the mandatory requirements was that the presiding officers are duty bound to conduct a mock poll before commencement of polling, he submitted.

After the voting was conducted on April 23, the EVMs used in the poll had been kept in the custody of state police for three days and Central forces were given the charge of guarding the machines only after the petitioner raised the issue before the authorities concerned, according to the petition.

Jena also alleged in the petition that he was not given the exact percentage of votes polled in the constituency for three days.

The petition has also alleged that the rules pertaining to procurement of EVMs, commissioning of the same and dispatching of the machines to booths were violated by the officials who were in charge of the polls.

http://www.kalingatimes.com/odisha_news/news2009/20090715_HC_issues_notice_on_petition_alleging_EVM_tampering.htm

EVMs row: PIL in SC seeks to quash Lok Sabha poll results

PTI | New Delhi Wednesday, July 15, 2009
 .

Alleging that electronic voting machines (EVMs) were tampered with, a senior Member of Parliament from Shiv Sena on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court for setting aside the just concluded 15th Lok Sabha elections.

In a PIL filed through counsel Nawal K Jha, the five-time Shiv Sena MP Mohan Rawle, who himself lost the polls to Congress candidate Milind Deora from Mumbai south, claimed that the election process in the entire country was vitiated and pleaded that the ballot box system be restored.

"It is also prayed that the 15th General Elections of Lok Sabha, specifically the election of south Mumbai Parliamentary constituency, may be set aside as the same have been held through defective, incredible, untrustworthy and unreliable electronic voting machines," the petition stated.

In support of his plea, Rawle cited statements from various political parties like BJP, CPM, TDP, Samajwadi Party, RJD and LJP who expressed their view for reviving the ballot box systems as the EVMs were vulnerable to "tampering."

Quoting extensively various research papers and media reports from across the world, the former MP submitted that even in advanced countries like the US, authorites there have discarded EVMs as they were vulnerable for tampering and reverted to the traditional ballot box system.

http://dailypioneer.com/189083/EVMs-row-PIL-in-SC-seeks-to-quash-Lok-Sabha-poll-results.html

EVMs: Are they giving us right verdicts?

Statesman News Service

BHUBANESWAR, 12 JULY: The raging debate over manipulation of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) across the country establishes the fact that people do not trust the machine, and more so, in a backward state like Orissa. 

Hence and until and unless there is public acceptance one should not impose it said speakers at a seminar organised by Orissa Jan Sammelan here today.

Majority of the speakers and the audience firmly believed that EVMs are not tamper proof. In fact when Mr Rabi Das, convener of the Sammelan, tried to sum up saying the legitimacy of the 2009 elections is not being questioned, several people in the audience strongly objected and grilled him.

Mr P Satpathy, who had contested the Assembly elections as an Independent candidate said he and eight of his family members had cast vote in one booth where he secured only four votes. I had at least 800 committed workers and I got over 469 votes, he submitted questioning the credibility of the machines. “It is not jan mata but jantra mata and it is manipulated,” he alleged. Mr Satpathy pointed out that the BJP candidates in a particular region including the three from Bhubaneswar had secured 11,000 votes and all Independent candidates 500 votes. It was as if people had decided a ceiling on the number of votes. The vast difference between results of elections held in the first phase and the second phase, the unprecedented victory margin in Assembly constituencies were other aspects raised in the seminar to raise doubts. While Mr Satpathy drew loud cheers from the audience, former chief secretary Mr Rabinarayan Das suggested that a committee of experts need to probe into the use and functioning of EVMs. 

Mr Das felt it would be proper to impose President Rule six months prior to elections to prevent the party in power from influencing officers through postings and making populist announcements.

He cited instances of how officers shunted out by the Election Commission of India were re-posted as soon as elections were over. If a public servant is found unfit by the Commission how is it that he or she gets the same post after election, he questioned. Letters and articles written by experts including former chief secretary, Mr Umesh Saigal, former Union minister Mr Subramanium Swamy on tampering of EVMs were read out to the audience.

Software expert, Mr LN Panda deliberated on the configuration of the machine and said it was possible to introduce an additional programme or virus to manipulate EVMs. 

The existing programme cannot be changed or tampered but certainly a virus or additional programme can be introduced in the machine. Theoretically, one can manipulate EVMs and it is not tamper proof, he said. Professor P Singh, a physicist, felt that people of the country, given its literacy level and ignorance were not ready to accept a EVM. “Public acceptance is sovereign and hence it should be discarded. Why should any self respecting voter go to the booth and confront a machine of which he or she knows nothing at all. Why should he or she ask the officials present in the booth as to what he should do,” questioned the professor. It was pointed out that some of the defeated candidates had already moved the Orissa High Court in this regard.

http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.php?clid=9&theme=&usrsess=1&id=260707

EVMs tampered: Case in Bombay High Court

HC's notice to Praful Patel on poll petition

Created on : 07/11/2009 12:33:37 PM (NORMAL )

Nagpur, Jul 11 (UNI) Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court has issued a notice to Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel on a petition challenging his election from Bhandara-Gondia Lok Sabha constituency recently.

A single bench of Justice Ambadas Joshi issued the notice to Mr Patel, asking him to file a reply by September 18, in response to a petition filed by Shishupal Patle, a BJP candidate from the constituency.

Mr Patle, who was a member of the outgoing Lok Sabha, has charged Mr Patel with resorting to foul play and indulging in excessive expenditure, and also questioned the credibility of the electronic voting machines (EVMs).  

The respondent had exceeded the expenditure limit and submitted manipulated accounts with the returning officer, he alleged.

Citing an instance, Mr Patle claimed that a payment of Rs 40 lakh had been made to Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) after an election rally addressed by Congress President Sonia Gandhi and NCP chief Sharad Pawar in the constituency during campaigning.  

Although under different names, the payment was made for ferrying people to and from the rally, he claimed and contended that the expenditure should have been included in Mr Patel's account.

''On this count alone, Mr Patel's election is liable to be set aside,'' he contended, adding that the petition was being filed as an earlier complaint to the Returning Officer had yielded no results.

Mr Patle has also claimed that in as many as 73 booths, the number of votes cast had been more than the number of voters listed.  

The categorical directives of the Election Commission to hold a re-poll if the voting at a booth exceeded 95 per cent, had also not been followed, he contended.

In the April-May Lok Sabha polls, Mr Patel, the NCP nominee from Gondia-Bhandara, won with a thumping margin of 2,51,915 votes, among the highest leads in the state. His nearest rival, former Congress legislator Nana Patole (Independent), polled 2,37,899 votes.

Significantly, Mr Patle, who was seeking his third consecutive term to the House, was relegated to the third spot, with a tally of 1,58,938 votes.

In the 2004 elections, Mr Patel had lost to Mr Patle by a wafer-thin margin of 3,009 votes from the erstwhile Bhandara constituency.

http://www.uniindia.com/unilive\unisite.nsf/All/2E29CAD9814BF7DE652575F00026F6F1

Defeated Patle to file election petition                                                            

Ramu Bhagwat, TNN 24 June 2009, 04:09am IST

NAGPUR: Yet to come out of the shock of his defeat in the recent Lok Sabha elections from Bhandara-Gondia constituency, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Shishupal Patle is now contemplating filing an election petition. Patle, who had defeated Nationalist Congress Party stalwart Praful Patel in the 2004 polls, was not just defeated by the same rival by a whopping margin of over 2.5 lakh votes this time, but came third in the poll race as Congress rebel came in second. 

Patle took the decision on Tuesday after consulting party's national executive member Kirit Somaiya who specially flew in here for the meeting. "What left us dumbfounded was the fact that polling figures of some 60 booths did not tally with the final vote count. There was difference ranging from 50 to 200 votes in each of these booths," said city MLA Devendra Fadnavis, who was also present at the meeting along with Patle. This something unheard of. Citing one instance, a shocked Patle said: "At one booth, the total number of voters was 550, actual votes polled were 417 but the final count shows it as 600. That is, more votes were polled than shown in voter list!" Apparently, Somaiya could not unravel the mystery, advising Patle to approach the court.  

Patle claimed the party has already complained to the Election Commission (EC), raising doubts over the efficiency of the electronic voting machines (EVMs). But having elicited no response, the party has now decided to file an election petition in the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court. "As per the EC norms, a candidate has 45 days after the announcement of election results to go to the court file an election petition. The deadline will expire on June 29. I am consulting lawyers to finalise the petition," said Patle. 

Patle had won the last time against Patel, albeit by a slender margin of around a thousand votes. "Since 1977, the constituency has come up as a BJP stronghold. The party has a good following in the two districts and even when defeated, the margin never exceeded a few thousands," explained Fadnavis.  

"I have been a successful candidate once and represent a major national party. How could I possibly get votes in single digit in some booths while all other 17 candidates got votes in thousands from the same booth?" asked Patle. In the last elections, Patle had polled 2.74 lakh votes. But this time he got a mere 1.58 lakh while Patole polled 2.38 lakh and Patel who won secured 4.75 lakh votes. "No wonder even Japan, where the EVM was invented, does not use them in elections and relies on ballot papers. Even in the US, EVMs are not relied upon," said Patle. 

Interestingly, a petition challenging the EVMs , filed in 2004 by ex-MP Banwarilal Purohit, BJP's defeated candidate this time from Nagpur, was rejected by the high court. He later filed an appeal in the Supreme Court where it is pending.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Nagpur/Defeated-Patle-to-file-election-petition/articleshow/4694385.cms

EVM tampering: Video demonstration

http://www.kothaga.com/GetVideo.aspx?VideoID=qf9rYz2ihTQ&tag=custom&TYPE=Y EVMs can be tampered says JCV (Telugu) Polling should be transparent to the voter. There should be evidence to the voter to ensure that his vote has been correctly recorded.

http://www.kothaga.com/GetVideo.aspx?VideoID=j9BnqMeuT6g&tag=custom&TYPE=Y EVM tampering proved on TV (Telugu, ETV 2) Forum of Peoples Awarenss on vulnerabilities  of EVMs – Jana Chaitanya Vedika Display: 9 votes polled but 17 shown as recorded by tampering EVM. Demonstration to show the achievement of desired results by tampering EVM. Impossible to detect a Trojan used. Finding malfunctioning in chips is virtually impossible unless a detailed review is done before chip is damaged. EVM can be attached a printer to assure the voter that his vote has been correctly recorded by issuing an assurance printout.

PIL filed in SC seeking replacement of EVMs

New Delhi (PTI): Amidst questions being raised on the functioning of Electronic Voting Machines, an NGO has approached the Supreme Court seeking it to direct the Election Commission to replace it with a tamper proof system.

The PIL, filed by Jana Chaitanya Vedika, contended that there was an urgent need to replace EVMs as there was possibility of it being tampered and manipulated.

"Several experts and election watch groups have found that EVM could be manipulated. They have analysed the electronics results in several constituencies which indicate that there is something drastically wrong with the EVMs," the petition filed by V V Rao, Vice President of the NGO said.

"The existing EVMs are vulnerable and should not be used for any elections till the time the machines are made tamper proof," the petition said. 

http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/002200907102223.htm

Political distrust of voting machines reaches apex court

 

New Delhi, July 10

 

The growing political distrust against the electronic voting machines Friday reached the Supreme Court with a lawsuit demanding formation of an expert panel to examine functioning of the machines and to ascertain whether they are tamper-proof.

 

Two officials of Hyderabad-based Election Watch Group and two electronic engineers jointly moved the apex court, contending that it is entirely possible to tamper with the software of the machine and rig theelection.

 

The lawsuit sought formation of the panel to examine trustworthiness of EVMs in the poll process and to decide if it needs to be improved or altogether abandoned in favour of the old ballot papers.

 

Election Watch officials V.V. Rao and engineers A. Kankipati and Y. Vasaya contended in their lawsuit that "several experts and election watch groups and individuals, who have been monitoring the electionprocess, have found that EVM could be manipulated and tampered."

 

"They have analysed the results in several constituencies, which indicate that there is something drastically wrong with the EVMs," the petitioners claimed.

 

The lawsuit filed through counsel Sanjay Parekh also raised the issue of secrecy of electors' vote, saying the EVMs are not able to even protect the secrecy of voters and the votes cast by them.

 

Parekh is likely to apprise the court early next week of his lawsuit and seek its early hearing.

 

The lawsuit claimed that even the two expert panels appointed by the Election Commission in 1990 and 2005 to examine the trustworthiness of EVMs had indicated that there were several lacunae in their functioning and they need rectification.

 

"These factors are cumulatively creating a serious situation for sustaining a democracy based on free and fair election," said the lawsuit.

 

"The Election Commission of India has a constitutional obligation to ensure that the elections are conducted in free and fair manner," said the petition.

 

The petition has been filed in the wake of several political leaders belonging to rival camps raising doubts over the trustworthiness of EVMs and demanding their substitution by the good old ballot papers.

Last updated on Jul 10th, 2009 at 17:59 pm IST

--IANS

 

http://www.prokerala.com/news/articles/a63876.html

EVM rigging: Saigal rebuts Election Commissioner

By janamejayan

8 July 2009

From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: Former Delhi Chief Secretary Omesh Saigal, whose evidence-based proof of rigging by manipulating the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) prompted Opposition leader Lal Krishna Advani to call for return to ballot papers, on Tuesday rebutted Election Commissioner S Y Quarashi’s claim EVMs are tamper proof.

In a strong-worded letter to Quarashi, he also refuted his claim that the Election Commission has not ordered any probe into his charge that EVMs are vulnerable to be manipulated.

Saigal said after his presentation to Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla on dangers of fraud on EVMs,
he got a call from Deputy Election Commissioner Balakrishnan deputed for further probe who also gave his e-mail address through SMS.

The retired IAS officer said he has sent the necessary supporting documents to the official for further probe.

Saigal also drew Quarashi’s attention to reports submitted by Prof Indiresan, in 1990 and in 2006,  specifically warning the EC about possibility of fraud in EVMs, and the need for a pre and post election audit.

This was, Saigal said, exactly what he had also specifically requested in his earlier communication to the CEC.

He pointed out that the EVMs are so vulnerable that even a voter can set them on the day of polling by pressing keys in a certain order to record votes in favour of a particular candidate irrespective of whichever keys subsequent voters press.

http://janamejayan.wordpress.com/2009/07/10/evm-rigging-saigal-rebuts-election-commissioner/

EVMs: ‘dogla’ software can rig them

‘Rigging is possible through EVMs’

A day after Election Commission rejected his claim that Electronic Voting Machines are not tamper-proof, former bureaucrat Omesh Saigal on Tuesday stuck to his charge that a particular software can be used to rig the polls.

http://birlaa.com/news/rigging-is-possible-through-evms/310070

 

Ex-bureaucrat sticks to claim, says rigging possible through EVMs

 

New Delhi, July 07: A day after Election Commission rejected his claim that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are not tamper-proof, former bureaucrat Omesh Saigal today stuck to his charge that a particular software can be used to rig the polls. 

Rejecting the allegation that he was sensationalizing the issue, Saigal, former Delhi Chief Secretary, said in a letter to Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi that he had made an oral presentation before Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla who had assured a complete examination by the EC and by the scientific advisory committee headed by Prof Indiresan. 

Saigal claimed the CEC also assured him that, if required, adequate safeguards would be introduced and, if that too did not suffice, EC would not hesitate to go back to the ballot papers. 

"Please don’t think that we are the only ones to express the fears of electoral fraud through a dogla software (Trojan-horse). Both the technical committees set up by the EC, one in April 1990 and the other in Sept 2006, had articulated similar fears. These committees were headed by Prof Indiresan," Saigal said. 

He said he could give a detailed presentation to the EC to show how a ‘dogla’ software can be used to rig an election. 

The EC had said yesterday that it would consider all the points raised and apprehensions expressed by various political leaders, and individuals regarding EVMs and take all necessary measures to clear doubts. 

Saigal said the experts' committee had examined the possibility of a "trojan horse sub programme" being wilfully activated after knowing the key number allocation to favour a particular candidate by activating the software through some mechanism at the time of poll. 

The committee had prescribed a large number of pre and post-poll election checks in its reports as part of the audit, Saigal said in his letter. 

"....Please ensure that no key audit functions are given to persons ware not directly accountable and reporting to EC," he added. 

BJP, CPI(M), Samajwadi Party and Trinamool Congress have said the doubts raised about the possibility of rigging through EVMs should be examined carefully.

http://www.zeenews.com/news545297.html

Naidu on a mission, to prove votes can be tampered with

HYDERABAD, 7 JULY: In a significant development, TDP president Mr N Chandrababu Naidu, has prepared a software which if deployed in Electronic Voting Machines, can be used to tamper with the ballots. He did so to proves that the recently held elections were heavily rigged.

Mr Naidu is convinced that he lost the elections as EVMs were tampered with. He told aides that chief minister Dr YS Rajashekar Reddy retained power as he tampered EVMs with fraudulent software, sources said.

Mr Naidu had the software developed by software professionals who are also supporters of the party. According to the software: if your choice of contestant is A and you accordingly press the EVM button, the vote will be registered against pre-determined contestant D. The software can be similarly tweaked in favour or against any of the contestants.

From June last week, Mr Naidu has been on the job of making such software. He is being assisted by TDP IT in-charge Mr Srinivas, who was introduced into the party by Sujana group chairman~ Mr S Chowdhury and Mr Jayram Reddy ~ former secretary, AP State Council of Higher Education. Both of them supervised the TDP’s call centre where they claim to have got the feedback from voters that “their votes landed elsewhere”. Sources substantiated this argument by referring to the contest in Nellimerla Assembly segment in Vizianagaram district. It so happened, that during counting, TDP candidate Mr B Narayanaswamy Naidu found that in villages where he had a strong support, he either got nominal majorities or was trailing behind. He lost to the Congress by 597 votes and has filed a case in Court.

Meanwhile Mr Naidu sent a brief explaination to various political leaders including former MP Mr K Ramamohan Rao, MLAs Mr Revanth Reddy and Mr P Keshav saying that EVMs can be tampered. 

Mr Naidu’s aim to prove that EVMs are not tamperproof gathered momentum after former Delhi chief secretary Mr O Saigal, last week gave a presentation to Chief Election Commissioner Mr Naveen Chawla that a certain code ensures that every fifth vote cast is registered against a pre-determined contestant. 

;Stanley Theodore

http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.php?clid=2&theme=&usrsess=1&id=260256

Declare EVMs unconstitutional

 

This is a clinching argument, set forth by Rajeev. On this ground alone, SC can declare use of EVMs unconstitutional.

 

namaskaram. kalyanaraman 

 

On Tue, Jul 7, 2009 at 7:27 AM, Rajeev Srinivasan <rajeev.srinivasan@gmail.com> wrote:

jul 6th, 2009

senthil kumar brought up a very interesting -- and very damaging -- point. 

the EC in its FAQ specifically mentions that the EVMs log every vote with a time-stamp. this is also reported in the Indiresan Committee report (page 4). 

on the one hand, this is good. let the election committee provide the full logs of all EVMs in one constituency where there is suspected fraud, and if researchers can run detailed data mining algorithms on them, we should be able to see some interesting non-random patterns (eg. every fifth vote goes to a particular party, as demonstrated by mr. sehgal with his trojan horse).

on the other hand, the logs are per se unconstitutional. citizens have a fundamental right to a secret ballot. however, if these logs are maintained untampered (let us assume they are not messed with), then it is possible for an agent in a polling booth to note down the name of the voter and the time they voted, and which EVM they voted from. an analysis of the log will then tell you exactly who voted for whom, thus violating the secrecy of the ballot. 

this is an extremely serious matter, and enough to ban the machines as unconstitutional right there with no further cause. and there is no doubt about these logs, as the EC has been trumpeting them as a 'feature' (turns out they are a 'bug'). 

in fact, senthil provides circumstantial evidence from his home village where the winning politician threatened people (the identity of his party is not a surprise) by saying he knew who voted against him and they could expect him to take revenge on them.

July 12, 2009 

Debate

EVM is fallible, too many complaints
EVM should be replaced by ballot paper
By Biswabhusan Harichandan

When people are suspicious about the correct functioning of EVMs, which posed a danger to the democracy and the rights of the citizens, our keenness to continue with the system is deplorable. Should we not know that our votes are correctly recorded by the EVM?

The issue of rigging of election by Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) has been raised in different states of the country. In Orissa, all the political parties, except the ruling BJD, are accusing the latter of tampering with EVMs, which crowned them with unexpected victory. Before discussing the large scale rigging by EVMs in Orissa assembly election, I think it appropriate to deal with the important question whether the Electronic Voting Machines are tamper-proof? If there is any doubt in its integrity, what compels us to take recourse to this method instead of ballots papers. 

Arguments are being made that it is convenient and speedy. Can we sacrifice our valuable democratic rights for the sake of convenience? Is it not the most valuable right of a citizen to know as to in whose favour he casts his vote? I am of the firm view that the constitutional right of a citizen is being infringed by this method of voting where he has no scope to see or know in whose favour his vote has been recorded. It is not only unconstitutional, but this is violative of democratic norms and principles. The Supreme Court of Germany ruled in last March that e-voting was unconstitutional because the average citizen could not be expected to understand the exact steps involved in the recording and tallying of votes. It is not only Germany, almost all the developed countries of the world including US and other European countries have adopted ballot paper system as they have maximum respect for this valuable democratic rights of the citizens. But I fail to understand why we are adopting the said system when the countries whom we have followed in this respect have gone back to the ballot paper. 

It is noteworthy that Shri KS Sudarsan, former Sarsanghachalak of RSS, has also clearly said that various political parties successfully tampered with EVMs to remain in power in his speech in Cuttack. He further questioned why we are having this system when developed countries like US and Germany have gone back to ballot paper. The article of Dr Subramanian Swamy which has been published in Organiser, is very analytical and thought provoking. He has referred to the articles of very learned Professors of computer science, published in reputed Computer Engineering journals and popular international press which not only raised doubts about the integrity of Electronic Voting Machines but opined that it can be tampered with. Dr Swamy placed different materials and established that it is not tamper proof. In a country like ours where percentage of the illiterate people is almost more than half who are being guided by the Presiding Officers in the polling booths why we are interested to have these EVMs. Should we sacrifice these valuable democratic rights of ours to the dictates of some power hungry and unscrupulous rulers and their power brokers? 

When people are suspicious about the correct functioning of EVM which posed a danger to the democracy and the rights of the citizens, our keenness to continue with the system is deplorable. Should we not know that our votes are correctly recorded by the EVM? If a person is going to be hanged in a death sentence by a court of law, he is made known about the crime he has committed, but when you are hanging a candidate or his voter by your Electronic Voting Machine, you are not giving him any opportunity to know how his vote had been recorded. In my view this is a crime which should be get rid of. Some people argue that it is being tampered with should be proved. Direct proof or evidences are not always available in all crimes. In such cases the investigating agencies and the courts depend on circumstantial evidence to establish the case and to convict the criminals. 

In the last general elections in Orissa there was a massive tampering with the EVM to support the ruling party BJD and both direct and circumstantial evidences are also available to prove such tampering. In different parts of the state, in some poling booths direct proofs are available. In Nima Sahi booth of Cuttack there was re-polling on public pressure when it was detected that all votes are being recorded in BJD symbol though different buttons were pressed. Complaints from other places of the state were not entertained. The case of Bhubaneswar may be cited as an example. Here I made a hattrick by winning assembly elections continuously for 3 terms and in the election of 2000 and 2004 margin of winning was 96,000 and 86,000 respectively from my nearest rivals. Here is a constituency where only state level senior and reputed leaders are elected and no light weight has ever been entertained since Independence. This time it is an exception which the people of Bhubaneswar are not prepared to believe. All organisations like the employees’ organisations, the religious organisations like Satsangh of Thakur Anukulchandra, Satyasai, Srima, Trahi Achyut and others and community leaders of Marwari, Sikh, Gujarati, Bihari, Telgu and all others were campaigning for me. Everybody knows that in the development of the state and Bhubaneswar, I have a key role and I entertain all sorts of grievances of the people of all walks of life and find solution to them. Still then I have been defeated which the people of Bhubaneswar as well as Orissa are not prepared to believe. The people of Bhubaneswar believe that due to the tampering of EVM, this could be possible. 

It is not only in Bhubaneswar in all parts of the state specially in the second phase of election, candidates have become easy prey of Electronic Voting Machines. Entire state has been surprised to see how due to the tampering of EVM in the second phase the ruling BJD with its associates could capture 72 seats out of 77 where BJD alone has 64 seats. Was there any political super cyclone in its favour. People of Orissa know that there was no wave in favour of BJD in Orissa. Many candidates of BJD who had never dreamt of winning and were sure to lose in public estimation and according to their own versions have won the election with unbelievable margins of 25,000 to 60,000 votes. Some have now admited that it is due to the appropriate programming of EVM, they have won the election with such high margin. 

It is very significant to note that in all the three constituencies of Bhubaneswar and its two adjoining constituencies the BJP candidates have got about 11,000 votes each. How accurately the programming of the EVM has been made? In Bhubaneswar (Central) of mine it is 11486, Bhubaneswar (North) 11350, Bhubaneswar (Ekamra) 11070, Delang-Pipili 11170 and Jaydev 10800. Criminals destroy all the evidence after the crime is committed by them but in many cases they leave behind some proof unconsciously which become fatal for them. Due to over anxiety to smash the prospects of the BJP candidates in these constituencies, EVM programming has been made in such a way that each of them got about 11,000 votes. This type of circumstantial evidence will be very helpful in proving the case of tampering with EVM. 

Another significant feature of Orissa election is that all the seasoned and popular leaders of opposition specially BJP and Congress have been defeated. As it appears the ruling BJD has made a list of all these leaders and in a very planned way killed them by EVM. I feel the political parties should rise to save democracy from the clutches of EVM. 

(The writer is a former Law Minister, Government of Orissa.)

http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=299&page=15

 EVMs tampered: ECI defends. IAS man shows how.

 

DISPELLING RUMOURS

EC denies ordering probe into EVM ‘malfunctioning’

TIMES NEWS NETWORK 

Chennai edition, 6 July 2009


New Delhi: The Election Commission on Sunday denied that it had ordered probe into malfunctioning of EVMs. Election commissioner S Y Qureishi also denied that former civil servant Omesh Saigal had demonstrated malfunctioning of the EVMs to the EC. 
    Speaking to TOI, Qureishi said, “Saigal is trying to sensationalise the issue. He has not demonstrated anything. Only a letter has come. We take every complaint seriously. We have asked them to come and demonstrate.” 
    In another statement, the EC said, “The commission will consider all the points raised and apprehensions expressed regarding the EVMs and take necessary measures to clear doubts about elections.” 
    Qureishi also denied that election commissioner V S Sampath had been rushed to Hyderabad to inspect the EVMs. “He is from Hyderabad and busy with his daughter’s wedding. He went to the factory to familiarise himself. Even I went there after joining the EC,” he said. 
    Qureishi said the EC kept getting complaints about EVMs. “But it has not been proved so far,” he added. 
    He said unlike the voting machines in foreign countries, the EVMs in Indiawere not based on a single operating system. The EVMs in India, he explained, were standalone machines. “It is dead after each vote is cast and needs control unit. Also, three buttons cannot be pressed simultaneously. It needs 12 seconds between each vote cast,” he said.

 

http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Scripting/ArticleWin.asp?From=Archive&Source=Page&Skin=TO

 

http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Repository/getimage.dll?path=TOICH/2009/07/06/10/Img/Pc0101500.jpg Image of Balloting unit of ECI

 

EVM tampering: IAS man shows EC how

Busts Poll Panel’s Claim That It’s Tamper-Proof

TIMES NEWS NETWORK 

 

Chennai edition, 6 July 2009


New Delhi/Hyderabad: In a move that could have a far-reaching impact on how future elections are conducted in the country, the Election Commission of India is veering around to the view that electronic voting machines (EVMs) can be tampered with. 
    After Omesh Saigal, a 1964 batch IAS officer and an IIT-Delhi alumnus considered an expert on EVMs, made a convincing presentation to top EC officials, election commissioner V S Sampath, along with secretary K F Wilfred, flew down to Hyderabad and met officials of the Electronic Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), one of the two companies who manufactures EVMs for the polls. BEL is the other PSU that makes EVMs. 
    Saigal was called by the EC to prove his charge he had levelled in a letter to the commission sometime ago. Sources said that at Friday’s presentation, Saigal clearly proved to the officials as to how the EVMs can be easily tampered with. According to the sources, Saigal demonstrated with his software that by keying in a certain code number, one could ensure that every fifth vote cast in a particular polling booth goes in favour of a particular candidate or party. 
    This has been the contention of many experts as well as political parties, like the Telugu Desam Party, all of whom have been arguing that their experiences clearly showed that the EVMs are vulnerable and that the commission should climb down from its stance that the machines are tamper-proof. Among former officers who wrote to the EC cautioning about the use of EVMs in the elections was E V S Sarma, former Union power secretary. 
    “That is precisely what happened after Saigal’s presentation. The EC officials are coming around to the possibility of the EVMs not being fool-proof. Hopefully, the commission will re-examine the use of EVMs ahead of the Maharashtraassembly polls which is the first one scheduled after the general elections held two months ago. If it is proved that EVMs are vulnerable, it would throw into doubt the results of all the polls where these machines were used,” said a top official. 
    According to sources, at the meeting with ECIL bosses on Friday evening,Sampath and Wilfred were explained the functioning, manufacturing process, procurement of the chips and the reliability of the machines in detail. It is learnt that after the presentation by Saigal, deputy election commissioner R Balakrishnan was asked to take a second look at the issue based on the report Saigal handed over to the CEC. Along with the report, Saigal also handed over the software he developed to show how the elections could be rigged with the electronic voting machines. Neither election commissioner V S Sampath nor secretary Wilfred could be contacted.

http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Scripting/ArticleWin.asp?From=Archive&Source=Page&Skin=TOINEW&BaseH

EVMs come under attack from poll 'losers'

6 Jul 2009, 0406 hrs IST, TNN


NEW DELHI: For the first time since they were used in a byelection in Kerala in 1982, EVMs have come under attack. What were seen as efficient and fool-proof vote counting machines to replace the cumbersome ballots are being criticised by BJP, CPM, RJD, JD(S) and LJP — parties who fared poorly in the Lok Sabha elections. 

Senior BJP leader L K Advani on Saturday set the ball rolling by demanding that the use of EVMs be suspended till doubts about their accuracy and that they could be rigged were settled. Now, he has found support from other "losers" while Congress has been quick to run down Advani's comments as "childish".  

While the controversy over EVMs coincides with decisions of Irish authorities to discontinue their use and a ban by the German supreme court, the Election Commission stood by the EVMs as fool-proof. In fact, the commission, showing remarkable promptness, came out with a statement to express its vote of confidence in the machines in a move to nip the controversy ahead of coming state polls. In fact, Advani had demanded that the machines not be used in the state polls.  

While those who are opposing EVMs seem disparate, the common thread is the scale of their defeat in the Lok Sabha polls and their struggle to find "explanations and reasons" for the rout. The Left lost its stronghold of West Bengal and Kerala while Ram Vilas Paswan failed to open his account in Bihar. Even the BJP fell far short of its expectations. 

The CPM said questions being raised about the functioning of EVMs should be considered "very seriously", especially as several countries had gone back to ballot papers, including developed ones.  

"Many questions have already been raised related to EVMs. These are serious issues and if we want to strengthen our democracy then we should consider the matter very seriously," CPM politburo member Yechury said.  

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee welcomed Advani's suggestion and said she was the first to have raised the issue. She added that recent panchayat and municipal polls in Bengal were held through ballot papers and they seemed to work fine. 

The Samajwadi Party sought an all-party meeting by the EC to quell doubts about EVMs. While not pushing the charge, the SP said doubts among a large number of political parties had to be addressed nevertheless. "There is a lot of controversy over EVMs in India as well as in the west. It is found that it can be manipulated. Doubts have also been raised over the outcome of Lok Sabha results of a senior minister of Congress. In democracy, perception is very important. If there is doubt in a large section of people, then it has to be addressed," SP general secretary Amar Singh said. 

JD(S) chief H D Deve Gowda said secrecy could not be maintained with EVMs. "This system should be abandoned. At the all-party meeting before the elections, we had listed the shortcomings of EVMs," he said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-4742288,prtpage-1.cms

Advani joins chorus, votes against EVMs

Rajesh Sinha / DNA

Monday, July 6, 2009 2:16 IST

New Delhi: No one in the opposition trusts electronic voting machines (EVMs) any more.They have raised doubts about the dependability on EVMs after former Delhi chief secretary Omesh Saigal, an IIT graduate, showed that EVMs can easily be tampered with. BJP leader LK Advani is the latest to join the chorus against EVMs.

He has demanded that ballot boxes be re-introduced, starting with the elections in Maharashtra and other states, later this year. Advani advocated using ballot papers until the election commission (EC) ensures that EVMs are foolproof and every possibility of their malfunctioning is plugged. However, the BJP made it "very clear" it was not questioning the recently-held Lok Sabha elections, in the "absence of any tangible proof".

BJP spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad said apprehensions were being raised by different quarters about the alleged malfunctioning of EVMs. "Recently, formerDelhi chief secretary Omesh Saigal gave a scientific and technical presentation showing how EVMS can be manipulated. The EC has now asked a deputy election commissioner to conduct an inquiry," Prasad said.

"Since the EC itself has ordered an inquiry, they should assure everybody that EVMs are not open to manipulation and malfunctioning. But till such assurance comes, the forthcoming elections in four states should be conducted using ballot papers," Prasad said. He noted also that Germany had rejected EVMs, while in the US it was mandatory to provide paper back-ups. "Now, many of the world's democracies are following the old ballot paper system," he said.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari labelled Advani's comments as "a stretch of imagination", but the TDP's Yerran Naidu pointed out that cabinet minister Ghulam Nabi Azad had said in Orissa that the Congress won fewer seats there due to manipulation of EVMs by the ruling BJD.

"I wrote to Azad congratulating him on his statement and suggested that he discuss it in the cabinet," said Naidu. AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa had expressed her distrust of EVMs to the EC in January. Janata Party's Subramaniam Swamy wrote a detailed article some weeks ago on the issue.

While the CPI(M) refused to comment, saying it has not gone into the issue in detail "to form an opinion", its senior leader, Nilotpal Basu, said "there have been questions coming up" about it (EVMs).

Naidu averred that EVMs lack transparency. "The voter does not know whether his vote has gone to the party he voted for. He cannot see it. If EVMs are so 'perfect', why are there so many instances of EVMs not working properly? In many areas, voting started at 3pm because the EVM was not working. At the time of counting, there were cases where an EVM would not open and votes could not be counted," he said.

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_advani-joins-chorus-votes-against-evms_1271359

EVMs reliable; however, will consider all apprehensions: ECI

 

No.ECI/PN/35/2009-MCPS Dated 5th July, 2009

ELECTION COMMISSION OF INDIA

Nirvachan Sadan, Ashoka Road, New Delhi -110001

 

 

PRESS NOTE

 

Subject :  Use of EVM in elections  regarding

 

The Election Commission of India has come across news items in a section of the Press regarding the technological vulnerability of the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) for possible manipulation. These news items refer to a letter handed over to the Commission by Shri Omesh Saigal, a retired civil servant. In this regard, the Commission would like to clarify that Shri Saigal handed over a letter on this matter, when he met the Chief Election Commissioner on 30th of June 2009.

 

However, no demonstration on the tamperability of the EVM has been given by Shri Saigal to the Commission or to its officials, nor has the Commission ordered any enquiry, as reported in a section of the Press. The Commission receives complaints, petitions and letters from various quarters on electoral issues including the matters related to EVM. All these complaints are looked into for taking necessary action, if any is required. The Commission has also been receiving letters from time to time, from various individuals and other stake holders about the possibility of EVM being tampered. In some of the cases, analogy is drawn to electronic voting systems adopted in various foreign countries and their experience with the electronic voting. The Commission has in the past, provided opportunities to the complainants to prove their points on the alleged vulnerability of EVM. So far, no one has been able to demonstrate to the Commission that EVM can be manipulated. The efficacy of EVM was also questioned in court cases in the past and the decisions of the courts [the Hon’ble Madras High Court, Karnataka High Court, Bombay High Court (Nagpur Bench), and the Kerala High Court, and as upheld by the Hon’ble Supreme Court] in these cases have confirmed the reliability of EVM.

 

From the initial introduction in 1982, to the country- wide use of EVM in 2004, the country took long and measured steps spanning over a period of nearly two decades, in the matter of electronic voting. In the meanwhile, general elections to various legislative assemblies, and numerous bye-elections and two general elections to the Lok Sabha have been conducted using EVMs at all polling stations. The tamper-proof technological soundness of the EVM has been endorsed by a technical experts subcommittee appointed at the initiative of the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms in 1990. This experts committee was headed by Prof S.Sampath, then Chairman RAC, Defence Research and Development Organisation, with Prof P.V.Indiresan,then with IIT, Delhi, and Dr C.Rao Kasarabada, then Director Electronic Research and Development Center,Trivandrum as members. Subsequently, the Commission has also been consulting a group of technical experts comprising Prof P.V. Indiresan (who was also part of the earlier committee referred to above) and Prof D.T. Sahani and Prof A.K Agarwala both of IIT Delhi, regularly, on all EVM related technical issues. Besides, the Commission has in place elaborate administrative measures and procedural checks-and –balances aimed at total transparency and prevention of any possible misuse or procedural lapses. These measures include rigorous pre-election checking of each EVM by the technicians, two level randomization with the involvement of political parties, candidates, their agents, for the random allotment of the EVMs to various constituencies and subsequently to various polling stations, preparation of the EVMs for elections in the presence of the candidates/their agents, and the Election Observers, provision for various thread seal and paper seal protection against any unauthorized access to the EVMs after preparation, mock poll in the presence of polling agents and mock poll certification system before the commencement of poll, post poll sealing and strong room protection, randomization of counting staff, micro observers at the counting tables, and so on.

 

The Election Commission of India is amply satisfied about the non-tamperability and the fool-proof working of the EVMs. The Commission’s confidence in the efficacy of the EVMs has been fortified by the judgments of various courts and the views of technical experts. The honorable Karnataka High Court has hailed the EVM as ‘a national pride’ (judgment dated 5.2.2004 in Michael B. Fernandes Vs C.K.Jaffer Sharief and others in E.P No 29 of 1999)

 

The Commission will however consider all the points raised and apprehensions expressed recently by various political leaders and individuals regarding EVM and take all necessary measures to clear doubts about EVM elections in the country.

 

(K.F.WILFRED)

SECRETARY

http://eci.nic.in/press/current/pn050709.pdf

 

EVMs are tamper-proof: EC 

By IANS  
05 Jul 2009 08:54:43 PM IST

 

NEW DELHI: The Election Commission Sunday asserted the electronic voting machines being used to conduct the polls in the country were tamper-proof and reliable, as it replied to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani's apprehensions on the gadgets.
"The Election Commission of India is amply satisfied about the non-tamperability and the fool-proof working of the EVMs," it said in a statement here.

The poll panel also said that the efficacy and reliability of EVMs have been upheld by several courts, including the Supreme Court.

The tamper-proof technological soundness of the EVM has been endorsed by a technical experts subcommittee appointed at the initiative of the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms in 1990, it added.

The statement came after Advani said that the country should revert to the ballot paper because the EVMs were not tamper-proof.

Advani told The Sunday Express that ballot papers should be reintroduced in the state assembly elections scheduled later this year unless the Election Commission is able to ensure foolproof functioning of EVMs.

The commission said it "will consider all the points raised and apprehensions expressed recently by various political leaders and individuals regarding EVMs and take all necessary measures to clear doubts about EVM elections in the country".

http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/print.aspx?artid=8QZ55Bxl5Gg=

 

http://sites.google.com/site/hindunew/electronic-voting-machines

Advani finds support from rivals on EVM issue

New Delhi (PTI) BJP leader L.K. Advani on Sunday found support from rivals CPI(M), JD(S) and LJP for his suggestion for re-introduction of ballot papers in the place of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

Mr. Advani has not cast any doubts on the results of the Lok Sabha elections but feels the country should revert to ballot papers starting with the Maharashtra Assembly elections in October and some more states later unless the Election Commission was able to ensure that EVMs were fool-proof and every possibility of malfunctioning has been taken care of.

However, the Congress has reacted saying it was an "astonishing" statement of a losing party which was in search of wrong answers for its loss.

There was no immediate comment from the Election Commission as CEC Naveen Chawla and EC S.Y. Qureshi are away on a trip abroad while the other Commissioner V.S. Sampath is in Hyderabad on leave.

However, Mr. Qureshi was earlier quoted as having said that the Commission was absolutely satisfied that the EVMs could not be manipulated and that a technical committee headed by former IIT-Madras Director P.V. Indiresan was in place to ensure this.

Recently, the controversy over the EVMs gained momentum when former Delhi Chief Secretary Omesh Saigal gave a presentation to the Commission as to how EVMs can be programmed to manipulate results, after which the Commission asked a Deputy Commissioner to probe the matter.

http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/holnus/001200907051883.htm

EVMs can be easily tweaked: Expert

5 Jul 2009, 0404 hrs IST, TNN

 

NEW DELHI: In a move that could have a far-reaching impact on how future elections are conducted in the country, the Election Commission of India (ECI) is veering round to the view that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) can be tampered with. 

Omesh Saigal, a 1964 batch IAS officer and alumnus of IIT Delhi, who is considered an expert on EVMs, gave a convincing presentation to the top EC officials on Friday morning.  

According to the sources, Saigal demonstrated with his software that by keying in a certain code number, one could ensure that every fifth vote cast in a particular polling booth goes in favour of a particular candidate or party.

 

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/EVMs-can-be-easily-tweaked-Expert/articleshow/4739375.cms

Scrap unconstitutional EVM: voter does NOT trust it.

The mode of voting in elections is by ballot assuring freedom to the voter. Any system should meet the objective criterion of trustworthiness including aspects of security, reliability, usability and accessibility.

EVMs used in India fail on all criteria simply because the voter is not assured that the EVM recorded his or her choice correctly.

Making the ballot anonymous is not an adequate justification for use of EVM. EC’s internal review by Indiresan Committee is NOT enough to reinforce the trust needed.

An investigation body like CBI should investigate how different EVM systems were used by EC in 2009 polls.

German Supreme Court has rightly declared EVM unconstitutional because the voter cannot understand the system and thus vitiates against the fundamental criterion of trustworthiness.

Let us hope the our politico’s raise to the level of national concern of citizens who have given to themselves a democratic Hindusthan.

Kalyanaraman

Advani’s comments on EVMs stretch of imagination: Congress

 

Posted By admin On July 5, 2009 @ 12:42 PM

New Delhi, July 5 (Inditop.com) The ruling Congress party Sunday dismissed as a “stretch of imagination” Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani’s comments that India should revert to the ballot paper for elections unless adequate safeguards are in place to guard against malfunctioning Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

Advani told The Sunday Express that ballot papers should be reintroduced in the state assembly elections scheduled later this year unless the Election Commission is able to ensure foolproof functioning of EVMs.

“We should revert to ballot papers unless the Election Commission is able to ensure that Electronic Voting Machines are foolproof and every possibility of their malfunctioning is taken care of,” Advani was quoted as saying.

However, Congress party spokesperson Manish Tiwari described the suggestion as a “stretch of imagination”.

“The concerns (about malfunctioning of EVMs) have been expressed over a period of time, but to go that far as to suggest that you should scrap Electronic Voting Machines and revert to voting by ballot – I think is a stretch of imagination,” Tiwari told a news channel.

“Mr. Quraishi, the election commissioner, has said that they have appointed an expert committee which went into the possibility of whether EVMs could be rigged, and the committee has come to a conclusion in the negative,” he added.

Tiwari said he preferred the poll panel’s stand on the issue, adding that “there needs to be a wider discussion and probe into the efficacy of EVMs”.

Sidharth Nath Singh, BJP spokesperson, meanwhile clarified his party’s stand on the matter.

“Mr. Advani has not referred to the 2009 elections being rigged, what he has said is because there have been a large number of complaints on the issue of malfunctioning of EVMs. The question is posed to the Election Commission to ensure that there are safeguards on EVMS, which if not possible – then the ballot paper is a right way and for that the government should go into a larger debate.”

http://www.inditop.com/politics/advanis-comments-on-evms-stretch-of-imagination-congress

 

The case against EVMs. Call for CBI inquiry to be completed in a month's time

Prof. Madhav Nalapat and Dr. Anupam Saraph deserve congratulations from every citizen of Hindusthan for their superb initiatives in starting a healthy debate (now also endorsed by Navin Chawla, CEC) on the important democratic process under the  Constitution.

I fully endorse the excellent road map for action drawn up by Nalapat and Saraph  and detailed at http://government.wikia.com/wiki/Case_to_ban_EVM 

This is a stellar contribution to keep democracy on track in Hindusthan. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

While the long-term processes and far-reaching reorganization and revamping of EC can continue to engage CEC and the Parliament, the internal review by Balakrishnan, Dy. Election Commissioner, alone is NOT enough.

There is an urgent need to get a time-bound focussed review done to ensure the credibility of the 2009 Lok Sabha polls and to establish beyond any reasonable doubt the legitimacy of the present government in power.

For this purpose, I suggest that CBI should be asked to conduct an inquiry on 1) the production and disposition of the new 200000 EVMs introduced with new programs of 'improvised features' of date/time stamping; and 2) how the systems were audited to ensure that they functioned as per CEC specifications. The 200000 EVMs are a part of the 13,60,000 EVMs used in the 2009 Lok Sabha poll. It is clear that two types of EVMs were deployed: 2,00,000 units with date/time stamp; the remaining 11,60,000 units without this improvised feature.

This is an essential step to ensure that the people do not lose confidence in the electoral process.

Here are the key reports justifying this demand for a CBI inquiry which should produce a report within a month's time under the direction of a Parliamentary Committee or of a Committee under the supervision of the Supreme Court.

See details at http://sites.google.com/site/hindunew/electronic-voting-machines

 

In Election 2009 held in April and May, an estimated 1.36 million EVMs were used in 828,000 polling booths across this vast country…

 

The Election Commission, according to Newaskar (General Manager, BEL), placed an order for 102,000 EVMs to BEL for the 2009 general election - all of which were supplied by January. The other company authorised by the Election Commission to manufacture EVMs is the Hyderabad-based Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) that has supplied 78,000 machines with the improvised features…

 

“However, the ones manufactured from 2007 onwards have improvised features like in-built clocks which record the exact time a ballot is cast,” Newaskar said…Vani Mittal, a second year graduation student of Delhi University, did not find using the EVM difficult at all when she voted for the first time in the assembly elections last year. 

http://blog.taragana.com/n/electronic-voting-machines-the-leitmotif-of-indian-democracy-86599/ 

The above excerpts are from a report by Azera Rehman (GAEA news) of 19 June 2009. 

In his letter to the CEC, Saigal alleged that the software written onto the EVMs has never been checked by the Election Commission ever since these machines were manufactured more than 6-7 years back.http://janamejayan.wordpress.com/

Deputy Election Commissioner Balakrishnan was asked to conduct the inquiry on the basis of a report handed over by Saigal to the CEC, along with the software he had developed to show how the e-voting machines could be rigged.

Saigal, who is an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), New Delhi alumni, demanded an urgent check of the programme that runs the EVMs used in elections since 2004. The demonstration showed that after just keying in a certain code, the EVMs put every fifth vote in favour of a certain candidate. In his letter to the CEC, Saigal alleged that the EVM software had not been checked by the EC since the machines were manufactured more than 6 to 7 years ago. 

His argued that the EC merely relied on the certificates provided by the manufacturers, the government-run Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL). He alleged that the two firms had subcontracted private parties who actually provided the certificates.

http://ia.rediff.com/www/news/2009/jul/04was-election-2009-rigged.htm

 

Kalyanaraman 5 July 2009

 

PMK petitions HC on EVM's
7/3/2009

Madras High Court returned a writ petition filed by Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) President G K Mani seeking direction to the Election Commission of India to forbear the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) in future elections.

A Division Bench Comprising Justice D Murugesan and Justice K Venkatraman directed petitioner to alter his prayer and submit the petition afresh.

In his petition, Mr Mani submitted that the EVMs could be tampered with by anybody. 

It was tampered with in Tamil Nadu in the last Parliament Elections held in May, he claimed.

The petitioner further claimed that an expert committee had proved the malfunctioning of the EVMs. 

In his main prayer, the petitioner sought the court to direct the Election Commission to forbear the use of EVMs in future elections In his interim prayer, the petitioner pleaded the court to appoint an expert committee to ascertain the functioning of the EVMs and obtain its report. 

The court should direct the Election Commission not to use EVMs till the report was submitted to it, he prayed.

When the matter came up for hearing, the judges wondered how to pass orders on two different prayers. 

They directed the petitioner counsel to make changes to the prayers and submit a single prayer and file the petition afresh.

The Bench also clubbed the matter along with similar petition filed by Desia Munnetra Dravidar Kazhagam (DMDK) led by Actor Vijayakanth and posted the case to July 31 for further hearing.

 

http://www.indlawnews.com/Newsdisplay.aspx?ff553f54-3593-4c95-bc31-0aef8aed82c6

 

PMK moves court on 'faulty' EVMs

4 Jul 2009, 0611 hrs IST, TNN

 

CHENNAI: The Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) has moved the Madras high court seeking an opportunity to demonstrate that the electronic voting machines (EVM) could be manipulated and that poll results were doctored to suit the ruling party. 

Justice M Jaichandren, before whom the public interest writ petition of PMK president GK Mani came up for hearing on Friday, adjourned the matter to July 9. 

Mani, noting that the PMK's similar offer to the makers of the EVMs The Electronic Corporation of India Limited and the Bharat Electronics Limited has not evoked any replied from the companies, said the party was ready to demonstrate the pliability of EVMs before an expert committee.  

Noting that even developed countries like Europe, Germany and the USA had reverted to the ballot paper method, the PMK leader said EVMs were not completely tamper-proof or fool-proof. 

While in the ballot paper system the voter could physically verify and ensure that his vote had gone to the particular candidate, the EVMs give out only a beep sound. There is no visual proof, he added.  

Citing the recent general elections, Mani said ruling parties at the centre and the state had indulged in all sorts of illegalities to snatch a victory.

 

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-4736631,prtpage-1.cms

Advani has doubts about EVM, wants ballot papers back

Suman K Jha Posted online: Sunday , Jul 05, 2009 at 0409 hrs        

 

New Delhi : BJP leader L.K. Advani has demanded the reintroduction of ballot papers in elections, beginning with the Maharashtra Assembly elections in October, and three other states later this year.

“We should revert to ballot papers unless the Election Commission is able to ensure that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are foolproof and every possibility of their malfunctioning is taken care of,” Advani told The Sunday Express here on Saturday.

While the Election Commission, during the recent general elections, once toyed with the idea of using ballot papers instead of EVMs (essentially due to large number of independent candidates in states like Tamil Nadu), this is the first time that a mainstream political party has raised questions over the reliability of EVMs.

Citing the instances of Germany (which has banned electronic voting altogether) and the US (which has elaborate guidelines for voting through EVMs), Advani stressed that “no one was raising any questions like rigging or malpractices in the elections”, but larger questions about the “possibility of EVMs’ malfunctioning...must be addressed”.

Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi, however, said the “poll panel was absolutely satisfied that EVMs couldn’t be manipulated” and that a technical committee headed by former IIT-Madras director, P.V. Indiresan, appointed by a parliamentary sub-committee, was in place, “to ensure this”.

After the recent elections, some state units of the BJP had levelled allegations of “malpractices through EVMs”. The issue also figured in a meeting of the BJP’s newly-elected MPs last month.

The debate over the possibility of EVMs’ malfunctioning was reignited with former Delhi chief secretary Omesh Saigal claiming that “rigging of EVMs was very much possible” and that a programme written by a junior programmer showed that the final results could vary “if the pre-programmed code number was keyed in into the machine”.

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/485248/

http://government.wikia.com/wiki/Case_to_ban_EVM 

 

The case for banning EVMs

 

Annexure I lists out the various lacunae in the entire electronic voting process. It highlights the various vulnerabilities that result from the existing technology- not just the political and operational process. These vulnerabilities result from the public databases, the private databases, the EVMs, the mechanics of tracking votes using technology, the secrecy of the process and the reform agenda.

 

Annexure II lists out the various facts and artifacts that resulted during the 2009 Election for the 14th Lok Sabha in each of these areas and highlight the failure to ensure the transparency, verifiability and fidelity of the process.

 

Annexure III explains the inability to distinguish human votes from machine votes thus not being able to certify that the votes polled by a candidate as being the votes cast by voters for the candidate.

 

Annexure IV lists a few of the many ways in which machine votes may be cast by an EVM.

 

Annexure V lists some of the grounds for rejection of EVM’s in other countries.

 

Annexure VI highlights the absence of any agenda to address any of the concerns raised here in the reform agenda.

 

From all of these there is not just an adequate, but overwhelming case to ban the EVMs.

 

Can EVMs subvert elections?  -- Rajeev Srinivasan

 

July 3, 2009

Reposting on wanderlust’s suggestion. The full text is appended below, and here is a link to where the pdf can be downloaded from: http://rajeev.posterous.com/can-electronic-voting-machines-subvert-electi

This was a survey as of Jun 20th, and subsequent revelations have been explosive: someone actually has demonstrated a Trojan Horse as described here, on Jul 3rd. There is virtually no doubt that EVMs can be mucked with. Whether they weremucked with is the subject of further research.

Happy American Independence Day, indeed :-)

Can Electronic Voting Machines subvert elections?

By Rajeev Srinivasan[1]

“The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which all other rights are protected. To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery.” – Thomas Paine, Dissertation on First Principles of Government, 1795

“Those who cast the votes decide nothing, those who count the votes decide everything”

“The first stage of fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merge of State and corporate power” – Benito Mussolini

1.      Abstract

Are India’s election results an accurate reflection of the will of the people? Or is it possible that the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) that are deployed in large numbers in India’s elections can be manipulated to subvert the voters’ intent? If that is the case, it would be a serious matter, because that would reduce India’s democracy, of which most Indians are so proud, to a charade. In this essay, we consider the ways in which EVMs could have been used to defraud the Indian voter in 2009. We emphasize that this essay is only about the possibility of fraud; it is beyond the scope of this note and will take further analysis and research to demonstrate actual fraud, if such existed.

1.      Introduction

A number of elections around the world have been condemned for various levels of fraud, misdemeanor and felony over the years. Undoubtedly, some of the criticism is well-deserved (for instance, the routine instances of 100% voter turnout in certain totalitarian countries). In some cases, it appears elections were “stolen” though manipulation of the vote tally, thus, in effect, perverting the “will of the people”, that cornerstone of a genuine democratic, republican regime.

Although some of the most egregious examples have been in developing countries, for instance Zimbabwe in 2008[i] and Mexico in 2006[ii], the one that has got the most attention was the US Presidential election in 2004, and there is a website[iii]devoted to the idea that John Kerry was defeated by George W Bush through explicit and subtle fraud[iv]. It is also widely believed that Al Gore was defeated in 2000 through manipulation and fraud. It is ironic that the Americans, who lecture everyone else about free and fair elections, should have – if the critics are right – suffered some of the worst outrages against democracy. Intriguingly, this has made them more, not less, allergic to EVMs.

Let us now fast forward to 2009. The recent elections in Iran, which allowed President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad to retain power, have been roundly condemned by the western media[v] as fraudulent, although they have not explained how the alleged fraud was committed: it is not known if it involved EVM fraud. Most of the criticism is based on two factors: a) the extraordinary margin of victory (two-thirds majority, when all the opinion polls had predicted a tight race), and b) the massive public protests.

While the western media’s desire for democracy is admirable, their moral indignation would probably have been far more muted if their preferred candidate, Mir-Hossein Moussavi, had won. Iranians with long memories remember the CIA-engineered coup that overthrew the legitimately-elected Mohammed Mossadeq in 1953 in order to control Iran’s oil.

The allegations in the western media that there was ‘fraud’ in the Iranian elections[vi],[vii] are based on circumstantial evidence – that “it was a landslide”, and “opposition polls suggested that he [Mr. Moussavi], not Mr. Ahmedinejad, was the one with the commanding lead.”

This is in interesting contrast with India’s April-May 2009 general election. The entire spectrum of local media had projected a tight race, and given the UPA a narrow lead. But in the event the UPA was declared a landslide winner; this discrepancy was not commented upon with the same fervor by the western media. This leads to the conclusion that their preferred candidate won, and therefore the military-industrial-media complex in the west saw no reason to complain.

Remarkably, however, a UPA minister, Glubam Nabi Azad, Congress general secretary in charge of Orissa, has alleged that there was voting machine fraud in that state.[viii] This raises the question:  if Orissa suffered, why would the rest of the country not have been subject to fraud as well?

Circumstantial evidence suggests that there might have been a limited number of constituencies in which fraud was perpetrated. For instance, some MPs had victories that were practically miraculous: exit polls suggested they would lose, they were trailing badly during the counting, but there was a last-minute reprieve for them. In other cases, areas that were strongholds for one party mysteriously chose the other side. In some other cases, the losing parties could not account for the erosion of their committed support, wherein tens of thousands of their loyal votes apparently failed to materialize. Admittedly, none of this is proof of actual EVM fraud, however, unless further research demonstrates it.

Regrettably, the history of voting machines has been checkered at best. The fundamental problem is twofold: one, that there is no easy way of formally verifying and certifying them, and two, that there are increasingly resourceful hackers who can circumvent any simple-minded security schemes implemented by election officials. It is suicidal to repose an absurd amount of trust in them, as seems to be the norm in India.

1.      EVMs around the world

There is a veritable tsunami of negative reports about Electronic Voting Machines from all over the world. There is no country in which EVMs have been welcomed so enthusiastically as they have been in India, and perhaps this is with good reason. Hardly any major developed country uses EVMs to any extent: indeed, despite the fuss over “hanging chads” and other arcana in their 2000 elections, even Americans who are partial to technological solutions have resisted the siren-song of voting machines after due consideration.

Here is a sample of the concerns raised about EVMs from a variety of perspectives:

United States (data from www.electionfraud2004.org and others as indicated):

In April 2004, California banned 14,000 EVMs because the manufacturer (Diebold Election Systems) had installed uncertified software that had never been tested, and then lied to state officials about the machines. The machines were decertified and criminal prosecution initiated against the manufacturer.[ix]

In the 2004 Presidential elections, in Gahanna, Ohio, where only 638 votes were cast, Bush received 4,258 votes to Kerry’s 260

A study by UC Berkeley’s Quantitative Methods Research Team reported that irregularities associated with EVMs may have awarded 130,000 – 260,000 votes to Bush in Florida in 2004

There have at least the following bills in the US legislature, all of which were the result of perceived problems with EVMs. (It is not known if any of them has passed; HR = House of Representatives, the lower house, and S = Senate, the upper house):

HR 550: Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2005

HR 774 and S 330: Voting Integrity and Verification Act of 2005

HR 939 and S 450: Count Every Vote Act of 2005

HR 533 and S 17: Voting Opportunity and Technology Enhancement Rights Act of 2005

HR 278: Know your Vote Counts Act of 2005

HR 5036: Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act of 2008

In 2006, a team of Princeton University computer scientists studied Diebold Election Systems EVMs, and concluded that it was insecure and could be “installed with vote-stealing software in under a minute”, and that the machines could transmit viruses from one to another during normal pre- and post-election activity[x]. Diebold, now Premier Election Systems, is the largest US manufacturer of EVMs

In 2006, computer scientists[xi] from Stanford University, the University of Iowa and IBM suggested that Diebold had “included a ‘back door’ in its software, allowing anyone to change or modify the software… A malicious individual with access to the voting machine could rig the software without being detected”

Germany (2009)

The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany declared EVMs unconstitutional[xii]

The Netherlands (2006)

The ministry of the interior withdrew the licenses of 1187 voting machines because it was proven that one could eavesdrop on voting from up to 40 meters away. The suit was brought by a Dutch citizen’s group named “We Do Not Trust Voting Machines”[xiii]. This group demonstrated that in five minutes they could hack into the machines with neither voters nor election officials being aware of it.

Finland (2009)

The Supreme Court declared invalid the results of a pilot electronic vote in three municipalities.[xiv]

United Kingdom (2007)

The Open Rights Group declared it could not express confidence in the results for the areas that it observed[xv]. Their report cites “problems with the procurement, planning, management and implementation of the systems concerned.”

Ireland (2006)

Ireland embarked on an ambitious e-voting scheme, but abandoned it due to public pressure[xvi]

Brazil (2006)

There were serious discrepancies in the Diebold systems predominantly used in Brazil’s 2006 elections[xvii]

India

2004 General Elections: allegations that good old booth-capturing was taking place[xviii] in Bihar, even with the spanking-new EVMs

2009 General Elections: Subramanian Swamy alleged in April 2009 that a group of people who had been convicted in the US for hacking bank accounts and credit cards had been recruited by a certain political party to possibly rig the elections.

The Shiv Sena alleged that EVM malfunction caused its candidate Mohan Rawale to lose in South Mumbai. Said Rawale: “I wonder how I got only 5 votes from an area that is a Shiv Sena stronghold”[xix]

Journalist Cho Ramaswamy discussed how in MDMK leader Vaiko’s constituency, Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu, “while counting, the votes increased by 23,000 more than the polled votes”[xx]

An ongoing debate and additional new information is posted on S Kalyanaraman’s live blog[xxi] which is updated often; a detailed analysis is at Senthil Raja’s blog[xxii] of May 24th

A report[xxiii] in Newsweek magazine provides more details about how people around the world are rejecting electronic voting. The Open Rights Group has provided many examples and more details about some of the above in its paper “Electronic Voting: A challenge to democracy?”[xxiv]. Their conclusion: “E-voting threatens the integrity of our elections and we oppose its use in our democracy.”

1.      Possible ways of manipulating EVMs

Are EVMs particularly bad, compared to the old paper ballot box? The answer has to be a resounding “yes”. The reason is that paper ballots, despite their many flaws[xxv], have one sterling characteristic: there is an audit trail, an actual piece of paper exists, and a recount, while laborious and time-consuming, is possible.

EVMs have the great advantage of quick tabulation of results. But the problem is fundamental: trust. Since the vote cast does not result in anything palpable, but only creates a digital impulse, it is hard to verify the accuracy of the result, and therefore it is hard to trust.

Digitized data is malleable and easily manipulated: indeed, this is one of its principal attractions in ordinary computing. For instance, a digital photograph can be enhanced, edited, color-corrected, cleaned-up, brightened, the background changed, and otherwise modified in ways that a traditional analog (most film is analog) photograph cannot be. Unfortunately, this very malleability is a problem when it comes to voting, because it is hard to *prove* that the voting data has not been tampered with. It would be hard to detect any manipulation unless expensive and thorough preventive steps are taken.

Data can be manipulated at almost every step on the way: during vote, in transit, or during counting. None of this is easily detected because the EVM is presented to the user as a typical “black box” which is deemed unalterable and tamper-proof. In other words, the hardware and software installed, are deemed trustworthy by edict, and not based on formal verification by a third party.

This trust is misplaced. Embedded systems – that is computers that run just their installed programs (for instance in a watch or a microwave oven), rather than a computer like a PC which an end user can add programs to and run in a manner he pleases – are notoriously prone to error, which is why the Y2K bug was considered so dangerous: there was concern that embedded systems in planes, banks, electric utilities, transportation systems, etc. would fail catastrophically. This is the reason why some critical systems (eg. control systems for nuclear power plants) continue to be electro-mechanical rather than digital.

There are several technical reasons why embedded systems are tricky: one is that the software used in these systems (which have limited memory, unlike capacious PCs) is tightly-written machine-language code, which is hard for humans to comprehend, unlike code that is written in a high-level language such as Java or C++.

Secondly, the software may not be adequately tested taking into account the various extreme cases of data it might encounter. This can be compared to a 1994 problem with Intel’s Pentium chips[xxvi]: they were found to produce erroneous results in some simple arithmetic calculations. When unanticipated data is entered, the system may behave erratically.

The above examples pertain to inadvertent errors; similarly, manufacturing faults in the hardware may result in malfunctions. More sinister issues arise from malicious and intentional tampering. The programs used are proprietary and not open for inspection, unlike, say, open source programs which any individual can test out.

There are several ways in which the fraud can be perpetrated with EVMs[xxvii]:

Tampering with the software to add malicious code to alter vote totals or favor any candidate

Tampering with the hardware of the machine to alter vote totals or favor any candidate

Intentional mis-configuration of the ballot design to misidentify a candidate’s party

Abusing the administrative access to the machine by election officials might also allow individuals to vote multiple times

The most obvious way to add malicious code is to create a Trojan Horse[xxviii], a program that has an undocumented back-door entry, known only to the writers of the program. Under normal circumstances, the program will function as specified, in this case correctly capturing the voter’s choice. However, the Trojan Horse can be triggered off by some specific mechanism, such as by pressing a particular sequence of buttons on the EVM. Before or during the voting process, some individual can trigger off the Trojan Horse, which becomes active. This individual could well be a party cadre who is a legitimate voter in that constituency.

The Trojan could then work some algorithms – for instance, it could assign every twelfth vote to the desired party, regardless of which blue button the voter pressed. Algorithms can be quite sophisticated, giving a percentage of the vote that is not suspiciously high (90%) but plausible – say 42% in a constituency with a multi-cornered contest.

Furthermore, the Trojan Horse could be programmed to erase itself when the EVM is turned off at the end of the day’s voting. It may leave no trace of its erstwhile existence. Trojan Horse programs are well-known among the hacker community, and are not particularly difficult to write. But they are fiendishly difficult to find and eradicate.

How does the Trojan Horse program get embedded in the machine in the first place? One of the objections to this scenario is the question as to how the malicious code is introduced into the EVMs in all 828,804 polling stations? Wouldn’t this level of tampering require the connivance of hundreds of thousands of people in the polling booths?

In fact, no. This can be done at a single point, in the factory, where an innocuous ‘update’ of the software can be infected with the rogue add-on. Only one or two people need to ever know about this, if they are well-placed within the factory[xxix] or in the election machinery. In this context, the previous UPA government’s selection of Naveen Chawla as Chief Election Commissioner, despite allegations of bias against him[xxx], looks dubious.

A startling new revelation suggests how this not-so-innocent ‘update’ could have been performed in 2009. Writing in the blog taragana.com[xxxi] on June 19th, Azera Rahman provides the following information from Amol Newaskar, general manager of BEL in Bangalore. Here is the quote, verbatim:

“However, the ones manufactured from 2007 onwards have improvised [sic] features like in-built clocks which record the exact time a ballot is cast” Newaskar said. “Not just that, the EVM also records the exact time when the whole balloting process starts and when the last vote is cast. It gives an hourly update of the number of votes cast, and if there is any unusual trend in the process, it can be easily detected. Thus, the whole process becomes tamper-proof”, he added… The Election Commission, according to Newaskar, placed an order for 182,000 EVMs to BEL for the 2009 general election – all of which were supplied by January. The other company authorized by the Election Commission to manufacture EVMs is the Hyderabad-based Electronics Corporation of India (ECIL) that has supplied 78,000 machines with the improvised [sic] features…”

This could well be the smoking gun. The ‘improvised’ code in the 260,000 new EVMs could well hold the key. Exactly what was changed? Does this possibly have an embedded Trojan? Has any independent verification authority certified the new code? Doesn’t this new code invalidate the Indiresan Committee report of 2006? Can the instances of suspected fraud be correlated with polling stations where the new EVMs were deployed? Is the new data collected as described above stored in a non-reprogrammable and permanent manner? How can researchers get access to it?

A second objection[xxxii] is procedural: how is the Trojan Horse triggered? The assignment of the buttons to parties is done late in the game, so that it would require at least one person to keep track of the buttons and trigger the Trojan Horse in each of the 800,000+ polling stations – and it is hard to keep a secret that so many people know. Once again, the answer is a no. First of all, there is no need to subvert every one of the polling stations, it would be sufficient to concentrate on only a few constituencies and the associated polling booths.

Second, another possibility is that the Trojan is the norm, and it will run by default *unless* the triggering is done, in which case it will become dormant. More alarmingly, there is the possibility of remote control, by substituting radio-aware chips for the normal chips in the voting machines. According the Election Commission’s[xxxiii] FAQ, “the microchip used in EVMs is sealed at the time of import. It cannot be opened and any rewriting of program can [sic] be done by anyone without damaging the chip.” This implies that the chip is “imported” from somewhere, and any number of manufacturers especially in China have mastered the art of making fake chips. Why isn’t there transparency about the chip and its manufacturers?

Imagine that the new chip that was swapped in has a radio capability. That means it can be controlled by a cellular signal or other radio signal. For instance, it might be possible to send a signal via a standard GSM or CDMA cellular handset, if the chip is compatible. Thus, it may be possible for a single person to drive around to all the polling booths in a constituency, and, from outside, trigger the Trojan Horse. This drastically reduces the number of people who need to be involved! It does not have be a low-level party cadre, it can be the district head, for instance. Thus, if only 50 constituencies were tampered with, only 50 highly trusted people need to know about the whole operation.

Radio-aware chips are common, especially now that RFID (radio-frequency identity tagging) is becoming widespread. There is the interesting case of the Iraqi Air Force and its Hewlett-Packard printers. Unbeknownst to the Iraqis, American officials swapped out the standard printer chips with chips that were additionally GPS-aware and could broadcast their location. When the printers ended up in Iraqi anti-aircraft batteries, a GPS satellite passing by overhead could accurately pinpoint the location of the printers, allowing warplanes to target them. HP has also announced[xxxiv] another chip “the size of a grain of rice” that can store 100 pages of text and swap data via wireless.

The examples above only consider the possible fraud before and during voting; similar scenarios can be developed while the machines are in transit, and while the counting is going on. These possibilities merely scratch the surface; undoubtedly, resourceful minds have come up with even better ways of doing the deed. Here are in fact some of the specifics discovered in the Brazil case:

Problems from the Brazil case referred to above:

1.       

1.      The boot system may be modified by software

2.      It is possible to modify the internal programs by external digital methods

3.      The OS (Windows CE) does not possess strong resources of security

4.      The system of physical seals is insufficient and the case is easy to open, without destroying anything

5.      It is possible to reconfigure the security resources by means of jumpers on the motherboard

6.      There exists an internal socket for multimedia memory cards

7.      The external button labeled “battery test” can be used for attacks set off by a voter

A query to a computer science researcher in the US produced the following response which I quote in its entirety:

Shipping bug free software is proven to be impossible and it is found that in practice it is significantly harder to produce software without any security holes than it is to find and exploit a bug[xxxv]. This raises significant questions about reliability of electronic voting machines. Malicious logic can be easily hidden by a “company insider” within the code, such that the machine records votes incorrectly to favor one candidate over another. While a study conducted by the researchers at the Rice University elucidated the ease with which voting systems could be infected by a Trojan horse[xxxvi], it is found that the Web sites and databases of major corporations are regularly hacked. Often a well-designed Trojan horse can tell when it’s being tested and they may appear only for brief instants of time, while completely disappearing at other times[xxxvii]. A number of methods for hiding Trojans in voting machines have been suggested ranging from as simple as misleading documentation to burying the malicious code deep in subroutines, macro expansions, header files, conditional compilations or making changes directly to object or machine code thereby bypassing the human readable source code completely[xxxviii].

Is it possible to reduce the probability of EVM fraud? Yes, one way is through deep testing, although that is still not entirely foolproof:

Parallel testing, where an independent set of results is compared against the original machine results. During election, Statistically significant numbers of voters need to verify that their intended vote matches the electronic and paper votes

Statistically significant number of voting machines can be randomly selected from polling stations and used for testing. This can be defeated by Trojan Horses

Logic and accuracy testing before elections

Independent software verification and certification. Can use code signatures to ensure software is identical. Open source may also be a good idea

1.      Process improvements needed

At the heart of the problem is a system issue: the EVMs are a useful technology that has been thrown into the chaotic election process without due thought, understanding or introspection. They are like guns: they can be used well or they can be used badly. Throwing technology at a problem does not solve it. On the contrary, the EVM makes the process more opaque and more easily subverted. A full system review needs to be done before India continues with EVMs in future elections.

Writing in the IEEE Computer magazine of May[xxxix] 2009, respected computer scientist and networking expert Andrew Tanenbaum suggested that it is necessary to take “a system view, incorporating a trustworthy process based on open source software, simplified procedures, and built-in redundant safeguards that prevent tampering.”

Tanenbaum outlines a nine-step process that he believes is necessary as an adjunct to EVMs, and necessary to make the process fool-proof. These are quite elaborate, with fool-proof encryption, and in summary they are:

1.       

1.      Generate and distribute precinct master keys (for cryptography)

2.      Create voter registration records

3.      Mail proof of registration to voters

4.      Prepare voting machines (by hashing the voting list with the precinct’s public key[xl] and writing onto a read-only medium)

5.      Assemble key pairs at precinct (for decryption of the voting list)

6.      Check in voters (they have to bring in the card they received in the mail)

7.      Have voters cast their votes

8.      Tabulate votes

9.      Publish results

It is clear that in the Indian case, none of the essential cryptography was done, and as per Tanenbaum, that would mean the EVMs are not likely to produce reliable results.

1.      PILs in Indian courts

There have been a number of cases (usually Public Interest Litigation) filed in Indian courts about the possibility of EVM fraud. Retired computer science professor Satinath Choudhary[xli] claimed that “producing doctored EVMs is child’s play” as early as 2004. The Linux Journal[xlii] at the time suggested that the fact that details of the hardware and software in the EVMs had not been published and the source code not made available meant citizens “could not be assured of the fairness of the EVM”. According to Choudhary, the Supreme Court had ruled in his PIL as follows: “Heard the petitioner, who is appearing in-person. In case the petitioner files any representation, the Election Commission may consider his suggestions. With the observations made above, the writ petition stands disposed of.” However, the Election Commission did nothing to take into account his concerns and suggestions. In his followup, Choudhary suggests a number of steps that should be taken.

Banwarilal B. Purohit vs. Election Commission of India was filed in 2004 in the Maharashtra High Court at Nagpur. The deposition of Ravi Visvesvaraya Prasad, an electrical and computer engineer, provides substantial insight into the ways in which EVMs can be manipulated.[xliii]

Shailendra Pradhan filed a PIL in 2009 in the Madhya Pradesh High Court at Jabalpur, with the Election Commission and the manufacturers as respondents, suggesting that the lack of a voter-verifiable audit system made EVMs faulty and that there was no basis for the belief that the embedded programs are tamper-proof, among other claims. [xliv]

The PMK, which suffered a shock defeat in Virudhunagar constituency, has filed[xlv] an appeal to the Election Commission and will file a PIL if the appeal to the EC fails.

The DDMK has filed a PIL in Madras High Court against EVMs.[xlvi]

1.      Next steps

In order to give voters and observers a certain sense of comfort that they can indeed depend on the EVMs, a number of steps need to be taken urgently. First of all, there is the Expert Committee Report[xlvii] on EVMs. The report considers a number of possible fraud scenarios, including the tampering of various parts of the system. In all the cases considered, the report found that the EVM has sufficient safeguards to ensure fair polling. But the Report does not go beyond a ‘black box’ analysis, and does not give any information about the reliability or otherwise of the operating system used, the circuit boards, or the chipset, not to mention the embedded software. This report also does not necessarily respond to all the concerns raised by Tanenbaum, Choudhary and Prasad above, it would be a good first step to analyze the EVMs in light of this new set of concerns.

Secondly, the new and ‘improved’ 2009 EVMs reported by Newaskar are obviously outside the ambit of the 2006 report, and so it is necessary to constitute a new Committee to investigate them.

Thirdly, the 2006 report says on Page 4: “a log is maintained of all key presses”. This is intended as a permanent record of all activity on the EVM itself, and it is claimed that the record is tamper-proof and cannot be erased electronically and that it is available for an extended period.

Therefore, researchers should acquire via a Right-To-Information petition the complete logs of all EVMs (including the time-stamp data Newaskar refers to with the new EVMs) in at least one sample constituency where they suspect fraud. If the log is a permanent and tamper-proof record as claimed, a painstaking analysis of the log using data-mining techniques should indicate the presence or absence of fraud. If this exercise is done over the entire constituency, not on a sampling basis but on a survey basis, it would be possible to get a complete picture of whether the EVMs functioned as advertized.

Once this step is completed, if suspicions persist, a random sample of the logs from a statistically valid sample of EVMs from around the country needs to be taken, and the same kind of detailed data-mining analysis performed on them to see if there are any suspicious patterns of keystrokes emerging: for instance, are there sequences that look like triggers for Trojan Horses? Are there suspiciously uniform patterns of voting?

The next step would be to scrutinize the actual source code of the software that is installed in the systems. Given the gravity of the function performed by them, there is no room for opaqueness: the public has a right to know exactly what the code contains, and the manufacturer should be forced to reveal it. The code, and its embedded version, must be given to independent labs for thorough testing to see if there are anomalies. The same is true of the hardware, including the chip as well as the schematics of the EVM itself.

Another, parallel, step would be to build an actual proof-of-concept on the EVM of how a Trojan Horse can be implemented with the kinds of characteristics described above. The manufacturers of the EVM should provide complete technical details of the chips, along with any firmware and software used, as well as sample chips and EVM devices to independent testing labs so that they could demonstrate Trojan Horse on the actual EVM devices.

In light of all of the above, it is clear that there is reasonable doubt about the reliability of EVMs. A PIL should be filed in the Supreme Court to postpone any further use of EVMs until a proper audit and verification has been performed on them.

Finally, the kinds of procedural checks and balances recommended by Tanenbaum and other experts need to be incorporated into the system before another election in India that depends entirely on EVMs.

1.      Conclusion

Given the poor experience with Electronic Voting Machines worldwide, it is difficult to believe that India’s EVMs are somehow far superior to those used elsewhere, and somehow immune to fraud. This has to be demonstrated. A priori, the evidence suggests that India’s EVMs are susceptible to fraud in a number of dimensions.

It appears that both technical and procedural measures must be put in place to allay the concerns about the reliability, or lack thereof, of electronic voting machines.

It is entirely possible that the election machinery has taken every possible step in good faith, but that clever criminals have subverted the system for their own ends. Improved transparency, and public scrutiny of the system, including an analysis of ways in which it can be made more secure are urgent and imperative before any future elections.


[1] Rajeev Srinivasan is a management consultant in strategy, innovation and energy. He has spent over twenty years in the computer industry, mostly in the Silicon Valley, in engineering and management roles. His columns appear inrediff.com, The Pioneer, The New Indian Express and Mint. He also teaches periodically at various IIMs.


[i] “Opposition vows to fight Zimbabwe election fraud”, Reuters, Sun Mar 23, 2008http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSL236998620080323

[ii] “Fraud video claim in Mexico poll”, BBC, Tue Jul 11, 2006

[iii] www.electionfraud2004.org, which the opening quote from Thomas Paine has been taken

[iv] “Was the 2004 Election Stolen?”, Robert F Kennedy Jr, Rolling Stone, Jun 1, 2006

[v] “Landslide or Fraud? The Debate Online Over Iran’s Election Results”, New York Times, June 13, 2009http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/13/landslide-or-fraud-the-debate-online-over-irans-election-results/

[vi] “Neither Real  nor Free”, Editorial, New York Times, Jun 15, 2009

[vii] “Iran Elections: Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and Hossein Mousai both claim victory”, UK Telegraph, Jun 12, 2009

[viii] “EVMs ‘manipulated’ in Orissa polls, claims Azad, Union Health Minister”, IANS, 18 Jun 2009

[ix] Wikipedia entry on “Electronic voting”

[x] Wikipedia entry on “Electronic voting”

[xi] “The Diebold Bombshell”, OpEdNews.com, 23 July 2006

[xii] German Federal Constitutional Court, Press Release No. 19/2009, of 3 Mar 2009

[xiii] “Dutch government scraps plans to use voting computers in 35 cities including Amsterdam”, AP, 30 Oct 2006

[xiv] Wikipedia entry on “Electronic voting”

[xv] “ORG Election Report highlights problems with the voting technology used”, 20 Jun 2007

[xvi] “Are electronic voting machines tamper-proof?” Subramanian Swamy, The Hindu, 17 Jun 2009

[xvii] “Brazil: The Perfect Electoral Crime”, James Burk, Portland Indymedia Center, 21 Oct 2006, quoting Amilcar Brunazo Filho, www.votoseguro.org

[xviii] “On New Voting Machine, the Same Old Fraud”, New York Times, 27 Apr 2004

[xix] “Sena alleges EVM malfunction in South Mumbai”, Rediff.com, 16 May 2009

[xx] “Rahul could become a desirable leader”, Rediff.com, 19 May, 2009

[xxi] http://sites.google.com/site/hindunew/electronic-voting-machines

[xxii] http://psenthilraja.wordpress.com/2009/05/24/remote-controlling-evm-manufacturing-election-results/

[xxiii] “We Do Not Trust Machines”, Evgeny Morozov, Newsweek, 1 Jun, 2009

[xxiv] http://www.openrightsgroup.org/wp-content/uploads/org-evoting-briefing-pack-final.pdf

[xxv] According to the faq by the Election Commission at //eci.nic.faq/EVM.asp the great advantage of the EVM is speed of tabulating the results

[xxvi] “Ideas and Trends: The Chip on Intel’s shoulder”, New York Times, 18 Dec, 1994

[xxvii] Wikipedia entery on “Electoral fraud”

[xxviii] Obviously named after the mythological – and malicious — Trojan Horse the Greeks gifted to Troy. See the Wikipedia entry on “Trojan Horses”

[xxix] In the case of India, it is the BEL in Bangalore and ECIL in Hyderabad which produce the EVMs

[xxx] The outgoing Chief Election Commissioner made a suo moto recommendation that Naveen Chawla, Election Commissioner, should be removed, based on a report by the Shah Commission investigating the Emergency that indicted Chawla for having been ‘authoritarian and callous’ and for gross misuse of power. It declared that he was “unfit to hold any public office which demands an attitude of fair play and consideration for others”

[xxxi] “Electronic voting machines – the leitmotif of Indian democracy”, AzeraRahman, http://blog.taragana.com/n/electronic-voting-machines-the-leitmotif-of-indian-democracy-86599/

[xxxii] http://theoverlord.wordpress.com/2009/05/19/the-indian-electronic-voting-machines

[xxxiii] Ibid. eci.nic.faq/EVM.asp

[xxxiv] “Tiny wireless memory chip debuts”, BBC, 17 Jul, 2006

[xxxv] Bannet, J.; Price, D.W.; Rudys, A.; Singer, J.; Wallach, D.S., “Hack-a-vote: Security issues with electronic voting systems,” IEEE Security & Privacy, vol.2, no.1, pp. 32-37, Jan.-Feb. 2004.

[xxxvi] D. S. Wallach, “Electronic voting: Accuracy, accessibility and fraud.”, Report for Democratic National Committee.www.democrats.org/pdfs/ohvrireport/section07.pdf

[xxxvii] P. G. Neumann, “Security criteria for electronic voting,” 16th National Computer Security Conference, September, 1993

[xxxviii] Barbara Simons, “Who gets to count your vote? Computerized and internet voting,” talk at Spatial Cognition Research Center, 2003

[xxxix] “Trustworthy voting: from machine to system”, Nathanael Paul and Andrew S. Tanenbaum, IEEE Computer, May 2009

[xl] Public-key private-key systems of cryptography are essentially tamper-proof

[xli] “Winning elections made easy”, Satinath Choudhary, Indian Express, 19 Apr 2004. He was president, Better Democracy Forum, The Bronx, New York.

[xlii] “India’s electronic voting faces lawsuit over accountability”, Linux Journal, 3 May, 2004

[xliii] www.scribd.com/doc/15745499/EVMs-Supporting-Documents

[xliv] www.samarthbharat.com/files/evmpetition.pdf

[xlv] “PMK to move court against EVMs”, The Hindu, 14 Jun, 2009

[xlvi] “PIL to ban use of EVMs in future elections admitted in Madras High Court”, 26 May, 2009

[xlvii] www.scribd.com/doc/6794194/Expert-Committee-Report-on-EVM has the report dated Sep 2006, retrieved under RTI

http://rajeev2007.wordpress.com/2009/07/03/can-evms-subvert-elections-full-post/

Was Election 2009 rigged?

A Correspondent in New Delhi | July 04, 2009 | 10:35 IST

The Election Commission has now officially taken up the investigation of charges of rigging and fraud through the Electronic Voting Machines.

Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla is sitting over a major scandal of a possible massive rigging of elections by manipulation of software of the Electronic Voting Machines.

But for the charge levelled by a former Delhi chief secretary five years senior to him in the Indian Administrative Service cadre, Chawla would have rejected such claims of rigging.

Omesh Saigal, a 1964 batch IAS officer of the Union Territory, stunned him with a presentation to force him to order an inquiry into any possibility of such a rigging.

Chawla is himself a Union Territory cadre IAS of 1969 batch.

Deputy Election Commissioner Balakrishnan has been asked to conduct the inquiry on the basis of a report handed over by Saigal to the CEC, with a software he got developed to show how the elections can be rigged.

Saigal, who is an Indian Institute of Technology alumni, has demanded an urgent check of the programme that runs the EVMs used in elections since 2004.

He demonstrated with his software that its manipulation ensured that one has to just key in a certain code number and that will ensure every fifth vote cast in a particular polling booth goes in favour of a certain candidate.

In his letter to the CEC, Saigal alleged that the software written onto the EVMs has never been checked by the Election Commission ever since these machines were manufactured than 6-7 years back. 

His contention is that the EC merely relied on the certificates supplied by the manufacturers, the government-run BEL and ECIL. He alleged that these government firms had subcontracted private parties who actually provided these certificates.

"A public software audit of these machines from time to time, especially after and before an election, was a must to retain the credibility of the elections," Saigal affirmed, demanding that for the sake of transparency names and ownerships of these private companies must be disclosed, as also the details of the factories where they were actually manufactured. 

The records retained in the factories must also be immediately taken over by the EC to prevent any tampering and to facilitate an audit, he said.

He also pointed out how, after nearly two years of deliberation, Germany's Supreme Court ruled last March that e-voting was unconstitutional because the average citizen could not be expected to understand the exact steps involved in the recording and tallying of votes. Earlier, Ireland had given up e-voting for similar reasons. 

In the United States too, after considerable controversy the Federal Election Commission has come up in 2005 with detailed voting system guidelines which run into more than 400 pages.

Saigal said that it is noteworthy that not a single safeguard mentioned in these guidelines are in place in India.

Saigal said he had gone into all the safeguards built into the e-voting system in India with the help of former colleagues and IT experts and finds it both 'possible and plausible' to rig these machines and get a crooked result. 

"If the credibility of the electoral process is to be ensured, pre- and post-election checks of the software now fused onto the chips of the EVMs is a must," Saigal said.

It is not that all the 10 lakh odd machines used in the poll need to be checked. If we take only those booths where one of the candidates has received 75 per cent of the votes and in constituencies where the 
margin of the winner is less than 15,000, not more than 7,000-odd machines will need to be checked.

Saigal argued in his report that "if we cannot do this we must revert to the paper ballot."

"The need for a fair, free and transparent polling system transcends any reasons anyone may have to the contrary," he added.

 

July 12, 2009 

 

Debate

EVM is fallible, too many complaints
EVM should be replaced by ballot paper
By Biswabhusan Harichandan

When people are suspicious about the correct functioning of EVMs, which posed a danger to the democracy and the rights of the citizens, our keenness to continue with the system is deplorable. Should we not know that our votes are correctly recorded by the EVM?

The issue of rigging of election by Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) has been raised in different states of the country. In Orissa, all the political parties, except the ruling BJD, are accusing the latter of tampering with EVMs, which crowned them with unexpected victory. Before discussing the large scale rigging by EVMs in Orissa assembly election, I think it appropriate to deal with the important question whether the Electronic Voting Machines are tamper-proof? If there is any doubt in its integrity, what compels us to take recourse to this method instead of ballots papers. 

Arguments are being made that it is convenient and speedy. Can we sacrifice our valuable democratic rights for the sake of convenience? Is it not the most valuable right of a citizen to know as to in whose favour he casts his vote? I am of the firm view that the constitutional right of a citizen is being infringed by this method of voting where he has no scope to see or know in whose favour his vote has been recorded. It is not only unconstitutional, but this is violative of democratic norms and principles. The Supreme Court of Germany ruled in last March that e-voting was unconstitutional because the average citizen could not be expected to understand the exact steps involved in the recording and tallying of votes. It is not only Germany, almost all the developed countries of the world including US and other European countries have adopted ballot paper system as they have maximum respect for this valuable democratic rights of the citizens. But I fail to understand why we are adopting the said system when the countries whom we have followed in this respect have gone back to the ballot paper. 

It is noteworthy that Shri KS Sudarsan, former Sarsanghachalak of RSS, has also clearly said that various political parties successfully tampered with EVMs to remain in power in his speech in Cuttack. He further questioned why we are having this system when developed countries like US and Germany have gone back to ballot paper. The article of Dr Subramanian Swamy which has been published in Organiser, is very analytical and thought provoking. He has referred to the articles of very learned Professors of computer science, published in reputed Computer Engineering journals and popular international press which not only raised doubts about the integrity of Electronic Voting Machines but opined that it can be tampered with. Dr Swamy placed different materials and established that it is not tamper proof. In a country like ours where percentage of the illiterate people is almost more than half who are being guided by the Presiding Officers in the polling booths why we are interested to have these EVMs. Should we sacrifice these valuable democratic rights of ours to the dictates of some power hungry and unscrupulous rulers and their power brokers? 

When people are suspicious about the correct functioning of EVM which posed a danger to the democracy and the rights of the citizens, our keenness to continue with the system is deplorable. Should we not know that our votes are correctly recorded by the EVM? If a person is going to be hanged in a death sentence by a court of law, he is made known about the crime he has committed, but when you are hanging a candidate or his voter by your Electronic Voting Machine, you are not giving him any opportunity to know how his vote had been recorded. In my view this is a crime which should be get rid of. Some people argue that it is being tampered with should be proved. Direct proof or evidences are not always available in all crimes. In such cases the investigating agencies and the courts depend on circumstantial evidence to establish the case and to convict the criminals. 

In the last general elections in Orissa there was a massive tampering with the EVM to support the ruling party BJD and both direct and circumstantial evidences are also available to prove such tampering. In different parts of the state, in some poling booths direct proofs are available. In Nima Sahi booth of Cuttack there was re-polling on public pressure when it was detected that all votes are being recorded in BJD symbol though different buttons were pressed. Complaints from other places of the state were not entertained. The case of Bhubaneswar may be cited as an example. Here I made a hattrick by winning assembly elections continuously for 3 terms and in the election of 2000 and 2004 margin of winning was 96,000 and 86,000 respectively from my nearest rivals. Here is a constituency where only state level senior and reputed leaders are elected and no light weight has ever been entertained since Independence. This time it is an exception which the people of Bhubaneswar are not prepared to believe. All organisations like the employees’ organisations, the religious organisations like Satsangh of Thakur Anukulchandra, Satyasai, Srima, Trahi Achyut and others and community leaders of Marwari, Sikh, Gujarati, Bihari, Telgu and all others were campaigning for me. Everybody knows that in the development of the state and Bhubaneswar, I have a key role and I entertain all sorts of grievances of the people of all walks of life and find solution to them. Still then I have been defeated which the people of Bhubaneswar as well as Orissa are not prepared to believe. The people of Bhubaneswar believe that due to the tampering of EVM, this could be possible. 

It is not only in Bhubaneswar in all parts of the state specially in the second phase of election, candidates have become easy prey of Electronic Voting Machines. Entire state has been surprised to see how due to the tampering of EVM in the second phase the ruling BJD with its associates could capture 72 seats out of 77 where BJD alone has 64 seats. Was there any political super cyclone in its favour. People of Orissa know that there was no wave in favour of BJD in Orissa. Many candidates of BJD who had never dreamt of winning and were sure to lose in public estimation and according to their own versions have won the election with unbelievable margins of 25,000 to 60,000 votes. Some have now admited that it is due to the appropriate programming of EVM, they have won the election with such high margin. 

It is very significant to note that in all the three constituencies of Bhubaneswar and its two adjoining constituencies the BJP candidates have got about 11,000 votes each. How accurately the programming of the EVM has been made? In Bhubaneswar (Central) of mine it is 11486, Bhubaneswar (North) 11350, Bhubaneswar (Ekamra) 11070, Delang-Pipili 11170 and Jaydev 10800. Criminals destroy all the evidence after the crime is committed by them but in many cases they leave behind some proof unconsciously which become fatal for them. Due to over anxiety to smash the prospects of the BJP candidates in these constituencies, EVM programming has been made in such a way that each of them got about 11,000 votes. This type of circumstantial evidence will be very helpful in proving the case of tampering with EVM. 

Another significant feature of Orissa election is that all the seasoned and popular leaders of opposition specially BJP and Congress have been defeated. As it appears the ruling BJD has made a list of all these leaders and in a very planned way killed them by EVM. I feel the political parties should rise to save democracy from the clutches of EVM. 

(The writer is a former Law Minister, Government of Orissa.)

http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=299&page=15

 


http://www.rediff.com///news/2009/jul/04was-election-2009-rigged.htm

India’s e-elections rigged?

By janamejayan

R Rajagopalan
8:53 PM (14 minutes ago)
4 July 2009

ELECTIONS BE RIGGED THROUGH EVMs?

From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla is sitting over a major scandal of a possible massive rigging of elections by manipulation of software of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

But for the charge levelled by a former Delhi chief secretary five years senior to him in the IAS cadre, Chawla would have rejected such claims of rigging.

Omesh Saigal, a 1964 batch IAS officer of the Union Territory, stunned him with a presentation to force him to order an inquiry into any possibility of such a rigging. Chawla is himself a Union Territory cadre IAS of 1969 batch.

Deputy Election Commissioner Balakrishnan has been asked to conduct the inquiry on the basis of a report handed over by Saigal to the CEC, with a software he got developed to show how the elections can be rigged.

Saigal, who is an IIT alumni, has demanded an urgent check of the programme that runs the EVMs used in elections since 2004. He demonstrated with his software that its manipulation ensured that one has to just key in a certain code number and that will ensure every fifth vote cast in a particular polling booth goes in favour of a certain candidate.

He got interested to find out truth about a score of news reports in Press and on the net about candidates and parties expressing suspicion about the EVMs not recording the votes correctly as he wanted to ascertain whether these EVMs meet the standard of national integrity or safeguards the sanctity of the democracy.

In his letter to the CEC, Saigal alleged that the software written onto the EVMs has never been checked by the Election Commission ever since these machines were manufactured more than 6-7 years back.

His contention is that the EC merely relied on the certificates supplied by the manufacturers, the government-run BEL and ECIL. He alleged that these government firms had subcontracted private parties who actually provided these certificates.

“A public software audit of these machines from time to time, especially after and before an election, was a must to retain the credibility of the elections,” Saigal affirmed, demanding that for the sake of transparency names and ownerships of these private companies must be disclosed as also the details of the factories where they were actually manufactured.

The records retained in the factories must also be immediately taken over by the Commission to prevent any tampering and to facilitate an audit, he said.

He also pointed out how, after nearly two years of deliberation, Germany’s Supreme Court ruled last March that e-voting was unconstitutional because the average citizen could not be expected to understand the exact steps involved in the recording and tallying of votes. Earlier, Ireland had given up E-voting for similar reasons.

In the US too, after considerable controversy the Federal Election Commission has come up in 2005 with detailed voting system guidelines which run into more than 400 pages. Saigal said it is noteworthy that not any of the safeguards mentioned in these guidelines is in place in India.

Saigal said he had gone into all the safeguards built into the E-voting system in India with the help of former colleagues and IT experts and finds it both ‘possible and plausible’ to rig these machines and get a crooked result.

He says if the credibility of the electoral process is to be ensured, pre- and post-election checks of the software now fused onto the chips of the EVMs is a must.

It is not that all the 10 lakh and odd machines used in the poll need to be checked. If we take only those booths where one of the candidates has received 75 per cent of the votes and in constituencies where the margin of the winner is less than 15,000, not more than 7000-odd machines will need to be checked.

Saigal argues in his report that “if we cannot do this we must revert to the paper ballot.” The need for a fair, free and transparent polling system transcends any reasons anyone may have to the contrary, he added.
Saigal says he organised a mock poll on a laptop to demonstrate how the results can be scewed by inserting a numerical code which is so simple. Just press F2, followed by the number of the favoured candidate. The demo showed that this code can be keyed in at any stage, even at the time of the poll by any voter.

Those who attended the mock exercise included Ms Asa Das, retired Secretary, Government of India, K F Fabian, retired IFS officer and former ambassador, Ravi Kathpalia, ex-controller general of accounts, and S K Agnihotri and Dr Krishan Saigal, retired former chief secretaries of Assam.

Saigal says at first glance, it does appear that there are adequate safeguards in place, as is mentioned in the FAQs on the Election Commission website, Returning Officers manual and details given in the website of the manufacturer, BEL.

He, however, asserts in his letter to CEC that there are huge gaps in the safeguards. “Take the assurance of the manufacturer that ‘Programme codes once written and fused in this OTPROM (One Time Programmable Read Only Memory) cannot be read back or altered by anyone including the manufacturer’.

Does this mean that even the Election Commission, when it received the machines, did not check and has not checked since whether the programme fused in by the manufacturer did not have a secret code as a string like the one that we have prepared, Saigal asked. 

“If, as it seems, the EC it relying on the certificate given by the manufacturer, we have no protection whatsoever against the manufacturer itself preparing a program like the one prepared by the undersigned and fusing it onto the chip/circuit board,” he affirms.

Once the election process begins, the EC claims total transparency in all its actions. First of all the machines are taken out of storage and sent to the Districts. Thereafter, according to a Govt of India website, ‘….these machines are checked only by the engineers of the two PSUs before each election…..’

Saigal says it is not clear what this ‘checking’ is all about and whether these ‘engineers’ are under the control of the EC. They use some ‘equipment’ to prepare the machine by removing the result of the previous election and do not tamper or check the software chip in any way, the EC claims.

“If this is all they do, why they need to come at all: surely the result could be deleted by simply pressing a button, which any official of EC could do! It is like you and me calling on Microsoft engineers to come in every time we need to permanently delete some program from our desktops!”

The EC claims that among the safeguards is the fact that randomisation is done at many levels so that it is impossible to find out which particular machine will go to which particular booth. Moreover, the order in which candidates are going to be listed in the electoral roll is known only a few days before the poll; so it is not possible for someone to rig the EVM’s software to favour a particular candidate.

Saigal, however, contests it. He says it is easy to say that randomisation will be of no help if the software is tricked. As for the fact that order of candidates is decided only a few days before the poll, with a specially prepared software the poll can be rigged at the time of the poll by any voter, he points out. 

“No, these safeguards are mere cosmetics; what we really need is a fool-proof method of checking whether the software in any/all machines has been corrupted through lapse of time or deliberate tampering or was so corrupted in the first place,” the former Delhi chief secretary added.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

NEW DELHI: The Indian Election Commission (EC) could be sitting on a major election-rigging scandal, following a presentation on Fridayshowing how the software used in the electronic voting machines(EVMs) can be manipulated.

Omesh Saigal, an engineering graduate and former Delhi chief secretary, stunned the EC with a presentation showing that the software used in the EVMs can be manipulated to favour a particular party or candidate. Following the presentation, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Navin Chawla ordered an inquiry into the possibility of such rigging during the recently concluded elections in India and Indian-held Kashmir (IHK). 

Deputy Election Commissioner Balakrishnan was asked to conduct the inquiry on the basis of a report handed over by Saigal to the CEC, along with the software he had developed to show how the e-voting machines could be rigged.

Saigal, who is an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), New Delhi alumni, demanded an urgent check of the programme that runs the EVMs used in elections since 2004. The demonstration showed that after just keying in a certain code, the EVMs put every fifth vote in favour of a certain candidate. In his letter to the CEC, Saigal alleged that the EVM software had not been checked by the EC since the machines were manufactured more than 6 to 7 years ago. 

His argued that the EC merely relied on the certificates provided by the manufacturers, the government-run Bharat Electronics Limited(BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL). He alleged that the two firms had subcontracted private parties who actually provided the certificates.

http://www.dailytim es.com.pk/ default.asp? page=2009\ 074\story_ 4-7-2009_ pg7_4

http://janamejayan.wordpress.com/2009/07/04/india’s-e-elections-rigged/

India’s e-elections rigged?

Saturday, July 04, 2009

NEW DELHI: The Indian Election Commission (EC) could be sitting on a major election-rigging scandal, following a presentation on Friday showing how the software used in the electronic voting machines (EVMs) can be manipulated.

Omesh Saigal, an engineering graduate and former Delhi chief secretary, stunned the EC with a presentation showing that the software used in the EVMs can be manipulated to favour a particular party or candidate. Following the presentation, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Navin Chawla ordered an inquiry into the possibility of such rigging during the recently concluded elections in India and Indian-held Kashmir (IHK). 

Deputy Election Commissioner Balakrishnan was asked to conduct the inquiry on the basis of a report handed over by Saigal to the CEC, along with the software he had developed to show how the e-voting machines could be rigged.

Saigal, who is an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), New Delhi alumni, demanded an urgent check of the programme that runs the EVMs used in elections since 2004. The demonstration showed that after just keying in a certain code, the EVMs put every fifth vote in favour of a certain candidate. In his letter to the CEC, Saigal alleged that the EVM software had not been checked by the EC since the machines were manufactured more than 6 to 7 years ago. 

His argued that the EC merely relied on the certificates provided by the manufacturers, the government-run Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL). He alleged that the two firms had subcontracted private parties who actually provided the certificates.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2009\07\04\story_4-7-2009_pg7_4

Rigging possible through EVMs: ex-bureaucrat

Maneesh Chhibber Posted online: Friday , Jul 03, 2009 at 0047 hrs

New Delhi : A former civil servant has raised questions about the claims by the Election Commission of India (ECI) that the electronic voting machines (EVMs) can’t be rigged or hacked.

Omesh Saigal, who has served as Chief Secretary of Delhi and retired as Secretary to Government of India, had written to Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla, claiming that a detailed study conducted by him with the help of information technology experts had shown that rigging of EVMs is “possible and plausible”.

When contacted, Saigal told The Indian Express that he met Chawla on Wednesday to explain the methodology adopted by him for the study and its results.

“It is an important issue as the fate of this country’s democratic set-up hinges on the fairness of the elections. There shouldn’t be an iota of doubt about the same,” he said.

Saigal also cited a study conducted by the Johns Hopkins University and Rice University, which established that if one gets to know the source code of an EVM, it is possible for a single person to cast unlimited ballots without detection.

“To see if a similar fraud could be done in India, on my request a young programmer wrote a very simple programme which could skew the result if a pre-programmed code number was keyed in. A mock poll showed that every 5th vote after the first 10 would go in favour of a particular candidate. This poll was conducted in the presence of some eminent people, whose names have also been sent to the CEC. I intend to conduct this poll before the EC,” Saigal said.

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/484802/

First, it was Ghulam Nabi Azad who spoke about EVM tampering in Orissa. Now, it is a veteran leader speaking about lack of transparency in EVM and EVM technical snags in MP.

It is time Chawla, Chief Election Commissioner wakes up to his responsibilities and acts.

Kalyanaraman

Faults in Electronic Voting Machines(EVMs) lead to defeat of Congress in Madhya Pradesh: Srinivas

New Delhi, Jul 1 : Veteran Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker Srinivas Tiwari today said defeat of the Congress in the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in the state was due to technical snags in Electronic Voting Machines(EVMs).

He termed the defeat of the Congress in the state a '' defeat on paper''. 

In a discussion with UNI reporters at the agency HQ here, Mr Tiwari said there is no transparency in the EVMs because the machine does not clearly show the voter about the party or candidate for whom the vote was cast. 

Lack of transparency in the EVMs is against the spirit of democracy, he said.

He strongly asserted that it is the democratic right of voters to know about the party for which they have cast their votes.

He said there is a system followed in many countries where the voters know about the party or candidate for which they have voted.

He demanded that such a system be adopted by the Election Commission ofIndia.

He hailed the victory of the Congress in the recent Lok Sabha elections and said the reason behind the victory was that people wanted a stable and single party to come into power. 

He said the people have voted with full democratic spirit in the Lok Sabha polls.

Earlier, the Congress suffered because it was doing the ''politics of compromise'' with other parties. But now the Congress has moved ahead and contested the election on its own and due to which it has gained solidarity.

--- UNI

http://www.newkerala.com/nkfullnews-1-65212.html 

Manipulation of EVMs in 2009 polls – petitions in Madras HC; Chawla: EVM can handle only 16 X4 candidates

 

Azhagiri, Baalu’s entry to LS challenged in HC

 

NT Bureau | Tue, 30 Jun, 2009 , 02:40 PM

.

The Election Commission has declared them as winners in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections. But the opponents are not ready to take things that easy.

Petitions challenging the election of Union Minister M K Azhagiri, former Union Minister and leader of DMK Parliamentary party T R Baalu and AIADMK MP P Kumar were filed in the Madras High Court on Monday, seeking to declare the elections as null and void.

Charging Azhagiri, son of Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, with bribing voters of Madurai Lok Sabha constituency, losing CPI (M) candidate P Mohan, in his petition, sought a direction to declare him elected instead.

Stating that police had registered a case based on complaints that Azhagiri had distributed money to bribe voters, Mohan alleged that about 70 per cent of voters in the constituency had been induced by the Minister through persons acting as his agents with his consent and knowledge.

Mohan also accused the State government PRO of abusing his official position and acting as an agent for Azhagiri. Challenging the election of Baalu from Sriperumbudur Parliamentary constituency, PMK candidate A K Moorthy claimed there was a contradiction in the total number of votes polled in EVMs and official details of Assembly segment-wise votes polled.

Claiming that votes polled in EVMs of six Assembly segments comprising the constituency were 7,96,461, he said the official document of Assembly segment-wise total of EVMs showed only 7,93,597 votes had been registered, indicating a difference of 2,864 votes.

Moorthy also contended that there were numerous contradictions in details on dispatch of EVMs and their actual use. He claimed that EVMs used were found to be either doctored or defective as they never showed correct particulars. ‘This has materially affected the result of the election in so far as the returned candidates is concerned,’ he said.

Moorthy further alleged that Baalu had printed over 11.92 lakh booklets at a cost of over Rs 2.38 crore, containing glossy pictures of DMK leaders and a voters-slip with the voters name, thus violating section 77 of RPA. Moorthy had lost by a margin of 25,024 votes. An independent candidate P Nagarajan also challenged the election of Baalu. 

Alleging improper inclusion of votes by wrong statements prepared from EVMs, Sarubala R Thondaiman, the losing Congress candidate from Tiruchi Parliamentary constituency, sought to declare election of AIADMK’s P Kumar as ‘illegal, null and void’.

Sarubala claimed that she had led in all segments as per official details furnished for each Assembly segment making up the Lok Sabha constituency but the final tally showed that Kumar had secured 70,949 votes in Srirangam segment as against 50,767 polled by her.

She said her election agent had drawn the attention of poll officials of the ‘discrepancies’ in votes polled in the segment and had requested the Returning Officer to recount and re-total the votes. However, the request was ignored.

http://newstodaynet.com/printer.php?id=17842

Spate of petitions challenge LS verdicts

30 Jun 2009, 0158 hrs IST, A Subramani, TNN

 

CHENNAI: In Tamil Nadu, the election process does not get over with the declaration of results -- or so it seems. So far, the election of six of the 39 victorious candidates have been challenged with the filing of as many election petitions in the Madras high court. This includes top guns like Union home minister P Chidambaram and union minister for chemicals and fertilizers M K Azhagiri, the elder son of chief minister M Karunanidhi. 

Others, who face a challenge to their election, are Union minister of state for information and broadcasting Jagathrakshakan (Arakkonam), former Union minister T R Baalu (DMK) and film actor J K Ritheesh (DMK). The election of P Kumar from Tiruchi constituency on an AIADMK ticket too has been questioned by former mayor of Tiruchi and losing candidate Sarubala R Thondaiman (Congress). 

Three separate election petitions challeging the election of Azhagiri, Baalu and Kumar were filed on Monday. "More petitions are expected on Tuesday, as the mandatory 45-day limitation period expires that day," said a court official. Section 81 of the Representation of the People Act mandates that any election could be challenged if a petition is filed within 45 days of the declaration of results. The petitions, which are yet to be admitted, are likely to be posted before separate benches. 

In his election petition, P Mohan, CPM candidate from Madurai, alleged that Azhagiri and his men had bribed or sought to woo at least 70% of the electorate with financial inducements. “Besides bribing voters, DMK cadres paid Rs 500 each to women who performed aarathi for Azhagiri,” he said. “Free dhotis and sarees too were distributed in many villages,” he claimed. 

According to Mohan, public relation officers in state service abused their official positions and acted as agents of Azhagiri. Besides, he used his influence to pressure transport corporations to ply buses to several areas, he said. Referring to the transfer of Madurai city commissioner of police Nandabalan, the CPM candidate said it established the commission of corrupt practices. 

Two petitions - one by A K Moorthy (PMK) and the other by P Nagarajan (independent) - have been filed challenging the validity of the election of Baalu from Sriperumbudur constituency. 

Moorthy, himself a former Union minister, echoed the AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa's allegation that electronic voting machines had been tampered with in this constituency. The PMK leader claimed that the control unit of the EVMs were manipulated in such a way that only one vote would be registered against his name even if he received five votes. "The remaining four votes would automatically be recorded as if they were polled in favour of Baalu," Moorthy said. 

Nagarajan cited the sudden reduction of bus fare by state transport corporations to show that the poll was skewed in favour of Baalu, and added that it was a brazen illegality and amounted to corrupt electoral practice. 

Sarubala Thondaiman is the only candidate from the UPA camp to question the election of a rival. Assailing the election of P Kumar of the AIADMK, she said the returning officer announced the results in a whimsical manner despite her poll agent demanding recounting of votes polled in Srirangam assembly constituency. Claiming that a "vast discrepancy" was noticed in polling figures in that constituency, she said counting norms were violated by officials.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chennai/Spate-of-petitions-challenge-LS-verdicts/articleshow/4717774.cms

 

Reprogrammed EVMs (with date/time stamping) vulnerable for tampering.

Introduction of time-stamping programs in EVMs make the machines vulnerable for tampering 

Chief Election Commissioner Chawla in his remark of June 23, 2009, does NOT refer to the fact that the EVMs control systems were modified in January 2009 to introduce time-date stamping. 

A total of about 13,60,000 EVMs were used in the 2009 polls in 828,000 polling booths. 

OF these, 180,000 EVMs supplied by BEL and ECIL were EVMs with improvised program features for date/time stamping. The news report seems to indicate that this improvised program was NOT incorporated in ALL the 13,60,000 EVMs. This means that machines with different program features were used in different polling booths. 

On the introduction of the date/time stamp improvised program modification 

This changes the nature of the EVMs from ‘stand-alone’ machines which Navin Chawla claims ‘Cannot be manipulated’. 

Starting time and date have to be external inputs in to the Programmable Read Only Memory (PROM) and then alone the EVMs (Balloting units) can continue to maintain the time clock. Any number of manipulations could have been made in the chip which contained this time-stamping program. What internal and external auditing procedures were adopte by EC to ensure that the new machines supplied in January 2009 did in fact function as per the specifications prescribed by the EC? 

Kalyanaraman

EVMs cannot be tampered, vouches CED Chawla

June 23, 2009

Allaying all doubts on the possibility of Electronic Voting Machine tampering, Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla on Tuesday said the machines used in India are stand-alone machines and cannot be manipulated.

http://birlaa.com/news/evms-cannot-be-tampered-vouches-cec-chawla/294873

Quartus II Tcl Example: Date Time Stamp

This example shows how to create date time stamps with Tcl. You can use a date time stamp in a scripted design flow to record exactly when the script ran. Writing the date time stamp into your design files provides on-chip storage of when the design was compiled.

You can use Tcl commands to generate a custom-formatted date time string with just the date and time elements you want. Use the Tcl command clock seconds to return the current time and clock format to generate a custom-formatted date time string. Refer to the Date and Time Formatting web page for more information about formatting date time strings. It includes examples and a table of formatting keywords.

Here are two examples of different formatting options for a date time string.

Example 1

The following command generates a formatted date time string with the following elements, in this order:

1.       Four digit year

2.       Two digit month (01-12)

3.       Two digit day (01-31)

4.       Two digit hour in 24-hour format (00-23)

5.       Two digit minute (00-59)

6.       Two digit seconds (00-59)

clock format [clock seconds] -format {%Y %m %d %H %M %S}

That command generates a string like this:

2005 01 10 15 16 55

Example 2

The second example generates a formatted date time string with the following elements, in this order:

1.       Abbreviated month name followed by a period

2.       Two digit day of the month followed by a comma

3.       Four digit year

4.       The time in HH:MM:SS format

5.       An AM/PM indicator

clock format [clock seconds] -format {%b. %d, %Y %I:%M:%S %p}

That command generates a string like this:

Jan. 10, 2005 03:31:20 PM

Converting the Date Time String

You usually have to convert the ASCII date time string to another format (such as hexadecimal or binary) to store it in a register bank or memory. Here are two examples of format conversion.

Decimal to Hexadecimal

If you use date time elements that generate only numeric values, you can treat them as decimal numbers for the purpose of conversion. The following command generates a date stamp of the day number in the year (001 - 366), followed by the hour in 24-hour format, then the minute.

set str [clock format [clock seconds] -format {%j%H%M}]

set out [format "%X" $str]

That command generates a string like this in the variable out:

17D40F

ASCII to Hexadecimal

The following command generates a date time string and converts it to a packed hexadecimal string stored in the variable out. Each pair of hexadecimal digits is the hexadecimal code for the ASCII character.

set str [clock format [clock seconds] -format {%b. %d, %Y %I:%M:%S %p}]

binary scan $str "H*" out

That command generates a string like this in the variable out:

4a616e2e2031302c20323030352030333a33363a303520504d

Design Examples Disclaimer

These design examples may only be used within Altera Corporation devices and remain the property of Altera. They are being provided on an “as-is” basis and as an accommodation; therefore, all warranties, representations, or guarantees of any kind (whether express, implied, or statutory) including, without limitation, warranties of merchantability, non-infringement, or fitness for a particular purpose, are specifically disclaimed. Altera expressly does not recommend, suggest, or require that these examples be used in combination with any other product not provided by Altera.

http://www.altera.com/support/examples/tcl/tcl-date-time-stamp.html

 

Smarter EVMs to make voting tamper proof

The Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) supplied for the April-May elections have more improvised features than the older ones

Published on 3/30/2009 4:29:18 PM
By Azera Rahman

New Delhi: The Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) supplied for the April-May elections have more improvised features than the older ones. The new and improved machines will also give hourly updates of balloting besides registering vote and the exact time of casting it.

" It has improvised features like in-built clocks which record the exact time a ballot is cast," Bharat Electronics (BEL) General Manager, Amol Newaskar said.

BEL is one of the two public sector companies manufacturing EVMs for the Election Commission.

"Not just that, the EVM also records the exact time when the whole balloting process starts and when the last vote is being cast. It gives an hourly update of the number of votes cast, and if there is any unusual trend in the process, it can be easily detected. Thus the whole process becomes tamper-proof," he added.

For instance, if there is a heavy rush in polling at a particular hour, the officials can be on alert or if a voter thinks that his vote is being tampered with, the exact time when he cast his vote can be retrieved.

The Election Commission had placed an order for 102,000 EVMs to BEL for the 2009 general elections - all of which have been supplied by January, Newaskar said. 

Besides BEL, the other company authorised by the Election Commission to manufacture EVMs is the Hyderabad-based Electronics Corporation of India (ECIL). Both the companies supply an almost equal number of EVMs.

According to ECIL Chairman K.S. Rajasekhara Rao, 78,000 machines with the improvised features have been supplied to the Election Commission.

"We have to supply another 3,000 EVMs by March 31," Rao said.

Explaining some of the new features of the machine, Newaskar said, the new EVMs are also more user-friendly. Earlier most of the instructions on the machine were printed in short form which was not easily understood, but now more images are used instead.

For the benefit of the visually impaired, the EVMs also have Braille markings on them.

"So that a visually impaired person does not have any trouble in casting his or her vote, Braille markings have been made close to the serial number of the candidates. Since 2007, we have manufactured 250,000 such EVMs with Braille markings," Newaskar said.

The new EVMs, he added, also have a better battery life. If a machine is not used for 10 minutes, it goes on sleep mode and shows in its indicator if the charge is low. Data however is not lost in either case.

An estimated 1.36 million electronic voting machines will be used in 828,000 polling booths across the country.

 http://www.igovernment.in/site/Smarter-EVMs-to-make-voting-tamper-proof/

http://sites.google.com/site/hindunew/electronic-voting-machines

 

So, selective district level tampering of EVMs for district level constituencies was possible during 2009 polls. Together with new smarter EVMs introduced for 2009 elections, the responsibility for EC for auditing the systems increased many fold. Was EC equal to the gigantic system auditing task? Was systems audit (using both internal and external auditors) in fact done for the EVMs with smarter programs? The public nature of the election process demands answers from EC. Who is to bell the cat? kalyanaraman   

EC to undertake EVM randomisation for the first time 

Press Trust of India / New Delhi April 5, 2009, 16:20 IST In a bid to prevent any tampering of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), the Election Commission (EC) has decided to use for the first time a two-stage randomisation of the machines to avoid pre-programming in favour of any particular candidate.Under the process, the machines will be selected randomly before being sent to the polling stations to make sure that nobody comes to know beforehand to which polling station a specific EVM will be used."EVM randomisation procedure is being introduced in this general elections. This is a precautionary measure to ensure that nobody can know beforehand about which constituency or polling station a specific EVM will be sent or used," a senior election official told PTI here.During the first stage, serial numbers of the EVMs will be listed under the jurisdiction of a District Election Officer. Then, the EVMs, to be used in a particular constituency, will be randomly selected through a computerised process.Further randomisation will be done by Returning Officer afterwards to determine which specific EVM will be used in a particular polling station of that constituency.EVM randomisation procedure was introduced in the recent assembly elections, including to that of the Delhi assembly, the official said.                                                                                                                              http://www.business-standard.com/india/printpage.php?autono=58029&tp=on Smarter EVMs to make voting tamper proof

The Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) supplied for the April-May elections have more improvised features than the older ones

Published on 3/30/2009 4:29:18 PM

By Azera Rahman

New Delhi: The Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) supplied for the April-May elections have more improvised features than the older ones. The new and improved machines will also give hourly updates of balloting besides registering vote and the exact time of casting it.

" It has improvised features like in-built clocks which record the exact time a ballot is cast," Bharat Electronics (BEL) General Manager, Amol Newaskar said.

BEL is one of the two public sector companies manufacturing EVMs for the Election Commission.

"Not just that, the EVM also records the exact time when the whole balloting process starts and when the last vote is being cast. It gives an hourly update of the number of votes cast, and if there is any unusual trend in the process, it can be easily detected. Thus the whole process becomes tamper-proof," he added.

For instance, if there is a heavy rush in polling at a particular hour, the officials can be on alert or if a voter thinks that his vote is being tampered with, the exact time when he cast his vote can be retrieved.

The Election Commission had placed an order for 102,000 EVMs to BEL for the 2009 general elections - all of which have been supplied by January, Newaskar said.

Besides BEL, the other company authorised by the Election Commission to manufacture EVMs is the Hyderabad-based Electronics Corporation of India (ECIL). Both the companies supply an almost equal number of EVMs.

According to ECIL Chairman K.S. Rajasekhara Rao, 78,000 machines with the improvised features have been supplied to the Election Commission.

"We have to supply another 3,000 EVMs by March 31," Rao said.

Explaining some of the new features of the machine, Newaskar said, the new EVMs are also more user-friendly. Earlier most of the instructions on the machine were printed in short form which was not easily understood, but now more images are used instead.

For the benefit of the visually impaired, the EVMs also have Braille markings on them.

"So that a visually impaired person does not have any trouble in casting his or her vote, Braille markings have been made close to the serial number of the candidates. Since 2007, we have manufactured 250,000 such EVMs with Braille markings," Newaskar said.

The new EVMs, he added, also have a better battery life. If a machine is not used for 10 minutes, it goes on sleep mode and shows in its indicator if the charge is low. Data however is not lost in either case.

An estimated 1.36 million electronic voting machines will be used in 828,000 polling booths across the country.

 http://www.igovernment.in/site/Smarter-EVMs-to-make-voting-tamper-proof/

From: Frederick [FN] Noronha * फ्रेडरिक नोरोन्या <fredericknoronha@...>
Subject: EVMs .. .some more discussion
Newsgroups: gmane.org.telecom.india-gii
Date: 2009-04-24 23:32:26 GMT (8 weeks, 3 days, 5 hours and 4 minutes ago)
Expires: This article expires on 2009-05-09

Q&A | 'It's possible to trace back every vote in EVM'
A G Rao (left) and Ravi Poovaiah, professors at the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, are responsible for altering the manner in which India casts its ballot. They spoke with Hemali Chhapia on what went into designing the Electronic Voting Machine in 198... The EVMs are totally tamper-proof. In case of a court order, it is possible to
trace back every vote.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Editorial/QA--Its-possible-to-trace-back-every-vote-in-EVM/articleshow/4410881.cms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CEO to bring EVM tampering to EC’s notice for action

 

 

 

HYDERABAD: Taking a serious note of reports questioning the tamper-proof feature of electronic voting machines (EVM), Chief Electoral Officer I. V. Subba Rao on Monday decided to bring these instances to the notice of the Election Commission for suitable action against them under law. In a blog, an IIT graduate challenged this particular feature of the EVM being claimed by the EC as well as its

 

 

 

makers — Electronic Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), saying that the data introduced into the EVM could be erased by exposing magnetic field to the machine.  The CEO also received reports suggesting that the EVM also would lose its memory if it was exposed to magnetised polythene paper or if a cloth coated with detergent powder was rubbed against it. http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/14/stories/2009041450110100.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EVMs snag hits city polls

 

 

 

HYDERABAD: Polling process got delayed at several polling stations in the city with electronic voting machines (EVMs) developing technical glitches on Thursday. Balloting units were replaced by election authorities at these places to continue the polling process. Every EVM has a ballot unit (where a voter presses the button to cast his vote)and a control unit (where the vote is recorded). Problems cropped up in either ballot units or control units. These EVMs encountered problems in connection (link between control and ballot units), cable problems and other errors.

 

 

 

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Hyderabad/EVMs-snag-hits-city-polls/articleshow/4412053.cms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* * *http://article.gmane.org/gmane.org.telecom.india-gii/15033

A request under RTI Act should be made to EC of India to clarify: 1. If programs used on EVMs were modified in January 2009 to install date/time-recoding of a ballot; 2. if all the new EVMs (about 200,000) acquired in January 2009 were the only ones used in the 2009 elections; and 3. procedures adopted to audit and validate transparently, in consultation with political parties, to ensure that Jan. 2009 revisions were properly implemented without allowing for any external tampering using wireless chip implants in selected constituencies.

Kalyanaraman

How to Trust Electronic Voting

June 22, 2009

EDITORIAL NY TIMES

Electronic voting machines that do not produce a paper record of every vote cast cannot be trusted. In 2008, more than one-third of the states, including New Jersey and Texas, still did not require all votes to be recorded on paper. Representative Rush Holt has introduced a good bill that would ban paperless electronic voting in all federal elections. Congress should pass it while there is still time to get ready for 2010.

In paperless electronic voting, voters mark their choices, and when the votes have all been cast, the machine spits out the results. There is no way to be sure that a glitch or intentional vote theft — by malicious software or computer hacking — did not change the outcome. If there is a close election, there is also no way of conducting a meaningful recount.

Mr. Holt’s bill would require paper ballots to be used for every vote cast in November 2010. It would help prod election officials toward the best of the currently available technologies: optical-scan voting. With optical scans, voters fill out a paper ballot that is then read by computer — much like a standardized test. The votes are counted quickly and efficiently by computer, but the paper ballot remains the official vote, which can then be recounted by hand.

The bill would also require the states to conduct random hand recounts of paper ballots in 3 percent of the precincts in federal elections, and more in very close races. These routine audits are an important check on the accuracy of the computer count.

The bill has several provisions designed to ease the transition for cash-strapped local governments. It authorizes $1 billion in financing to replace non-complying voting systems, and more money to pay for the audits. It also allows states extra time to phase out A.T.M.-style machines, in which voters make their choices on a computer screen and the machine produces a paper record — like a receipt — of the vote.

Such machines are more reliable than paperless voting. But they are still not ideal, since voters do not always check the paper record to be sure it is accurate. By 2014, machines that produce paper trails would have to be replaced by ones in which voters directly record their votes on paper — the best system of all.

The House leadership should make passing Mr. Holt’s bill a priority. Few issues matter as much as ensuring that election results can be trusted.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/22/opinion/22mon2.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print

Voting Machines Can Never Be Trusted, Says GOP Computer Security Expert By , Velvet Revolution

 

Printed on June 21, 2009
http://www.alternet.org/story/94895/

In an interview from October, 2006, that has only now seen the light of day, Stephen Spoonamore, one of the world's leading experts in cyber crime and a self-described "life-long Republican" destroys Diebold's already non-existent credibility.

Spoonamore lays it out for anyone to see and understand. If you care about America and it's survival as a democratic republic, you'll watch this interview.

The interviews are on YouTube and are being carried by a new site created by Velvet Revolution, RoveCyberGate.com.

Read below the fold for details and background.

There is a civil suit pending in Ohio, King Lincoln Bronzeville v. Blackwell. We covered a July 17 press conference about this case here. The issues in this case are complex, but in a nutshell, some Ohio voters filed a lawsuit about the 2004 election. These voters want to get the deposition of Mike Connell, a Republican IT expert who set up Ohio's computers for the 2004 election while simultaneously running the IT network for the Bush/Cheney 2004 campaign.

Connell's allegiance is clear; he is the co-owner of Connell Donatelli Inc., the company that was the registrant, administrator, and tech organizer of the website for the so-called Swiftboat Veterans for Truth. Connell has also been called "a high-tech Forrest Gump" who was "'at the scene of every crime' for numerous questionable elections since 2000."

The plaintiffs are working with an expert witness, Stephen Spoonamore. Spoonamore,according to Arnebeck, "works for credit card companies chasing data thieves, identity thieves around the globe, and also consults with government agencies including the Secret Service, the Pentagon, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in criminal matters. [He's] really one of the top, and in fact the top private cop in the world on the subject of data security."

In this interview, "Spoon," as his friends call him, cuts through the lies and dissembling of Diebold and explains in language that anyone can understand how our elections have been stolen and how they are going to be stolen again. Even though this interview is almost two years old, the issues are still, unfortunately, germane to our elections.

The interview is broken into eight segments, and each segment is only a few minutes long. We urge you to watch each segment for yourself, which won't take very long. It is only through an electorate that is educated about the problems with electronic voting and the lies told by the e-voting companies that we will have a chance to take our elections back from the crooks who are currently in control of them.

Following are some excerpts from the interview, but we urge you to watch the entire thing.

In segment one:

Spoon explains that Diebold "refuse[s] to show the architecture [of their voting machines] or allow it to be exposed to any kind of significant expert." He says, "The people who … they claim have certified their machines have no knowledge of architecture whatsoever."

Spoon continues, "The fundamental structures that Diebold has used to set up their voting machines are inherently flawed. They are what I would consider IT junk."

He explains how a Diebold ATM is set up with checks, double checks, triple checks, and even quadruple checks to ensure that the machine works the way it is supposed to. And, adds Spoon, "Those people [the people who check a bank's ATM] are not from Diebold. One of them is from the installation group and one of them is from the bank. Otherwise, the [ATM] machine is not certified for use."

When the interviewer says, "So what you're saying is there's more security regarding the dispensing of a $20 bill and the fact that if you don't get that $20 bill, there is more of an audit system set up [as compared to any audit system for the counting of our votes]," Spoon replies, "Of course."

Regarding the 2000 elections, he says, "There is a very strong argument to be made that the 2000 election was electronically stolen, the hanging chads were just a distraction."

In segment two:

Spoon talks about the Department of Homeland Security's warning via the US-CERT Center (the United States' Cyber Emergency Response Team) "warning that the way Diebold systems are architected in the way the tabulators communicate to the central state tabulation center is subject to foreign national hacking [as well as hacking from within the U.S.]. They put out a warning about it. To the best of my knowledge, this is still the case." He explains how this can happen.

On to segment three.

In talking about memory cards, which hold the electronic votes and are fed into tabulation machines and which have extensive security flaws, Spoon explains a serious issue regarding negative vote numbers.

Spoonamore:

There has been repeated issues [sic] where people have said they've seen votes backing up in tabulators as cards are put in [meaning votes are being subtracted instead of added]. Okay, well that would indicate that something in that program is not adding cards forward, it may be adding cards backward.

There is no reason in the world a negative number should ever be able to exist on a voting card. And yet, in all the voting card code that I've looked at, Diebold has a negative field that allows a negative number to be entered in a vote total. Why? Why would you want -- to steal votes. That way you can start with a card that has negative a hundred votes for somebody, then it takes them a hundred votes before they're even back to zero.

Interviewer:

And yet Diebold does not allow, for proprietary reasons, anyone to review the vote tabulation software?

Spoonamore:

They let us work on their cash machines, but no, they won't let anybody see their software.

Interviewer:

Any thoughts as to why?

Spoonamore:

Because they're stealing elections.

Referring to the 2002 election results in Georgia, where Republican Saxby Chamblissdefeated incumbent Senator Max Cleland, Spoon says, "If you look at the case of Saxby Chambliss, that's ridiculous. The man was not elected. He lost that election by five points. Max Cleland won. They flipped the votes, clear as day."

Spoonamore continues:

"I do not believe George Bush won [in 2004], I believe Kerry won. And I'm a member of the GOP. But I want to make it clear: we need to live in a place where your [a candidate's] election actually is reflected in the vote. I want my candidate to win, but if my candidate loses, I care a lot more about the process than I care about the victory."

Would that all Americans thought that way.

And segment four.

Spoon discusses the infamous Georgia patch from the 2002 election. "I've personally reviewed a number of pieces of code from Diebold. It's garbage. Some of the code is awful. I reviewed the patch that they put in Georgia, 2002, that many of them claimed is a clock function. It's not a clock function, it's a comparator function. … If it were me and I were to guess what that code is, it's a vote flipping code. It's not a clock function, that I know."

Segment Five:

Interviewer:

So this is not a partisan issue?

 

Spoonamore:

It shouldn't be. This is a fascist issue. People who don't want voting and want fascist control but have people think they're voting. I mean, people forget the fact there was voting in Hitler's Germany. Guess what? He won with 90% of the vote all the time. There was voting in Saddam's Iraq. And guess what? Saddam won the vote all the time. Well, did they win? Was that actually the will of the voter? Was that the way the votes were even cast?

Spoonamore goes on to explain that with credit cards, at least 2.5% of all transactions are fraudulent, and that they cannot get that number any lower. He believes that electronic voting, no matter how transparent and secure, will also have an error rate, whether from fraud or flawed technology or both, of at least 2.5%.

Do you want to have a system in place where there is a permanent background of electronic voting fraud of 2-and-a-half percent? That means you have to win an election by a minimum of 3% to know that you've won? I don't. Paper ballots, please. That's the only thing that can be secure.

Segment six:

Interviewer:

[Regarding the Harri Hursti hack] Diebold has come back every time and said, "Well, you know, that hack can't happen."

 

Spoonamore:

They're lying. They're lying. Diebold is lying.

 

Interviewer:

What, their systems can't be hacked?

 

Spoonamore:

There is no system, electronic, in the world that cannot be hacked. I've spent my entire life building or hacking electronic systems. … There is no system in the world -- none -- that cannot be hacked. … End of discussion.

Interviewer:

Then how do you secure such a piece of equipment then?

Spoonamore:

You don't. You use paper ballots. I can't make it any clearer than this. You cannot have secure electronic voting. It doesn't exist. … You must have paper ballots.

Spoon continues: "There are people out there -- and there is [sic] a lot of them -- who don't really want to win elections. What they want to do is they want to steal them. … I don't want to have a society where we're not sure who won. I want to live in a democracy where there is a valid capacity to audit the entire trail."

Well said, Mr. Spoonamore.

Segment seven:

"I think they [the Diebold machines] are brilliantly designed. They're designed to steal elections. … There are back doors in the tabulations machines, which is what the US-CERT warning is about. There's a backdoor communication that allows secondary computers to talk to the actual tabulators electronically from a distance." Spoon goes on to describe some of the technical details of electronic voting machine election fraud.

And lastly, segment eight:

Interviewer:


Many people who are denying problems, they're saying, "Oh well, these are just Democrats signaling alarms -- "

 

Spoonamore:

I'm a Republican. I'm a Republican, I worked on Giuliani's campaign, I worked on Bloomberg's campaign, I worked on John McCain's campaign. I've been a life-long member of the party. This is not a Democrat/Republican issue. This is not a partisan issue. This is a democracy issue. If you actually care about a constitutional democracy in which each person votes, that vote is validated, and the people who end up in office are reflected on the basis of the way people voted, you care about this issue.

If you don't want people to vote, if you don't want people's vote to count, and you want to rule without owning it by a mandate, then you are very supportive of Diebold.

Relative to this statement from Mr. Spoonamore, please watch this youtube clip of Paul Weyrich, co-founder of the Heritage Foundation and the Moral Majority, talking about voting:

That's a rare and candid admission of a still on-going strategy to prevent Americans from registering and/or voting.

The interview continues:

Interviewer:

I mean, who's stealing the votes? If what you say is true, who wants to steal the elections?

Spoonamore:

I certainly know that in all the statistical information, it seems that in every single bizarre circumstance where exit data, polling data, or informational data swings, it has all been in favor of Republicans. But not the sort of Republicans who I want to see in office at all. These are people who lie and people who cheat. That is not the conservative way. Conservatives conserve things. We are respectful and we are constitutionally based.

You know what the real problem is? People do not want to believe that people want to steal elections in this country. I've done extensive work over the years for voting monitoring overseas. If we had a variance in the exit polling of even 2% from what actually was tabulated -- which is exactly how the Orange Revolution came about in Ukraine -- we would be in there explaining to people something is wrong.

We have had numerous elections in this country now in which -- where you use Diebold Election System machines -- that what happens with the vote isway off, five, ten, as much as twelve percent from the exit polling and the actual survey. These statistical numbers are impossible.

And the problem is Americans do not want to believe that we have people stealing our elections. And they must come to the realization there arepeople in this country who want to steal elections, and we must stop them.

If you've read this far, you clearly care about this issue. Please, we implore all Americans to contact their state's secretary of state, their House representative, and their Senators and DEMAND they ban the use of electronic voting machines. Demand that all elections in the United States be conducted:

1) with a hand-marked paper ballot for every vote;

2) the ballots counted publicly and transparently at each precinct;

3) citizens allowed by law to observe the ballots being counted;

4) precinct results posted publicly before being sent to the central tabulator.

http://www.alternet.org/module/printversion/94895

 EC had known the fundamental flaws of EVMs since 2000; not remedied – Prof. Radhakrishnan

 

The first 100 days of UPA: A deceptive democracy – 3

 

By Professor P Radhakrishnan Asian Tribune (June 20, 2009)

 

 The result of the April-May 2009 General Elections to the 15th Lok Sabha has proved that Indian psephologists and media pundits on Indian politics, particularly from the electronic media, are worse than astrologers. But like astrologers even after they err they righteously peddle their wrongs as rights, and d keep the viewers in their shibboleth. As this is an integral part of their disingenuous commercial and survival strategy, the less said, the better.

There have been complaints about election rigging. As this is nothing new, India has not had violence and mayhem as Iran witnessed recently. All the same the complaints cannot be taken lightly.

 

In an Op-Ed “Dangers of trusting them too much” in The New Indian Expressof  29 May 2009, reproduced with minor modifications as another Op-Ed “Are electronic voting machines tamper-proof?” in The Hindu of 17 June 2009,  Subramanian Swamy wrote:

Is there a possibility of rigging electoral outcomes in a general election to the Lok Sabha? This question has arisen not only because of the unexpected number of seats won or lost by some parties in the recent contest. It is accentuated by the recent spate of articles published in reputed computer engineering journals and in the popular international press, which raise doubts about the integrity of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

 

Why are the EVMs so vulnerable? Swamy’s explanation is important:

 

 Each step in the life cycle of a voting machine — from the time it is developed and installed to when the votes are recorded and the data transferred to a central repository for tallying — involves different people gaining access to the machines, often installing new software. It wouldn’t be hard for, say, an election official to paint a parallel programme under another password on one or many voting machines that would, before voters arrived at the poll stations, ensure a pre-determined outcome.

 

Swamy’s article is of huge political relevance in India, as evident from his own claims:

 

The Election Commission of India has known of these dangers since 2000. Dr M. S. Gill, the then CEC, had arranged at my initiative for Professor Sanjay Sarma, the father of RFID software fame at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and his wife Dr Gitanjali Swamy of Harvard, to demonstrate how unsafeguarded the chips in EVMs were. Some changes in procedure were made subsequently by the EC. But the fundamental flaws, which made them compliant to hacking, remained.

 

In 2004, the Supreme Court’s First Bench, comprising Chief Justice V. N. Khare and Justices Babu and Kapadia, directed the Election Commission to consider the technical flaws in EVMs put forward by Satinath Choudhary, a U.S.-based software engineer, in a PIL. But the EC has failed to consider his representation.

 

Now several High Courts are hearing PILs on the EVMs. This is good news. I believe the time has arrived for the Supreme Court to transfer these cases to itself, and take a long, hard look at these riggable machines that favour a ruling party that can ensure a pliant Election Commission. Else, elections will soon lose their credibility and the demise of democracy will be near. Hence evidence must now be collected by all political parties to determine the number of constituencies in which they suspect rigging. The number will not exceed 75, in my opinion. We can identify them as follows: any 2009 general election result in which the main losing candidate of a recognised party found that more than 10 per cent of the polling booths showed fewer than five votes per booth should be taken, prima facie, as a constituency in which rigging took place. This is because the main recognised parties usually have more than five party workers per booth, and hence with their families will poll a minimum of 25 votes per booth for their party candidate. If these 25 voters can give affidavits affirming who they voted for, the High Court can treat this as evidence and order a full inquiry.

 

If the cases are transferred to the Supreme Court, in adjudicating them time is the essence. If the court deals with them in its usual lackadaisical style Swamy’s prophesy of doom, that is, elections soon losing their credibility and  the demise of democracy will be near, may turn out to be a reality…

 

http://asiantribune.com/06/21/the-first-100-days-of-upa-a-deceptive-democracy-–-3/

 SATURDAY, JUNE 20, 2009

EVM's reliable : Swameiye soliyachu

Normally Retired bureaucrats in this country even if upright in work, start singing an altered tune either for post retirement benefits or for the sake of his next generation- Well none of this need apply to Gopalaswami and may be he is not going to get any berth in Rahul's Ministry nor the DMK's. But if what he told is correct then all Americans, and all Indians except Rahul, Karunanidhi and him are fools for according to him any one who suspects an EVM is a fool. Or probably it is the ingenuity of the people who remoted[ a new word for a new method] , that they could do it without the know how of the chief of EC. He choosing Chennai to clarify, means more than the words? 

Seeking to allay fears expressed by some political parties that the EVMs can be tampered with, former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) N Gopalaswami today said the Electronic Voting Machines are "totally reliable". "EVM is a stand-alone machine, which is totally reliable," Gopalaswami, who retired as CEC in the midst of the recent Lok Sabha elections, said.

Unlike in other countries, EVMs used in India are of the "single way communication" type, he said, adding that software in a chip placed inside the EVMs cannot be tampered with. Only less than 0.5 per cent of the EVMs in the country reportedly malfunctioned in the recent General election, he said, speaking at a function on 'election 2009-an analysis'.

Referring to the general elections, he said out of the 543 Lok Sabha seats, 448 successful candidates secured only less than 50 per cent votes.[ EVM error?]

Posted by vj at 11:47 PM

 

http://www.chennaitvnews.com/2009/06/evms-reliable-swameiye-soliyachu.html

EVMs of 2009 polls used 

'improvised features' in the control programs

The cat is out of the bag. Azera Rahman reports that EVMs used in 2009 polls use new programs/control systems. 

What impact did these program revisions have on the increased possibilities of EVM tampering? 

Serious questions arise which cannot be brushed away under the carpet considering the public nature of the election process held for 2009 Lok Sabha elections and the likelihood that further use of EVMs may be declared unconstitutional.

Indiresan Commission Report had noted that *every* key stroke on EVM is logged and recorded. The report dated 19 June 2009 of Azera Rahman (appended below) notes that the programs used on EVMs had been modified and machines with modified programs ("improvised features like in-built clocks which record the exact time a ballot is cast") -- 102,000 units from BEL and 78,000 units from ECIL were said to have been procured in January 2009.

Who audited these 'improvised features'? Was the fact that program modifications were made communicated to the parties contesting the 2009 election so that the polling agents could have stayed alert to identify the new machines with improvised features?

This is a serious issue pointing to the possibility of introducing trojan horses on select new EVMs.

 

Supreme Court should intervene immediately and issue a stay order on the further use of EVMs until a comprehensive systems audit is completed on the lines of the audit done in USA by academic institutions and computer experts.

 

Prof. Indiresan Commitee Report on Electronic Voting Machines provided by the Election Commission of India through RTI. 


http://www.scribd.com/doc/6794194/Expert-Committee-Report-on-EVM

Blog link http://theoverlord.wordpress.com/2009/05/19/the-indian-electronic-voting-machines/

See discussions at: http://rajeev2004.blogspot.com/2009/05/linux-journal-2004-on-evm-fraud.html

 

Kalyanaraman

Electronic voting machines - the leitmotif of Indian democracy

Azera Rahman (GAEA news)

19 june 2009

 

The Indian election is about the 714 million electorate, the many thousands who play the electoral field and the virtual army of people working behind the scenes.

But it is also about a pintsized contraption - the electronic voting machine (EVM) - that has become the leitmotif of the world’s largest democratic exercise and gets smarter with each avatar.

It not only does the obvious - records the vote - but also notes the exact time it is cast. The new and improved machines also give hourly updates of balloting, besides of course aiding in the counting of votes.

Forget about counting chads, the inconvenient little slips that had tripped the US presidential election in 2000, the EVMs have ensured that the counting of the many million votes is done in a matter of hours. Results of the general election, or an assembly election in one of the states, are declared a short while after the counting start.

In Election 2009 held in April and May, an estimated 1.36 million EVMs were used in 828,000 polling booths across this vast country.

According to Amol Newaskar, general manager of Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) in India’s IT city of Bangalore, the machines supplied for the elections conducted over five phases have improvised on the older version.

BEL, which is one of the two public sector companies manufacturing EVMs for the Election Commission, has supplied 65,000 EVMs since 2000.

“However, the ones manufactured from 2007 onwards have improvised features like in-built clocks which record the exact time a ballot is cast,” Newaskar said.

“Not just that, the EVM also records the exact time when the whole balloting process starts and when the last vote is cast. It gives an hourly update of the number of votes cast, and if there is any unusual trend in the process, it can be easily detected. Thus, the whole process becomes tamper-proof,” he added.

For instance, if there is a heavy rush in polling at a particular hour, the officials can be on alert or if a voter thinks that his vote is being tampered with, the exact time when he cast his vote can be retrieved.

The Election Commission, according to Newaskar, placed an order for 102,000 EVMs to BEL for the 2009 general election - all of which were supplied by January.

The other company authorised by the Election Commission to manufacture EVMs is the Hyderabad-based Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) that has supplied 78,000 machines with the improvised features.

For the benefit of the visually impaired, the EVMs also have Braille markings on them.

Costing 9,800 rupees (about $195), it is no wonder that EVMs are a mega hit on the global stage as well.

Bhutan got 4,140 of them for its elections last year and Nepal has acquired them too. And inquiries for the Indian-made election tool have come in from

all over. The Namibian government has placed orders for 2,000 voting machines, while Ghana, South Africa and Nigeria have evinced interest as

have neighbours Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Malaysia, said Newaskar, had also shown interest. According to K.S. Rajasekhara Rao, chairman of ECIL, which supplied the EVMs in the Bhutan elections: “Many others countries like Sri Lanka, Ghana, South Africa, Nigeria and Bangladesh have expressed a keen interest in acquiring these machines too.”

Although the new EVMs have improvised features, most countries want the machines with further modifications.

The basic unit, easy to carry and no bigger than a briefcase, comes in two interconnected parts - the ballot unit, accessed by the voter who punches her vote, and the control unit that registers all related data like the total votes cast.

Most voters find it easy to use.

Vani Mittal, a second year graduation student of Delhi University, did not find using the EVM difficult at all when she voted for the first time in the assembly elections last year.

“The EVM is quite user-friendly. You have the name of the candidate and the party symbol clearly stated; so there is no question of any confusion,” Mittal said.

“As a child, whenever my father used to go to vote I used to accompany him.

So I knew how tedious the earlier process was. After deciding whom you want to vote for, you have to fold the ballot paper in a particular manner and

drop it in the box. The EVMs have made the process so much easier,” she added.

Even so, to attract voters in the general election, the election office in the capital New Delhi has uploaded a video on using EVMs on YouTube.

“Sometimes people are confused and unaware of how to use EVMs. So, in order to spread more awareness, we have uploaded a training video on usage of EVMs on popular video sharing website YouTube,” said Delhi’s chief electoral officer Satbir Silas Bedi.

http://blog.taragana.com/n/electronic-voting-machines-the-leitmotif-of-indian-democracy-86599/


It is time for all parties to raise the issue of EVM tampering in the Parliament and bring the Election Commission to account – to save democracy.

 

Kalyanaraman

 

EVMs 'manipulated' in Orissa polls, claims Azad, Union Health Minister 

 

By IANS 
18 Jun 2009 04:27:33 PM IST

BHUBANESWAR: Congress general secretary in charge of the party's affairs in Orissa Ghulam Nabi Azad Thursday alleged "manipulation" of electronic voting machines (EVMs) had led to the party's defeat in the assembly and parliamentary elections in the state.

"EVMs were manipulated during the poll which resulted in defeat of many Congress candidates," Azad said in a press conference here.

The Congress won only 27 of the state's 147 assembly seats and six of the 21 Lok Sabha constituencies in Orissa. The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, bagged 103 assembly and 14 Lok Sabha seats.

Azad met the candidates in the twin polls and reviewed the reasons of dismal show, constituency wise. After the review meeting, he also charged the BJD with misusing the official machinery during the polls.

There was a wide-scale misuse of official machinery by the ruling BJD, which led to the debacle of the Congress party in the poll," he alleged.

Azad blamed the BJD for converting the flagship schemes initiated by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) into other schemes of state government, extracting all the mileage. He conceded the "last minute changes in leadership and failure to choose the right candidate" were also responsible for the Congress's defeat.

The meeting was attended by all the candidates, district level office-bearers and other senior leaders of the party. However, Azad did not say anything about any likely change in the state unit leadership following the poll debacle. 

http://tinyurl.com/mtwsxr

 

The same charge has been levied by Sudarshan.http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=296&page=3 “The general elections have become a contempt of democracy as machines playing greater role than the voters,” Shri Sudarshan said while addressing the concluding ceremony of Sangh Shiksha Varga held at OMP Ground in Cuttack.

 

http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=296&page=8 This is a report on widespread EVM tampering in Orissa.

 Elections still can be fixed, even if voting machines can't

by David Karlsruher

When I cast my vote, does the machine record it properly? And how would I know? That’s a great question. Then there's also the question of whether electronic receipts would expose who voted for whom.

Posted on June 17, 2009

There has been no lack of controversy over electronic voting machines in recent years. What started out as a technological progression of convenience in casting and counting ballots has turned out to be a giant argument of security, anonymity and the old saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Just the other day El Paso County Judge Anthony Cobos put an item on the regular agenda to propose purchasing electronic voting machines that produce a receipt after a ballot is cast. Seems pretty simple, right? Not really.

I’m sure you remember as well as I do the controversy that has surrounded our foray into electronic voting, but do you know the history? Let’s review.

The first thing you need to know is that in the voting machine industry the touch screen type of ballot casting system you use is referred to as a Direct Recording Electronic voting system, or a “DRE” if you want to sound cool the next time you run into an elections department head. If you trust the government they’ll tell you that way back in 1996 a whopping 7.7 percent of Americans cast their ballot on a DRE voting machine. [link]

The machines at that time were approved sparingly by state governments. Remember, the Constitution provides for the states to conduct elections, which means they are responsible for setting the rules. That all changed in 2002. Why?

The infamous “hanging chads” of the 2000 election convinced Congress to pass the Help America Vote Act of 2002. While the act did not require every precinct in the nation to use DRE voting systems, it pretty much made it the most viable option for states to comply with the new standards. The government even made money available to municipalities to make the switch all that much easier. Wikipedia has pretty decent rundown of the requirements put forth in the act. [link]

The presidential election in 2004 was the first major test of the new machines. One of the major manufacturers of DRE voting systems was Diebold, Inc. Their CEO, Walden O'Dell, announced in August of 2003 that he was a fundraiser for then-President George W. Bush. Needless to say a storm of controversy has since surrounded not just Diebold-produced machines, but all DRE voting machines. Shortly thereafter charges of being able to hack the DRE machines with MacGyver-like skills and tools surged through the media, convincing almost everyone who had lost their election that they had been cheated.

Using the simplest historical high points, that’s how we find ourselves here. Feel free to rage about your personal experiences with DRE machines or the vast right wing conspiracy in the comments section below. However, do know that I didn’t steal your vote, invent the machines or ask the State of Texas to approve them. But go ahead and call me an asshole if it makes you feel better.

We now find ourselves with a question of how to authenticate our election results so that we know the winner is really the winner.

We could go back to optical scan sheets or paper ballots. They leave the often sought “paper trail” people are so sure will keep all elections secure. The initial problem with both options is the possibility of someone casting an “over vote.” An over vote occurs when a voter marks more than one candidate for a particular office. This results in the vote being thrown out given that it cannot be determined what the voter’s intent was. This was the exact problem they faced in 2000 in Florida. You can’t over vote on a DRE machine – it simply won’t let you.

The DRE machine prevents the events of Florida from recurring, but it doesn’t make any of us feel better about what happens when we electronically cast our vote. When I cast my vote, does the machine record it properly? And how would I know?

That’s a great question. A question you should have also been asking about your old paper ballots as well.

There’s no guarantee that when you take your paper ballot and put it in the ballot box as you leave that it will be counted later that night at all. Voter fraud using paper ballots is historically the most common way of stealing an election by the sheer amount of time the system has been around. Let me explain how simply this can be done.

All one needs to do to compromise a paper ballot system is to have anyone in the process of transporting the ballot box or handling the ballots on the take. Paper ballots are only counted to make sure they match up with the number of voters on that precinct’s register. At any point a new batch of ballots that have been pre-marked and of the same count can be substituted. You have no way of knowing if this happens. There is zero chance for you to verify that your vote was accurately cast. You can only check the voter rolls after the election to see if they have you marked as having voted in the last election. Nobody knows but you how you voted. If you think they got your vote wrong, what proof do you have of it? None, zero, nada – when you drop that ballot in that box you are as helpless in the process as when you cast your ballot on a DRE machine. You have no real “paper trail” with paper ballots. Your “I Voted” sticker doesn’t count, either.

Ah, but where does one get a paper ballot? They must be impossible to replicate and are under strict lock and key at all times, right? Nope. I used to have stacks of the different kinds of ballots from all around the country in my office in Washington, D.C. I simply called up the FEC and state elections offices and asked them for samples because I spent my days on the road working on getting people registered to vote and trained on how to use a voting machine. They were always more than happy to help.

I had provisional ballots, ex-pat ballots, absentee ballots, optical scan ballots and regular paper ballots. The only difference was that the optical scan and paper ballots didn’t have the printed progressive numbers below the perforated edge. A quick trip to any print shop or a person with a good number stamp could knock out thousands of valid-looking paper ballots in a day. Besides, they are quite easy to replicate. We’re not exactly talking about the new $20 bill here, are we?

Going back to the paper ballots would also mean we spent a lot of money on DRE machines we can’t use anymore. So what is a county government to do?

Well, maybe they could buy new DRE machines that print out a receipt of your vote. This doesn’t solve the problem of abandoning a bunch of expensive DRE machines, but it does appear to leave a “paper trail.” Are there any drawbacks to this perfect solution? Yes.

The folks in Ohio have required that the machines spit out a receipt of a cast ballot and have run into a very disturbing problem – people can see who voted for whom! [link

If you’re too lazy to click the link, I’ll explain. When a person casts their vote the computer must keep a record of it, obviously. When giving you a receipt it must mark that receipt in some manner that allows someone to go back and verify the ticket against the computer. A “time stamp” is the most common method of validating the receipt. Obviously the elections department retains a copy of the receipts on their system because it is what tallies the votes. All anyone has to do is get that tally and compare the time stamp to the registrar’s book. They match up the time people came in and the vote cast at that time and they know exactly how you voted. So much for a secret ballot, I guess. Anybody who has those two pieces of information has a lot of power.

Critics of the DRE voting machines giving out a receipt also point out that the receipts don’t go home with the voter as many assume. They go into a ballot box at the polling place and are considered the official count. Again, there’s no guarantee that the computer didn’t print one thing and tally another. Then there’s the whole problem with the receipts being corrupted, lost or counterfeited. You still have no record of your vote.

Basically what I’m getting to here at the end of this journey is that there isn’t currently a full proof solution on the table. We are left to either accept the imperfect methods in front of us, or keep searching. I guess what I’m saying is that if you aren’t busy, there could be a lucrative market out there for a better ballot casting and counting system.

Any change to be made at the municipal level would have to take a basic principal of change into account. Is the solution that much more secure for the cost? If the solution costs a lot of money and isn’t that much more secure, then we should probably wait until the right system comes along before we make a move.

The only request I have is that when we do find a new system – we vote on it.

***

David Karlsruher writes an occasional column for NewspaperTree.com, and blogs at Refuse the Juice.

http://www.newspapertree.com/opinion/3958-elections-still-can-be-fixed-even-if-voting-machines-can-t

EVMs not trustworthy. Scrap them. Complaints mount.

Widespread complaints of EVM tampering continue to appear. Such complaints do not add credit to the democratic process in Hindusthan. That the debate should rage is to be viewed in the context of the political turmoil caused by the assassination of Swami Lakshmanananda ji, BJD’s severance of ties with BJP and visits of people from the Church to the then CM. Interference of the church in elections had earlier been reported in Tamil Nadu in the wake of the withdrawal of the anti-conversion law and the murder charge on Kanchi Acharya. The use of moneybags by the church to achieve conversions has been reported recently on 15 June 2009 during the inter-faith dialogue in Mumbai. The increasing intrusion of the church in activities of the State should be a matter of serious concern in a democracy trying to define pseudo-secularism.

A system which people do not trust, do not understand cannot be constitutional. This was clearly enunciated in March 2009 by the German Supreme Court.

Abuse of EVMs, their transparency and auditability continue to be raging issues in USA as detailed in criticisms on security systems in EVMs. The latest report to appear (appended below) appeared on 16 June 2009

It is time Parliament is seized of this issue to re-establish credibility in the democratic processes in the country.

Kalyanaraman

Widespread complaints of EVM tampering in Orissa

Parties unite in condemning BJD manipulation
By Deepak Kumar Rath

The massive mandate in favour of BJD in Orissa has surprised the people of the state, who have raised their eyebrows at the election outcome and are questioning whether it is the people’s mandate or that of the electronic voting machines (EVMs). All predictions and surveys have proved to be wrong including that of the special branch of the government. 

The election in Orissa was conducted in two phases—on April 16 and 23. In the first phase, EVM tampering was allegedly done in some selected pockets of Ganjam district. In the second phase, it was reported to have been done on a massive scale. As a result of this, the BJD with its partners was able to capture 64 assembly seats out of 77 seats and seven parliamentary seats out of 11 seats in that phase alone. After the counting was over, it was found that the candidates, who were sure to lose even according to their own estimation, won the election by an unbelievable margin of 30 thousand to 50 thousand votes. 

It is learnt from the reliable sources that some BJD MLAs, who had never dreamt of winning the election, are attributing their win to the blessings of the BJD chief and his loyal official machinery, which allegedly helped in tampering the EVMs.Some of the BJD MLAs before the counting of the votes were told by some of the collectors that they would definitely win the election by some definite margin, which was confirmed after the counting. 

Senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Shri JB Patnaik alleged that the BJD had won the election by distributing huge amount of black money and tampering with EVMs. He demands an inquiry into the matter so that all the misdeeds of BJD could be exposed. At a press conference, the Congress leaders like Shri Sivananda Ray, state vice president, Shri Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mahapatra, state working president, and Shri Ramakrishna Patnaik also made allegations of tampering with EVMs. 

The BJP legislative party leader Shri KV Singhdeo, while talking to Organiser, said: “The issue of EVM tampering cannot be ruled out. This needs to be inquired into by a non-government international agency, involved in software development and electronic. An all-party panel should be formed, which would monitor the inquiry so that the issue could be put to rest for all time to come.” He pointed out that after the polling was over, the EVMs stored in the strong rooms, were not sealed up to 36 to 48 hours under the pretext of segregating and bifurcating votes cast to MPs and MLAs into one envelope. No political party was allowed entry within 100 metres of the strong rooms. What actually happened during that period is anybody’s guess, Shri Singhdeo added. 

The BJP state core committee presided by BJP state president Shri Suresh Pujari and attended by Shri BB Harichandan, Shri Jual Oram, Shri Dilip Roy, Shri Bijoy Mahapatra, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan and others made the similar allegations of blatant tampering with EVMs. Orissa state president of Samajwadi Party Shri Kailash Mishra and the Samrudha Orissa state president Shri Jyotish Mahanty also made accusations of tampering with EVMs citing various instances. For instance, take the case of Bhubaneswar, which this correspondent I very closely observed when he toured all over the state to observe the election there. Shri BB Harichandan, who was not only the leader of the BJP legislative party but as a minister had handled many portfolios since 1977 very effectively. In the assembly elections of 2000 and 2004, he won from the same Bhubaneswar constituency by massive margins of 96,000 and 86,000 votes respectively against his nearest rivals. Those were the highest margins in the state in both the elections. In the 2009 election, his rival the BJD candidate who appeared unworthy in the estimation of the people, won from this constituency. This was not the scenario in Bhubaneswar alone, on all the 77 assembly seats and 11 Lok Sabha seats in the second phase of election, all the popular leaders of the opposition, i.e. BJP and Congress, have been defeated, which the people are not prepared to believe. 

Tampering with EVMs was allegedly detected at many places in the state. At the Nima Sahi booth in Cuttack it was detected that all votes are recorded on the BJD symbol, though different buttons were pressed by the voters. After this issue was brought to light by the BJP candidate Shri Samir Day, there was public pressure and re-polling was conducted at this booth. Although there were similar complaints from Bhubaneswar and different parts of the state, they were not entertained. 

Another surprising factor is that the original Bhubaneswar assembly constituency has now been divided into three constituencies. In all the three constituencies, the BJP candidates including Shri Harichandan got about 11 thousand votes each—in Bhubaneswar (Central) 11,400, Bhubaneswar (Northern) 11,300 and Ekamra, (Bhubaneswar) 11,070. Not only that, in the three adjoining constituencies of Bhubaneswar, the BJP candidates got about 11 thousand votes, i.e. in Delang and Pipili 11,170 votes each and Jayadev 10,800. Is it a mere coincidence or a fishy political propaganda that all BJP candidates in those constituencies could get about votes to a definite figure, i.e., 11,000 votes? Thus, it confirms the belief that EVMs have been very meticulously programmed and tampered with. 

There is another astonishing aspect in this election that all the wellknown and reputed leaders of the opposition both BJP and Congress, who were sure to win in the public estimation, have been defeated. BJP leaders like Shri Bijay Mahapatra, Shri Brijkishore Tripathy, Shri Jual Oram, Shri Kharvel Swain and Shri Dhamendra Pradhan, and Congress leaders like Shri Nalinikant Mohanty, Shri Ramakrishna Patnaik, Shri Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mahapatra, Shri Chandrasekhar Sahu, Shri Niranjan Patnaik, Shri Jayadev Jena, and Shri Soumyaranjan Patnaik have been defeated. It appears as if a list of such leaders was prepared and then they have been butchered in a planned manner with the help of EVMs.Therefore, in Orissa the election outcome is now called yantradesh, not janadesh, i.e. it is not the mandate of the people but of the EVMs.

 http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=296&page=8

Sudarshanji questions EVMs’ credibility
By Golak Chandra Das  (excerpts)

Cuttack (Visakeo): The former RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri KS Sudarshan has questioned the credibility of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) that are being used during polls instead of ballot papers. 

“The general elections have become a contempt of democracy as machines playing greater role than the voters,” Shri Sudarshan said while addressing the concluding ceremony of Sangh Shiksha Varga held at OMP Ground here. The Pratham Verga had kicked off on May 15 and concluded on June 4. A total of 219 youth participated in the Varga at Keonjhar and Bhawanipatana. 

Second year camp started on May 15 and concluded on June 5. A total of 86 swayamsevaks participated in the second year Varga at Cuttack. 
Various political parties have successfully tampered EVMs to keep power, which was witnessed in West Bengal in way back in 2004, he added. 
“It was a shock for the democracy,” he said adding that the EVMs are not being used in developed countries like Germany and the USA. 
The party with more than 50 per cent of the whole population opposing, is ruling now, Shri Sudarshan said indirectly referring to Congress. 

http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=296&page=3

Voting machine expert criticizes "clueless" industry report

Published 16 June 2009

The Election Technology Council (ETC), a trade group comprised of the most prominent electronic voting machine vendors, has published a paper that argues against mandating source disclosure for electronic voting machine systems. The paper (PDF), which broadly conflates source disclosure and open source software licensing, dubiously contends that enabling public scrutiny of voting technology would lead to compromised security. The ETC's position is viewed with skepticism by both election transparency advocates and computer security experts. Dan Wallach—a Rice University computer science professor who has testified about voting security issues before various government bodies—wrote a rebuttal, which was published last week on the Freedom to Tinker blog. He laments the "distinctive cluelessness" of the ETC report and accuses the organization of misrepresenting the voting machine security studies that are cited in the document. The ETC attempts to argue that mandatory source disclosure for voting technology would be abusive to vendors and detrimental to the soundness of the election process. The most controversial aspect of the report is its assessment of the potential security risks associated with disclosure. The ETC argues that the potential long-term security benefits of source disclosure are not applicable to electronic voting software. In an open source software project, the availability of source code makes it possible for contributors to detect and repair vulnerabilities through a collaborative process of incremental improvement. The ETC, however, argues that election software development is not entirely conducive to participatory incrementalism, because major voting machine software updates have to go through the Election Assistance Commission's certification process. According to the ETC, the regulatory process would make it difficult to rapidly deploy fixes when members of the public detect vulnerabilities. The ETC also argues that the machines would be vulnerable to malicious attackers until the software reaches the point where it has attracted enough well-intentioned scrutiny that the holes are collaboratively found and patched. Open source communities do not emerge overnight, the ETC says, so it's unclear that disclosure would immediately lead to improvements. "It is conceded that a pure open source development model may yield comparable benefits in the long-term. However, taking a software product that was once proprietary and disclosing its full source code to the general public will result in complete forfeiture of the software's security," the report says. Wallach doesn't buy the argument. The consensus in the security community is that obscuring vulnerabilities doesn't insulate software from being exploited. "Disclosing the source code only results in a complete forfeiture of the software's security if there was never any security there in the first place," he insists. He points out that vulnerabilities are regularly found and exploited in proprietary software, even without access to the source code. All that is needed to compromise the security of any opaque software system is access to the executables and a few common debugging tools. As we have reported on several

previous occasions, the physical security of voting machines is not especially robust. There are many reported incidents, for example, where machines have been left entirely unattended. Security studies have also determined that standard voting machine physical security mechanisms—such as "tamper-proof" locks and seals—are extremely easy to circumvent without leaving a trace. This means that attackers could have ample access with which to devise exploits regardless of source code availability. Researchers have consistently been able to detect vulnerabilities in commercial voting machines and generally contend that the lack of source code availability hasn't made the process a whole lot more challenging. It's also worth noting that proprietary source code can be leaked to malicious parties without the knowledge or authorization of the vendor. On the basis of that alone, it seems like depending on secrecy to protect the integrity of voting machine systems is utter folly. Diebold—now called Premier Election Solutions—has suffered several public source code leaks over the years. The ETC paper also makes some highly questionable claims about intellectual property. The authors contend that mandatory source disclosure could potentially be unconstitutional, an assertion that is deeply misleading. "If policymakers attempt to strip the intellectual property from voting system software," the report says, "[it raises] the issue of property takings without due process and compensation, which is prohibited under the United States Constitution." There is little basis for including such a statement in a paper about the implications of code disclosure and voting transparency. Nobody is suggesting that the government should forcibly seize the code of electronic voting machines so it can be distributed under an open source license. Legislative mandates for code disclosure would never take that form. Instead, the government could potentially require code disclosure as a preqrequisite for consideration in the voting machine procurement process. There is absolutely nothing unconstitutional or unethical about that. Further, it is disingenuous to suggest that disclosure would necessarily require intellectual property rights to be ceded. As Wallach points out in his blog entry, you can have mandatory source disclosure without requiring distribution under open source licenses—meaning that vendors could open their code to public scrutiny but still retain possession of the copyrights and patents that would allow them to protect their investment. Even if all voting machine vendors did use a common open source code base, it would not eliminate the financial incentive to build voting machines. The major voting machine vendors are fundamentally selling hardware appliances, not software. Their business model would continue to be sustainable even if all of the software on the machines was broadly available under an open source license. In light of the countless technical problems that have been uncovered by expert studies of voting machines, it's possible that the ETC's opposition to code disclosure is motivated chiefly by embarrassment about the poor quality of the source code in commercial voting machines—and by a desire to obscure other failings, such as alleged intellectual property misappropriations. Public scrutiny could expose a large number of technical problems that the vendors want to keep hidden, despite the risk to election integrity that these pose.

 

http://www.nationalcybersecurity.com/blogs/1125/Voting-machine-expert-criticizes-clueless-industry-report.html

Review the 2009 Lok Sabha Election Process: Promises and Reality

Elections were held in 5 phases across India. The last phase of polling was completed on the 13th of May 2009. The counting of votes was to begin on the 16th of May 2009.

Prior to the election the Election Commission had ruled that the election will be held in 5 phases with each phase dealing with voting in geographically discrete locations. Furthermore, to avoid any potential effect of the voting pattern in a given phase over that in subsequent phase(s), Exit Polls were formally disallowed and no interim counting of votes would be conducted or permissible prior to the completion of polls in all phases. Thus by virtue of the decisions of the Election Commission the final counting of the votes was to be undertaken and completed on the 16th of May 2009. Consequently Election Commission had specifically given the impression that it had formally disallowed any preemptive counting of votes including sampling either through Exit Polls or by downloading EVM data.

The data on the final votes polled would be expected to be uploaded/made available on the http://eci.nic.in/candidateinfo/frmcandidate.aspx on the 16th of May 2009. The nature of these data would concern names of the candidates, individual party affiliation, name of the constituency, the voting phase, votes polled by each candidate. It is only a matter of serendipity that, in order to obtain the information on the names of candidates their constituencies and party affiliations that on May 6th 2009 Prof Madhav Nalapat and Dr. Anupam Saraph went to the site and must have been amazed to discover the results of the votes compiled for all five phases although the election/voting were yet to take place in phase iv and v. It thus appears that either this was mischief by some hacker or that some data was actually uploaded. The site was visited again on the 7th and 11th with the same result. In conclusion, contrary to the rules set up by the election commission, not only was the voting data for the first three phases available but surprisingly data for the two subsequent phases (before actual polling took place) appeared.

Could this have been a mistake? Some software mixup? Some sort of interference from interested parties? On the 11th they downloaded the data again to find that

The same "votes polled" data was still available

Barring a few candidates, the data was the same for most others

The data on votes was available for 8023 candidates out of 8070 for 543 Lok Sabha Constituencies well before the completion of the election process

It will be interesting to note the actual voting dates for different phases and the names of the constituencies, candidates and parties, the information for which the original exercise was undertaken by Prof Madhav Nalapat and Dr. Anupam Saraph.

The extraordinary feature of this discovery concerns availability of data at a time when the events had yet to take place such as votes for elections and vote counts yet to be held prior to the date of their availability on the http://eci.nic.in/candidateinfo/frmcandidate.aspx website. To verify the validity of this information the concerned website was continuously monitored and enquiry made with the Election Commission about possible irregularity in the vote counting and revealing processes. Surprisingly however the "votes polled" data disappeared on the 15th and did not reappear as one would have expected on the 16th, or immediately thereafter, i.e., the date of formal declarations of the results by the Election Commission. Eventually ECI seems to have uploaded the final data on June 3rd 2009. It is at this point that the June 3rd data were compared to those appeared on May 6th, 7th and 11th May. This comparison clearly shows that the actual trends preempted for all phases were mostly the same. This raises a serious question as to how was it possible to predict/prempt the voting trends for phases i to iii for which the voting had been completed but neither exit polls nor immediate counting were allowed/implied/undertaken/completed. It is even more surprising that the voting trends for the phase iv and v for which the elections had yet not taken place preempted/published/allowed/implied/undertaken/completed were similar to those from the data published on June 3rd.

The sequence of these events preceded by the nature of rules and regulations set forth by the Election Commission as a priori for the conduct of the election process for Lok Sabha 2009, India, were not followed in practice and grossly violated in form of publication of voting data on the ECI website, completely contrary to the premise of sanctity presumably guaranteed by the Election Commission. Indeed it almost makes one feel that the final result of the election was electronically preplanned. Is this possible? With all the promises made on the fool-proofedness of the security of the poll data, its storage as well as retrieval process, would it have been possible to prematurely access, download and manipulate the data contents on the EVM's? It is clear that EVM's need to be manually/electronically accessed to retrieve the data but it does not appear impossible to transmit to modify existing data. Furthermore the actual process of downloading contents from EVM's involves a "control unit" that retrieves the information/data from the "ballot unit" and reads the stored votes for manual compilation. While it is possible to manipulate data during manual compilation, this seems to be fraught with presence of too many individual operators involved in the final counting process. In contrast, however, if the control unit has a program that reads of "votes polled" that were downloaded to it from an excel spreadsheet, not unlike those that were available in coded form between May 6th and 11th the number of votes for each candidate could be manipulated.

In conclusion there is a strong possibility/probability that the election process was/could have been rigged such that specific group of candidates/political parties were favored to garner majority votes irrespective of the actual votes cast by the electorate. This is not only possible in India but it is well known that a similar situation affected the vote counting process during the US Presidential Elections in 2004 in the State of Florida.

According to Brad who quotes this article by Atul A. the EVM's used in India can be readily rigged by a Computer Scientist. With so many ifs and buts, therefore, a time has come to undertake independent inquiries by the Supreme Court and CVC and two stay the results of the last election.

--Devlem 14:57, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

 

From: http://government.wikia.com/wiki/Review_the_2009_Lok_Sabha_Election_Process:_Promises_and_Reality 

Review the 2009 Lok Sabha Election Process: Promises and Reality

Elections were held in 5 phases across India. The last phase of polling was completed on the 13th of May 2009. The counting of votes was to begin on the 16th of May 2009.

Prior to the election the Election Commission had ruled that the election will be held in 5 phases with each phase dealing with voting in geographically discrete locations. Furthermore, to avoid any potential effect of the voting pattern in a given phase over that in subsequent phase(s), Exit Polls were formally disallowed and no interim counting of votes would be conducted or permissible prior to the completion of polls in all phases. Thus by virtue of the decisions of the Election Commission the final counting of the votes was to be undertaken and completed on the 16th of May 2009. Consequently Election Commission had specifically given the impression that it had formally disallowed any preemptive counting of votes including sampling either through Exit Polls or by downloading EVM data.

The data on the final votes polled would be expected to be uploaded/made available on the http://eci.nic.in/candidateinfo/frmcandidate.aspx on the 16th of May 2009. The nature of these data would concern names of the candidates, individual party affiliation, name of the constituency, the voting phase, votes polled by each candidate. It is only a matter of serendipity that, in order to obtain the information on the names of candidates their constituencies and party affiliations that on May 6th 2009 Prof Madhav Nalapat and Dr. Anupam Saraph went to the site and must have been amazed to discover the results of the votes compiled for all five phases although the election/voting were yet to take place in phase iv and v. It thus appears that either this was mischief by some hacker or that some data was actually uploaded. The site was visited again on the 7th and 11th with the same result. In conclusion, contrary to the rules set up by the election commission, not only was the voting data for the first three phases available but surprisingly data for the two subsequent phases (before actual polling took place) appeared.

Could this have been a mistake? Some software mixup? Some sort of interference from interested parties? On the 11th they downloaded the data again to find that

The same "votes polled" data was still available

Barring a few candidates, the data was the same for most others

The data on votes was available for 8023 candidates out of 8070 for 543 Lok Sabha Constituencies well before the completion of the election process

It will be interesting to note the actual voting dates for different phases and the names of the constituencies, candidates and parties, the information for which the original exercise was undertaken by Prof Madhav Nalapat and Dr. Anupam Saraph.

The extraordinary feature of this discovery concerns availability of data at a time when the events had yet to take place such as votes for elections and vote counts yet to be held prior to the date of their availability on the http://eci.nic.in/candidateinfo/frmcandidate.aspx website. To verify the validity of this information the concerned website was continuously monitored and enquiry made with the Election Commission about possible irregularity in the vote counting and revealing processes. Surprisingly however the "votes polled" data disappeared on the 15th and did not reappear as one would have expected on the 16th, or immediately thereafter, i.e., the date of formal declarations of the results by the Election Commission. Eventually ECI seems to have uploaded the final data on June 3rd 2009. It is at this point that the June 3rd data were compared to those appeared on May 6th, 7th and 11th May. This comparison clearly shows that the actual trends preempted for all phases were mostly the same. This raises a serious question as to how was it possible to predict/prempt the voting trends for phases i to iii for which the voting had been completed but neither exit polls nor immediate counting were allowed/implied/undertaken/completed. It is even more surprising that the voting trends for the phase iv and v for which the elections had yet not taken place preempted/published/allowed/implied/undertaken/completed were similar to those from the data published on June 3rd.

The sequence of these events preceded by the nature of rules and regulations set forth by the Election Commission as a priori for the conduct of the election process for Lok Sabha 2009, India, were not followed in practice and grossly violated in form of publication of voting data on the ECI website, completely contrary to the premise of sanctity presumably guaranteed by the Election Commission. Indeed it almost makes one feel that the final result of the election was electronically preplanned. Is this possible? With all the promises made on the fool-proofedness of the security of the poll data, its storage as well as retrieval process, would it have been possible to prematurely access, download and manipulate the data contents on the EVM's? It is clear that EVM's need to be manually/electronically accessed to retrieve the data but it does not appear impossible to transmit to modify existing data. Furthermore the actual process of downloading contents from EVM's involves a "control unit" that retrieves the information/data from the "ballot unit" and reads the stored votes for manual compilation. While it is possible to manipulate data during manual compilation, this seems to be fraught with presence of too many individual operators involved in the final counting process. In contrast, however, if the control unit has a program that reads of "votes polled" that were downloaded to it from an excel spreadsheet, not unlike those that were available in coded form between May 6th and 11th the number of votes for each candidate could be manipulated.

In conclusion there is a strong possibility/probability that the election process was/could have been rigged such that specific group of candidates/political parties were favored to garner majority votes irrespective of the actual votes cast by the electorate. This is not only possible in India but it is well known that a similar situation affected the vote counting process during the US Presidential Elections in 2004 in the State of Florida.

According to Brad who quotes this article by Atul A. the EVM's used in India can be readily rigged by a Computer Scientist. With so many ifs and buts, therefore, a time has come to undertake independent inquiries by the Supreme Court and CVC and two stay the results of the last election.

--Devlem 14:57, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

 

From: http://government.wikia.com/wiki/Review_the_2009_Lok_Sabha_Election_Process:_Promises_and_Reality

Say yes to Hand Counted Paper Ballots (HCPB); say no to Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs)

9 June 2009

Here is an overview to establish that use of EVMs are unconstitutional.

Let us revert to the democratic election process prescribed in the Uttaramerur inscription of 10th century; let us follow the true democratic traditions of Hindusthan.

9th November 1948 Constituent Assemby debate

Shri T. Prakasam (Madras: General): The Honourable Mr.Madhava Rau said that the ballot box and ballot paper werenot known to our ancestors. I would like to point out tohim, Sir, that the ballot box and the ballet papers weredescribed in an inscription on the walls of a temple in thevillages of Uttaramerur, twenty miles from Conjeevaram.Every detail is given there. The ballot box was a pot withthe mouth tied and placed on the ground with a hole made atthe bottom and the ballot paper was the kadjan leaf andadult franchise was exercised. The election took place notonly for that village but for the whole of India. This wasjust a thousand years ago. 

http://164.100.47.134/newls/constituent/vol7p5b.html

Kalyanaraman

Electronic Vocing Machines (EVMs) contradict the public nature of elections – German Supreme Court (March 2009).

An average citizen should be able to understand how the vote is recorded and tallied. EVMs make this impossible, hence they are declared unconstitutional, violating the principle of equal .rights. A computer nerd using PROMs (Programmable Read Only Memories), not even Bharat Electronics nor Electronic Corporation of India who are supposed to make the EVMs used in Indian elections, cannot take away this equal protection constitutional mandate.

Occam’s razor applies; the simplest system is the best…Hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB) are used around the world…HCPB represents the best system for democratic elections.  It is the least expensive, the easiest to secure from fraud, and the most transparent.  Paper ballots should be hand-counted at the polling site on election night before all who wish to observe.  The count could be videotaped and web-streamed to ensure greater access in observing the vote count.  Precinct level (polling site) results should be immediately posted at the polling site for public inspection over the next several days, to ensure that county level reporting matches polling site reports. 

Josef Stalin warned, “it’s not who votes that counts; it’s who counts the votes.” 

The right of an elector to vote is conferred by the Constitution…. [the elector] is entitled to see that his vote has been given full force and effect…. any method of holding an election which would deprive the electors…. of the right of casting their ballots and having effect given to the votes so cast would plainly be unconstitutional. (Emphasis supplied)  See Deister v Wintermute, 194 NY 99, 108…

The system requires ultimate trust, since it produces an election outcome that cannot be independently verified.   .. As long as we continue to vote on systems which count the vote in secret, we lack democracy.  Without transparent elections, we are no longer a free people.  But by direct participation in a hand-counted process, we quickly move toward the democratic ideal of a free people.   

In the case of voting systems, the only meaningful security against insider attacks is to have a voting mechanism of which all the details are published and that a substantial portion of the general public is capable of comprehending in-depth..

A key idea underlying high assurance techniques is that security should be part of the design and implementation of the system and not added on “after the fact”.. 

http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voting_systems/ttbr/red_overview.pdf

 

Source: http://www.myfedgrants.com/federal-grants/dec-2007-annotated-bibliography-of-voting-system-reports/2009/06

Dec. 2007 Annotated Bibliography of Voting System Reportshttp://www.wheresthepaper.org/DecRadyAnandaTechReports.pdf

 

U.S. Commission on Federal Election Reform. Building Confidence in U.S.

Elections. September 2005. Accessed December 11, 2007.

http://www.american.edu/ia/cfer/report/full_report.pdf

Former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and former President Jimmy Carter, who

were co-chairmen of the bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform, warned in

their 2005 final report that (fraud) could happen.

“Software can be modified maliciously before being installed into individual voting machines.

There is no reason to trust insiders in the election industry any more than in other

industries.”

…a small number of votes is loaded for one candidate, offset by a large

number of votes for the opposing candidate such that the sum of the numbers, because of

the overflow, will be zero. The large number is designed to trigger an integer overflow such

that after a certain number of votes is received it will flip the vote counter over to begin

counting from zero for that candidate.

 

Main security strengths of the election process

 

·  the openness of the election process, which permits observation of counting and

other aspects of election procedure;

·  the decentralization of elections and the division of labor among different levels

of government and different groups of people;

·  equipment that produces redundant trusted recordings of votes; and

·  the public nature and control of the election process.

 

Germany's Supreme Court court has ruled in March 2009 that the use of electronic voting in the last general election was unconstitutional… Constitutional judge Andreas Vosskuhle said that the judgment did not rule out digital voting for once and for all, but added that the equipment used four years ago did have shortcomings.
...
The use of electronic voting was challenged by a father-and-son team. Political scientist Joachim Wiesner and son, physicist Ulrich Wiesner complained that push button voting was not transparent because the voter could not see what actually happened to his vote inside the computer and was required to place "blind faith" in the technology.

In addition, the two plaintiffs argued that the results were open to manipulation.

http://www.bradblog.com/?p=6961

 

German voters to revert to pen and paper, court rules

March 3rd, 2009 - 5:29 pm ICT by IANS -

Berlin, March 3 (DPA) Voting booths in Germany can no longer be equipped with electronic “vote computers”, the German Constitutional Court ruled Tuesday.
At this year’s general election due in September, voters can expect to use pen and paper, after the Karlsruhe-based court ruled that the machines contradict the public nature of elections.

The terminals, which electronically register a voter’s choice, have been used in German elections for 10 years, including the 2005 general election when 2 million people voted by button.

Voters should not need to be computer literate to register their choice, the judges ruled. They also criticised the fact that the machines didn’t let voters check what choice they had made.

For this reason it was difficult to detect programming errors or deliberate manipulation of the machines.

There has been no evidence of the machines having failed in the past, therefore the results of previous elections remain valid.

http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/politics/german-voters-to-revert-to-pen-and-paper-court-rules_100162114.html

 

March 24, 2009-07-08 McClatchy Washington Bureau

 

Most electronic voting isn't secure, CIA expert says

Greg Gordon | McClatchy Newspapers

last updated: March 24, 2009 04:27:14 PM

WASHINGTON — The CIA, which has been monitoring foreign countries' use of electronic voting systems, has reported apparent vote-rigging schemes in Venezuela, Macedonia and Ukraine and a raft of concerns about the machines' vulnerability to tampering.

Appearing last month before a U.S. Election Assistance Commission field hearing in Orlando, Fla., a CIA cybersecurity expert suggested that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his allies fixed a 2004 election recount, an assertion that could further roil U.S. relations with the Latin leader.

In a presentation that could provide disturbing lessons for the United States, where electronic voting is becoming universal, Steve Stigall summarized what he described as attempts to use computers to undermine democratic elections in developing nations. His remarks have received no news media attention until now.

Stigall told the Election Assistance Commission, a tiny agency that Congress created in 2002 to modernize U.S. voting, that computerized electoral systems can be manipulated at five stages, from altering voter registration lists to posting results.

"You heard the old adage 'follow the money,' " Stigall said, according to a transcript of his hour-long presentation that McClatchy obtained. "I follow the vote. And wherever the vote becomes an electron and touches a computer, that's an opportunity for a malicious actor potentially to . . . make bad things happen."

Stigall said that voting equipment connected to the Internet could be hacked, and machines that weren't connected could be compromised wirelessly. Eleven U.S. states have banned or limited wireless capability in voting equipment, but Stigall said that election officials didn't always know it when wireless cards were embedded in their machines.

While Stigall said that he wasn't speaking for the CIA and wouldn't address U.S. voting systems, his presentation appeared to undercut calls by some U.S. politicians to shift to Internet balloting, at least for military personnel and other American citizens living overseas. Stigall said that most Web-based ballot systems had proved to be insecure.

The commission has been criticized for giving states more than $1 billion to buy electronic equipment without first setting performance standards. Numerous computer-security experts have concluded that U.S. systems can be hacked, and allegations of tampering in Ohio, Florida and other swing states have triggered a campaign to require all voting machines to produce paper audit trails.

The CIA got interested in electronic systems a few years ago, Stigall said, after concluding that foreigners might try to hack U.S. election systems. He said he couldn't elaborate "in an open, unclassified forum," but that any concerns would be relayed to U.S. election officials.

Stigall, who's studied electronic systems in about three dozen countries, said that most countries' machines produced paper receipts that voters then dropped into boxes. However, even that doesn't prevent corruption, he said.

Turning to Venezuela, he said that Chavez controlled all of the country's voting equipment before he won a 2004 nationwide recall vote that had threatened to end his rule.

When Chavez won, Venezuelan mathematicians challenged results that showed him to be consistently strong in parts of the country where he had weak support. The mathematicians found "a very subtle algorithm" that appeared to adjust the vote in Chavez's favor, Stigall said.

Calls for a recount left Chavez facing a dilemma, because the voting machines produced paper ballots, Stigall said.

"How do you defeat the paper ballots the machines spit out?" Stigall asked. "Those numbers must agree, must they not, with the electronic voting-machine count? . . . In this case, he simply took a gamble."

Stigall said that Chavez agreed to allow 100 of 19,000 voting machines to be audited.

"It is my understanding that the computer software program that generated the random number list of voting machines that were being randomly audited, that program was provided by Chavez," Stigall said. "That's my understanding. It generated a list of computers that could be audited, and they audited those computers.

"You know. No pattern of fraud there."

A Venezuelan Embassy representative in Washington declined immediate comment.

The disclosure of Stigall's remarks comes amid recent hostile rhetoric between President Barack Obama and Chavez. On Sunday, Chavez was quoted as reacting hotly to Obama's assertion that he's been "exporting terrorism," referring to the new U.S. president as a "poor ignorant person."

Questions about Venezuela's voting equipment caused a stir in the United States long before Obama became president, because Smartmatic, a voting machine company that partnered with a firm hired by Chavez's government, owned U.S.-based Sequoia Voting Systems until 2007. Sequoia machines were in use in 16 states and the District of Columbia at the time.

Reacting to complaints that the arrangement was a national security concern, the Treasury Department's Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States launched an investigation. Smartmatic then announced in November 2007 that it had sold Sequoia to a group of investors led by Sequoia's U.S.-based management team, thus ending the inquiry.

In the former Soviet republic of Georgia, Stigall said, hackers took resurrecting the dead to "a new art form" by adding the names of people who'd died in the 18th century to computerized voter-registration lists. Macedonia was accused of "voter genocide" because the names of so many Albanians living in the country were eradicated from the computerized lists, Stigall said.

He said that elections also could be manipulated when votes were cast, when ballots were moved or transmitted to central collection points, when official results were tabulated and when the totals were posted on the Internet.

In Ukraine, Stigall said, opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko lost a 2004 presidential election runoff because supporters of Russian-backed Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych "introduced an unauthorized computer into the Ukraine election committee national headquarters. They snuck it in.

"The implication is that these people were . . . making subtle adjustments to the vote. In other words, intercepting the votes before it goes to the official computer for tabulation."

Taped cell-phone calls of the ensuing cover-up led to nationwide protests and a second runoff, which Yushchenko won.

Election Assistance Commission officials didn't trumpet Stigall's appearance Feb. 27, and he began by saying that he didn't wish to be identified. However, the election agency had posted his name and biography on its Web site before his appearance.

Electronic voting systems have been controversial in advanced countries, too. Germany's constitutional court banned computerized machines this month on the grounds that they don't allow voters to check their choices.

Stigall said that some countries had taken novel steps that improved security.

For example, he said, Internet systems that encrypt vote results so they're unrecognizable during transmission "greatly complicates malicious corruption." Switzerland, he noted, has had success in securing Internet voting by mailing every registered citizen scratch cards that contain unique identification numbers for signing on to the Internet. Then the voters must answer personal security questions, such as naming their mothers' birthplaces.

Stigall commended Russia for transmitting vote totals over classified communication lines and inviting hackers to test its electronic voting system for vulnerabilities. He said that Russia now hoped to enable its citizens to vote via cell phones by next year.

"As Russia moves to a one-party state," he said, "they're trying to make their elections available . . . so everyone can vote for the one party. That's the irony."

After reviewing Stigall's remarks, Susannah Goodman, the director of election reform for the citizens' lobby Common Cause, said they showed that "we can no longer ignore the fact that all of these risks are present right here at home . . . and must secure our election system by requiring every voter to have his or her vote recorded on a paper ballot."

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