I am shocked at allegation of #EVM #hacking? #ElectionCommission of India has made elaborate guidelines to b followed during #election. If Strictly adhered, not a single mistake can crept in? It’s a multilayered checks-checkpoints.
Most simple is that at #PollingStation or Booth at first a #Mock Poll is conducted in presence of candidates or their polling agents-duly appointed by candidates-party. Mock poll confirms that EVM machine functions correctly. If one polling agent of a candidate pressed button two times & similarly all polling agents cast their mock vote. In end just to show the result Presiding officer demonstrate that how many votes are recorded in EVM. If any discrepancy is found, polling agents can demand another Mock Poll or register complains or another machine EVM can be setup for the purpose. All this happens within polling station and before polling starts on that day. Later, if all ok, means everyone agrees that EVM is working properly then, following a procedure EVM is sealed. There is a paper seal given to each polling party, it has serial number on it. These numbers are already registered somewhere. While fixing this paper seal in the EVM all poling agents can put their signature, if they desire. They ought to note that serial number with them. Two or three places the thread/lac seal is still fixed, along with a tag, Containing all details of polling station number, signature etc, as the case may be.
Prior to distribution of EVM to each polling party(a team of govt servants) proper records are maintained at the distribution centre. After election/poling is over earlier their were certain types of returns are to be filled up and kept under sealed cover. These have all details of paper seal-serial numbers, EVM number, total number of voters for that polling booth, number of votes casted, recorded in machine, Gender-wise voters. Again after voting at each poling station the EVM is sealed again properly, along-with tag, with details. Finally when door of EVM is closed and properly sealed, no one can enter VOTE. I mean without breaking so many tags, seals then only the crucial button can be accessed. But then each and every destruction can be noticed. In event of any problem, Presiding/polling officer can trigger a button, if any untoward things happens at polling station, after that no vote can be casted in that EVM. Earlier we have seen many of such news items on TV when BOOTH CAPTURING were reported. In those incidents BALLET PAPER were managed, bogus voting was done. In our remote villages/rural areas, such incidents happened but no one could dare to report these incidents, fearing backlash from DABANG, DON, MAFIA, LAND LORDS and POLITICAL GOONs of those areas. But now many cases are reported as Proper Security forces are deployed at polling station. Even VIDEO recording are done in areas, Election Commission so as to avoid such or any incident. Based on Video footage Election Commission, inquire and take necessary action too. Now days Opposition and all candidates are so well aware of these VIDEOGRAPHY by Election Commission, even they get a chance to register complain along-with these videos done by Election Commission.
Even New MEDIA is so well equipped that they also cover Elections, via Direct Telecast Voting process. Video reporting or so called LIVE REPORTING. Each and Every step/Action by candidates is recorded by MEDIA, and even People(common people- not leaving out supporters too) they are well equipped by the Technology. Video Mobile Phones, and Hidden Cameras. Now days we see lots of STING OPERATIONS by News Channels. They immediately highlight if any illegal incident happens. We are now used to see BREAKING NEWS.
At the COUNTING centres, counting agents are appointed by each candidate/party. At a designated counting centres all such representatives of contesting candidates enter and take their place at designated TABLE. First EVM is brought to counting table. Then its details are shown or told to all those present. If any discrepancy arises/noted, immediately these agents make hue and cry. If no then counting progresses.
On the table where Postal Ballets are counted, all contesting candidates are seated in front of it, or their representative. One for each candidate can sit and see the proceeding from that table. Postal Ballet packets are opened and counted in front of candidates. Thus at each and every step Election Commission guidelines are very clear about taking steps for total TRANSPERACY in entire poling/Voting process.
When I was Returning Officer for one election in Municipal, for few days there was no times for any laziness. I used to survey all polling stations so as to see the conditions, whether electricity, water and sanitation facility is properly available. I have written few of such shortcomings to the main election managers. I talked to people, such principals, head or in-charges of those govt buildings in which all poling stations were earmarked. One of my intention was to see how palling party comprising of govt workers are going to rest in those polling stations. They ought to have proper facility. I had even discussed in few offices that kindly let open that room so that they can take rest in night-instead of getting bitten by Mosquitoes and without fan? In summers? To these on my discussion few govt officers might have laughed at me? But I don’t care. I had to do my job seriously as a RETURNING OFFICER. During election times all such govt functionaries are considered working on LOAN with ELECTION COMMISSION.
From start at the main election cell of any state or district or Taluk/Tehsil, work starts with regular interaction with political parties and contesting candidates.
They are given various instructions. They are told about process of EVM, all political parties, candidates are shown functioning of EVMs at various stages. Even when at the main centre, prior to distribution when al Returning officers and teams are called to check and prepare EVM and polling materials that time we were also instructed to invite all contesting candidates to the Main centre. At such occasions they inspect and witness all process along with our teams- Actually they participate in all such activities- It’s called actual People’s participation. Many meetings are conducted along-with political parties/contesting candidates and all media persons too. Every action happens in full media galore!
Recently held state assembly elections such as MP, Rajasthan, Chattisgarh etc News on TV channels shown that political party’s people gheraoed the strong room and kept overnight vigil there, so as to see/monitor movements of EVM?
At slightest controversy Election Commission immediately takes action. Even recommends transfers of IAS, IPS etc officers.
EVM cannot be hacked? As each poling station/booth has different population of VOTERS. On the poling day EVM cannot predict as to how many VOTESR will cast their votes. How many votes will be registered in EVM. Today heard on one TV channel that one secretary of Maharashtra, Congress party told that someone telephoned him asking money in exchange of hacking EVM? He said that that person said 2 days before he can tell that by how much margin they are going to win?
These statements are crucial. As who is that someone? His number may be available with Mr Pakash/Prasad? Such things are very serious nature, and he cannot say that he ignored the number and did not notice(recorded) that number? He did not talk to anyone else in his party? He didn’t talk/report it to his party president?
And another point is that no one can predict as to how many votes are casted in EVM? If after poling happens, EVM machines are brought to strong room and locked then no one can open that strong room. Now days even Keys are kept under proper watch. I experienced a new thing. When strong room was locked. Few people properly wrapped the lock and latch with cloth and then lac seal is affixed. So that even if someone tries to open then it can come to light? Moreover in 2014-15 proper Video recording was done when I was locking the lock and door of strong room. In that strong groom EVMs of two RO-Returning Officers were kept together. So other person was also supposed to put the lock. He said it is ok with me that Mishra ji locks and keep keys with him. I said NO. If so much FANFARE is done, all Videography was done, if I am a celebrity? Then he ought to have his own key and lock? So that next day when strong room is opened he brings his own keys? Instead of blaming me for, if anything happened?
Thus two keys and two locks were put on door of STRONG ROOM and on counting day both Returning officers had to open their locks. He came late so I had to keep waiting for some time for his to arrive and open with his set of keys. All these things are Videographed.
Even when the last day when withdrawing names was allowed, and result of acceptance of candidature was supposed to be announced, a team came and did Video recording of all proceeding in my room??? What I said and what all candidates said? My god that time I also felt STRESS!!
We are also Human beings so it is natural certain shortcomings do happen once a while. But blaming whole process is wrong.
Now this VVPAT happens. Each VOTER can see/check/Recheck as to his vote was correctly recorded or not? A print out of a slip comes out of EVM with name/symbol of candidate to which votes is casted.
In media there was a news item about malfunctioning of EVM. When the Election Officer-IAS- randomly checked VVPT then media shown that printout was wrong. It can never happen. There is a panel on front of EVM where list of candidates is fixed along with their SYMBOL. Accordingly the button functions. But if while printing that list of fixing that list on EVM is done with mistake then, such kind of malfunctioning can crop up. But when officials check functioning of EVM months before the Elections that time itself such problems are sorted out. It may be mistake of persons and not of EVM