"Sad that EC has backed out of hackathon," the Delhi Chief Minister had tweeted on Friday evening after the poll body meeting to reassure political parties that the voting machines could not be tampered. For the hackathon proposed by the poll body, the AAP leaders wanted the commission to give them an EVM to hack. The commission refused.
But a south African country that is preparing to introduce Made In India voting machines in the next round of elections scheduled for 2019 is ready. Given the heat that the EVMs have generated over the last few years, Botswana's plan has been viewed suspiciously by the opposition that has also approached the courts.
Next week's hackathon is aimed at setting such fears at rest.
On Thursday, it will hold a demonstration of the machines with the voter verifiable paper audit trail, or VVPAT, which offers instant evidence of the vote recorded by printing a paper receipt visible before it drops into a sealed box.
Next, it will give people with the know how to disrupt, hack and compromise the secure performance of the machines to do so, said a notice put out by the government on its Facebook page, and reported by multiple regional online media outlets.
"All those with the technical capability to hack the EVM are invite to come forward," the notice said. The event will be held on 18 May but the deadline to register for the hackathon ends today.
AAP legislator Saurabh Bharadwaj had on Tuesday "hacked" a gadget "similar to an EVM" in the Delhi Assembly to make the point that voting machines can be tampered in "under 90 seconds" by changing the motherboard.
One engineer from the public sector, Bharat Electronics Limited told NDTV that it was fallacious to claim that an EVM could be tampered if its motherboard was replaced. If you replace an EVM's motherboard with that of a transistor, it can play songs.
"But it won't be an EVM any longer," he argued.