Is This For Real, Asks Arvind Kejriwal On Election Commission's EVM (Vote Machines) Hackathon

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Is This For Real, Asks Arvind Kejriwal On Election Commission's EVM (Vote Machines) Hackathon

EVM hacking possible, can prove within 24 hours, Arvind Kejriwal has said, targeting Election Commission

New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. 10-day hackathon in May to see if voting machines can be gamed
  2. It's Election Commission's response to opposition parties
  3. Opposition says voting machines can be rigged, wants ballot paper
Arvind Kejriwal, who has argued vociferously against Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), says that he's unconvinced about a 10-day hackathon promised next month by the powerful Election Commission, which wants to prove that the machines cannot be rigged.

"Has anyone actually seen any official statement from CEC (Chief Election Commissioner)? Am trying to get it since eve. Is this news correct?" the Delhi Chief Minister tweeted yesterday. His questions came after sources in the Commission said that in the beginning of May, techies, scientists and others can take a crack at trying to game the machines which will be made available at its main office in Delhi.

Dates for the hackathon are to be announced later today, according to sources.

Mr Kejriwal, an IIT graduate, has been asking for access to a voting machine, claiming that it will take him 24 hours to prove it can be manipulated.

His complaint was made after his Aam Aadmi Party or AAP defied expectations and placed second in the recent election in Punjab. Exit polls had predicted that AAP would either win the state last month or deliver a photo finish. Instead, the Congress won with a wide margin.

Mr Kejriwal has said that EVMs should not be used in the approaching municipal election in Delhi, which will test his popularity mid-way through his term. Today, his party was reduced to third place in a crucial by-election in the capital.  

Because of his accusation of the Punjab result being inaccurate, Mr Kejriwal was excluded from a bloc of 13 parties collated by the Congress to formally complain about EVMs being fixed for the recent elections in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, which chose the BJP in record numbers.

The Congress has conveniently not referred to any misappropriation of EVMs in Punjab, its sole electoral win in recent years. Contradicting his party, Punjab's new Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh, told NDTV last night, "If EVMs were fixed, I would not be sitting here."

The opposition says that by refusing to release funds sought by the Election Commission to buy new voting machines (VVPATs) for the next general election in 2019, the government has exposed its proclivity for malpractice.

VVPATs (Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail) are machines that dispense a paper receipt that is visible to the voter before it falls into a sealed box. Not enough of them are used in elections, the opposition said.

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