Voters’ thumbs up to VVPAT system for EVMs

Posted on July 24th, 2011 by Narasimha Rao  |  Comments Off

In the wake of criticism over the past two years and unanimous demand by political parties for election reform, the ECI was under pressure to reform the voting system to restore the confidence of the public and the political class. But to the credit of the Election Commission under Chief Election Commissioner Dr. S.Y. Quraishi, it has not only initiated reform efforts in the form of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system but has done it enthusiastically.
Today, to test the viability of the newly developed Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system, a filed trial was carried out in six districts including some remote and difficult terrain locations in different parts of the country. In each district, the filed trial was carried out in 36 polling stations and in each polling station, up to 1000 voters were mobilized to cast votes on the EVMs to test the ruggedness and accuracy of the operation of [...]

Why it is necessary to make ‘Paper Trail’ work for India’s EVMs?

Posted on October 18th, 2010 by Narasimha Rao  |  Comments Off

On October 4, at the All-party meeting convened by the Election Commission of India (ECI), there was a consensus among all political parties that the ECI must introduce a system of Voter Verified Paper Trail (VVPAT). Showing some flexibility after many months of stiff resistance, the ECI had agreed to explore implementation of the VVPAT option in the EVMs. As promised, the ECI has referred the matter to its Expert Committee headed by P.V. Indiresan to study the feasibility of introducing VVPAT.
What is Voter verified paper trail?
Voter verified paper trail (VVPAT) refers to a system wherein a printer attached with the voting machine produces a paper printout of every vote cast just as an ATM produces a slip after every transaction. The voter verifies it for its accuracy and then it is stored in a ballot box as a separate record of votes, independent of the electronic record stored in the EVM.
Why paper trail is [...]

All-Party Meeting on EVMs echoes a Consensus on EVMs with Paper Trail

Posted on October 4th, 2010 by Narasimha Rao  |  2 Comments »

An all-party meeting was held today at the Election Commission of India’s Nirvachan Sadan to discuss electronic voting machines (EVMs) besides many other issues requiring electoral reform.
In the morning, all national parties including the Congress, CPM, CPI, BSP and NCP have in principle endorsed the BJP’s view articulated by its  senior party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad that the Election Commission shall examine provision of a paper back up for the EVMs in the form of a physical print out of every vote for the voters as an acknowledgement that their vote has been recorded properly. (See the following report)
And, in the afternoon, leaders of a large number of state political parties have endorsed a specific model of a “printer attached with the ballot unit of an EVM” presented by TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu in a power point presentation to provide paper trail for the EVMs.
As per Naidu’s design, each ballot printout comprising the party symbol [...]

EC-Ashok Chavan ‘deal’ to harass EVM critics?

Posted on September 22nd, 2010 by Narasimha Rao  |  1 Comment »

A month after the arrest of Hari Prasad, the Election Commission of India (ECI) is continuing with its harassment agenda in the missing EVM case used for demonstrating the vulnerabilities of the EVMs and proving the claims of the ECI to be untrue.
A month after the arrest of Hari Prasad, the Election Commission of India (ECI) is continuing with its harassment agenda in the missing EVM case used for demonstrating the vulnerabilities of the EVMs and proving the claims of the ECI to be untrue.

Mukund Lagoo, an activist fighting for tribal rights was arrested 10 days ago and is languishing in jail. Mumbai Police’s application seeking cancellation of Hari Prasad’s bail (apparently drafted by the Election Commission) threatens his arrest again. Mumbai Police are not stopping there. They plan to summon Hari Prasad’s colleagues in NetIndia for questioning. The list is unlikely to stop there.

The series of [...]

Losers must trust election results, not just winners

Posted on September 14th, 2010 by Narasimha Rao  |  1 Comment »

At the FAME seminar on electoral reforms last Sunday, chief election commissioner S.Y. Quraishi recalled the instance of a candidate who lost by one vote in the 2008 Rajasthan assembly elections. The candidate was C.P. Joshi, the then Congress state president and present rural development minister in the UPA government at the Centre. At the request of C.P. Joshi, a recount of postal ballots (less than 200 hundred) was ordered and a re-tabulation of the votes was done on the EVMs. Yet, the difference was the same one vote and Joshi was declared lost.
While Quraishi emphasizes Joshi’s case to say that the counting of votes in our elections is fair, the reality is that this “recount” of votes cannot be considered to be a proper recount at all. This amounted to merely checking if any clerical errors were made in totaling the votes polled in different EVMs as the results are noted [...]


Posted on September 9th, 2010 by Narasimha Rao  |  2 Comments »

Maoists can run away with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). Election Commission of India (ECI) feels helpless. It says it can do nothing about it. Chief election commissioner S.Y. Quraishi said as much to the BJP delegation which met him last week.

Goons and criminals can run away with EVMs. ECI does nothing except filing FIRs.
Nearly 80 machines have been stolen as per ECI’s own admission. As Quraishi himself says, no arrests have been made in the past.
But the Election Commission of India (ECI) shows overzealousness in harassing Hari Prasad for merely using an EVM made available to him for vulnerability demonstration.
The ECI is pursuing vengeful agenda against Hari Prasad for being a whistle blower by publicly demonstrating the vulnerabilities of EVMs and nailing its egregious lies about some fictional magical qualities of the EVMs unknown in the field of electronic security.


Now, the latest update on ECI’s continuing [...]

BJP demands EVMs with paper audit trail, Election Commission dodges demand

Posted on September 4th, 2010 by Narasimha Rao  |  7 Comments »

L.K. Advani, chairman of the BJP parliamentary party and Nitin Gadkari, National President of the BJP have repeatedly asserted the need for a reform in the voting system and have in fact demanded that the system of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) with Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) should be implemented. The party remains firmly committed to this demand.
Reiterating this demand for introduction of EVMs with a paper back up to ensure transparency and to provide an audit trail, the BJP yesterday urged the Election Commission to convene an All-party meeting to discuss concerns of various parties regarding EVMs. In its response, the Commission said that an All-party meeting will be convened in the near future (?) but providing a paper back up (VVPAT) as demanded by the BJP would be difficult as there are likely to be lots of printer related problems.
The delegation was led by Ravi Shankar Prasad, chief spokesman and General [...]

ECI’s conduct and “conspiracy” theories make the EVMs suspect

Posted on August 30th, 2010 by Narasimha Rao  |  3 Comments »

Every time there is some expose, there is an attempt to shoot the messengers. That a research paper prepared by Hari Prasad, Alex Halderman (Asst. Professor, University of Michigan) and Rop Gonggrijp (Dutch expert) et al. on on their EVM demonstration has been chosen for presentation at an international conference on computer security to be held in Chicago is significant. Read the Hindustan Times report here.
Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS) is the one of the world’s most highly rated computer security conferences. Being selected for presentation at this conference is in itself regarded as evidence that the paper has  solid research value. Not just that. The paper on Indian EVMs had received the highest score in its rankings thus making it the best paper to be submitted from this year’s submissions. Check it out yourself at the following link.
Does anyone need more to establish that the tamperability demonstration by these technical experts was a [...]

Hari Prasad’s arrest smacks of vendetta by the ECI, VeTA demands immediate acquittal

Posted on August 26th, 2010 by Narasimha Rao  |  1 Comment »

Peeved by the EVM researchers’ research findings that “India’s EVMs are vulnerable to fraud”, Election Commission hit back at the critics with the vengeance unknown to the scientific community around the world. Arrest of Hari Prasad Technical Coordinator of VeTA on charges of theft, house trespass or house breaking etc. under sections 380, 454 and 457 smacks of intolerance and vendetta.
Public Relations exercise
By its vicious actions, the Election Commission of India has earned notoriety worldwide. We are getting messages of solidarity from the scientific community worldwide for this witch-hunt. Why is then the ECI feigning ignorance and innocence in the matter? Flustered by the public outcry, the ECI is indulging in a public relations and damage control exercise to save itself from further embarrassment.
Proof of ECI’s role
What makes the role of the ECI in pressing charges against Hari Prasad is the sweeping nature of allegations in the complaint by the District Collector/ District Election [...]

The ‘story’ behind Hari Prasad’s arrest and its aftermath

Posted on August 24th, 2010 by Narasimha Rao  |  8 Comments »

For most of you concerned about the plight of Hari Prasad, let me give you the good news. He is doing fine. On the legal front, the father-son duo of Ram Jethmalani and Mahesh Jethmalani, India’s ace criminal lawyers whom I met yesterday in Mumbai agreed to defend Hari Prasad in the case. Mahesh Jethmalani will appear in court on behalf of Hari Prasad. Both the lawyers were horrified that a technologist with good intentions of strengthening democracy was being harassed in this manner raising serious question marks about the motives. Watch out for one of the most fascinating battles for saving democracy from one of the country’s finest lawyers.
I made a day’s trip to Mumbai yesterday to have a ‘feel’ of the ground situation, to tie up the legal help and to explore other factors leading to the arrest. Some shocking facts have surfaced.

Hari Prasad: An “ECI” don!!
The kind of attention [...]