Archive for July, 2010


VeTA petitions the President of India to intervene on the vexed EVM issue

Posted by Narasimha Rao under COUNTDOWN

As the Election Commission of India has been non-responsive to the demand for a debate by various political parties and has resorted to falsification over the issue of EVMs, VeTA felt compelled to petition the President of India to suitably intervene on the EVM issue. This is the first of a series of such letters VeTA proposes to write to all premier institutions in the country to galvanise public opinion.
The text of my letter dated July 17 addressed to the President of India is reproduced below.
Mahamahim Rashtrapatiji,
As a noted election analyst in the country and as the author of the lone publication on India’s electronic voting machines (EVMs) titled “Democracy at Risk! Can we trust our Electronic Voting Machines?,” I am writing to urge you to kindly intervene in a suitable manner at this juncture to protect the integrity of Indian elections being presently conducted through EVMs.
Even as the introduction of EVMs has brought efficiency [...]

EVM saga to enter Apex Court as the Election Commission mulls closure of EVM “enquiry”

Posted by Narasimha Rao under COUNTDOWN

As the present chief election commissioner Navin Chawla’s term draws to a close, the ECI has once again invited V.V. Rao, petitioner who filed the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court of India in July, 2009 to demonstrate that the Indian EVMs can be tampered with. The enquiry began last July when the Supreme Court directed the petitioners to approach the Election Commission of India (ECI) in the first instance with all their complaints concerning EVMs.
The ECI’s invitation, as a part of the ongoing “enquiry” into allegations of EVM tampering, began exactly a year ago. Despite the best efforts of the ECI to close the enquiry, the issue of EVM tamperability has acquired much greater visibility and credibility among the key stakeholders in the past 12 months. The latest protest action of Telangana Rastra Samithi (TRS) that forced the ECI to introduce paper ballots in Telangana bypolls later this month is proof [...]

Election Commission forced to use paper ballots in Telangana bypolls: EVMs would be gone soon nationally

Posted by Narasimha Rao under COUNTDOWN

“ECI preparing for life without EVMs..?”

I have been repeatedly asserting in this blog that the EVMs would soon be history. Many of my friends and EVM critics wondered if this was possible and realistic. The decision of the ECI to hold by-elections in 11 assembly constituencies of Telangana with ballot papers bears out my assessment.
I have long argued that the continuation of EVMs is untenable and their exit inevitable. Transparency, verifiability and accountability are essential features of free and fair elections. Our electoral democracy is seriously imperiled if voters supporting losing candidates and parties do not believe that have actually been defeated in polls. Likewise, losing parties and candidates must have faith in election results.

Here is an interesting quote I came across in the context of U.S. elections:
“The Democrats think Republicans are stealing elections. The Republicans think Democrats are stealing elections. And, those of us who are neither, know they are both [...]

TRS’s Boycott of EVMs in Telangana Bypolls: EVMs would be gone (Part 3)

Posted by Narasimha Rao under COUNTDOWN

The unending controversy over electronic voting machines (EVMs) has acquired a fresh thrust from the state of Andhra Pradesh where by-elections are scheduled later this month. These developments take the fight against the EVMs to a new level of political protest and are fast forwarding the exit of EVMs much sooner than expected. The more the Election Commission is trying to resist EVM reform and mindlessly even blocking a dialogue with political parties, parties have begun to develop doubts about the reliability of the EVMs and the impartiality of the poll body.

Here are the developments in Andhra Pradesh that must send alarm bills ringing in Nirvachan Sadan, headquarters of Election Commission of India.

Separate statehood demand for Telangana would be on test on July 27, the day 12 assembly constituencies would go to polls. These by-elections have become necessary after 11 sitting MLAs of the TRS and one MLA of the BJP resigned [...]

My Guest Column in Tehelka Magazine: The Case Against Electronic Voting

Posted by Narasimha Rao under EVM Vulnerabilities

In Today’s blog, I am reproducing excerpts from my guest column published in the latest issue of ‘Tehelka’ magazine dated July 10. Do read the full article at the link given at the end of this blog.

The Case Against Electronic Voting
By GVL Narasimha Rao
Why is India embracing EVMs, when the world is moving away from them, as they are easy to tamper with?
ELECTRONIC VOTING machines (EVMs) have been in universal use in India since the general election of 2004, when paper ballots were phased out completely. For the past several months, there has been a flood of opposition to the EVMs by political parties.
….India’s experience with electronic voting is similar to the US and Western Europe. Electronic voting systems have come to be criticised in a number of countries for not meeting minimal standards of system integrity, transparency and verifiability, and for not allowing a fair recount in case of disputes.
Germany discarded [...]