EVMs are prone to tampering by both external hackers and insiders. The danger of insider fixing of elections is recognized the world over. Hence mere faith in companies and a host of private players handling EVMs cannot be the basis for election results. Elections can be trusted only the results are verifiable and auditable. Most developed countries have rejected or reformed direct-recording EVMs. Election Commission of India is persisting with the voting machines ignoring the serious concerns. Hence this effort to mobilize public opinion.
Unlike in the traditional ballot system where only the election officials were the "insiders", electronic voting machine regime has spawned a long chain of insiders including the manufacturers of the EVMs, programmers, foreign companies fusing microchips abroad and their suppliers/ vendors, maintenance engineers, local officials etc. etc. All these private players are outside the ambit and control of the Election Commission of India, the constitutional body vested with the authority to conduct free and fair polls.
There are personal accounts from well placed sources and experts that some insiders are involved in murky activities in fixing elections. This is not hallucination. The whole world-except us in India – is alive to the dangers of insider fraud in elections, mostly by insiders in the electronic voting machine industry.
Owing to such reports, political parties and candidates are perpetually in doubt if the voting machines have defeated them. The purpose of elections is not to convince the winners that they have won. It is to convince the losers that they have indeed lost. This requires that every step involved in the election process is transparent and can be observed by voters and candidates and in case of doubt; it is genuinely possible to undertake a recount of every vote cast.
EVMs are dangerous for another reason. If electronic fraud indeed happens, as many fear, it cannot be established and would go completely undetected. The only way to protect Indian democracy is by preventing occurrence of such fraud by adopting adequate safeguards.
In our system of representative democracy, elections provide the only occasion when the people directly exercise their sovereign power. Immediately thereafter this power is ceded to the elected representatives. If this sacred power is vitiated by a voting system of dubious integrity open to insidious fraud, it is evident that our democracy is seriously endangered.
There is insufficient appreciation among the lay public of the facts and issues about this matter that vitally concerns them – largely due to the mystique concerning anything technological, and to the implicit faith in a constitutional body such as the Election Commission.
|VeTA is striving to fill this information and awareness gap to promote a healthy national debate to usher in a reformed and truly transparent, verifiable and accountable voting system.