India

Articles about voting issues in the Republic of India.

India: Old electronic voting machines destroyed, buyers have to seek election commission nod | Hindustan Times

The election commission (EC) does not provide or sell electronic voting machines (EVMs) that are no longer in use to any local body, state or university to conduct elections nor can buyers procure machines from the manufacturers without the consent of the poll panel. Officials aware of the issue said on Friday that all obsolete machines –that are older than 15 years—are sent back to the manufacturers where these are destroyed as per protocol in the presence of EC officials. “A decision was taken in 2010 that all machines that are discontinued will not be lent out to anyone; because when the machines were given earlier, the users did not stick to the necessary protocol for use. When glitches occurred thereafter, there was confusion and the EC ended up getting blamed, so a decision was taken that all EVMs that are discontinued after 15 years of use will be destroyed,” an official requesting anonymity said. The EC’s clarification comes in the wake of allegations that the machines used during the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections, the results of which were announced on Thursday, were faulty. Read More

India: Supreme Court seeks Election Commission response on ‘private parties handling’ electronic voting machines | The Economic Times

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought the Election Commission’s response on an allegation that electronic voting machines (EVMs) used in the last Assembly polls in Uttarakhand were handled by private parties, leaving them open to possible tampering. The petition, filed by a resident of Uttarakhand, argued that EVMs and VVPATs (voter verified paper audit trails) were handled by private parties in breach of the commission’s rules and in disregard of the recommendations of a committee which said physical contact was the only way these machines could be tampered with. The case, before a bench led by Justice AK Sikri, was argued by senior advocate Kapil Sibal. Citing RTI (right to information) replies, the petition claimed that the poll panel had conceded to have requisitioned the help of private security, transportation and other personnel during the elections. Read More

India: Political parties divided over reverting back to ballot paper | The Economic Times

Political parties were divided on reverting back to ballot paper in place of EVMs in elections and holding simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and Assemblies at an all-party meeting convened by the Election Commission that also discussed state funding. The meeting of all the recognised national and state parties was convened to discuss the fidelity of electoral rolls, election expenditure regulation and inclusion of print media in the election campaign silence period. Chief Election Commissioner A.K Rawat said the Commission would take a call on all the issues raised by parties including on EVMs and ballot paper, integrity of electoral rolls and ceiling on expenditure by political parties. “There will be a satisfactory solution to the issues,” he told reporters after the meeting. Read More

India: Opposition parties, Shiv Sena pitch for election through ballot papers | Business Standard

Several opposition parties and ruling NDA constituent Shiv Sena on Monday pushed for reverting back to ballot paper in place of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and opposed simultaneous elections at a meeting convened by the Election Commission which also saw some parties pitching for state funding of elections. The Shiv Sena differed with its ally BJP to support the polls through ballot paper and the CPI-M too differed from other opposition parties and said it was not for returning to the old system of holding elections. It sought more safeguards in EVMs. Chief Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat said after the meeting that the poll panel will take a call on all the issues raised by parties including on EVMs and ballot paper, integrity of electoral rolls and ceiling on expenditure by political parties. Read More

India: After US, Indian elections may be the next target of Russia: Oxford Professor | Economic Times

After allegedly ‘meddling’ with the 2016 US Presidential Election, Russian hackers may soon make their way to the upcoming general elections in India, an Oxford University internet studies professor says. Philip N. Howard, a professor of Internet studies at the Oxford Internet institute, made the statement during a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee on foreign Influence on Social media platforms. Howard believes that media in countries like India and Brazil will be targeted to interfere in the election process. “I would say that the greater concern would be amongst the media institutions in our democratic allies. I believe that the Russians have moved from targeting us, in particular, to Brazil and India; other enormous democracies that will be running elections in the next few years,” Howard said. “The United States actually has the most professionalised media in the world. It’s learned certainly to evaluate their sources and no longer report tweets as is given,” Howard said. Read More

India: Are Electronic Voting Machines democratic? | The Statesman

Those infatuated with the technology-driven Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) fail to realise that elections are synonymous with democracy and are meant to translate the consent of the citizens into governmental authority. To achieve this, elections should be held in strict conformity with democracy principles. … EVMs that are being presently used to conduct elections may be devices of technology excellence. But the moot question is ~ do they comply with the principles of democracy? The answer is: No. The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany in a landmark judgment in March 2009 held the use of EVMs unconstitutional if they do not comply with the ‘Democracy Principles’. The Court did not strike down the EVM ,but left it to the government/election authority to determine whether or not the machines comply with the principles of democracy. These authorities determined that EVMs do not and went back to the ballot paper. Many other countries followed. Read More

India: Push-button vote | The Times of India

The Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are said to have been first used in 1982 for the North Paravur Assembly by-election in Kerala, and for a limited number of polling stations. This equipment was approved for wider use by the Election Commission of India in technical collaboration with Bharat Electronics Limited and Electronics Corporation of India in 1989. But EVMs made their universal debut in the 1999 parliamentary elections after extensive consultations with stakeholders and have since become an integral, even indispensable, part of India’s electoral system. Political parties across the spectrum have questioned the credibility and efficacy of EVMs. The general outcry reached its crescendo lately with a section of the political class demanding their replacement with the earlier system of paper ballots. While there are a large number of countries, including most of the developed ones which still use paper ballots for voting, India was one of the few countries which introduced EVMs to get over the multiple problems associated with the previous system of voting. Read More

India: Controversy as Indian electronic voting machines malfunction | Asia Times

Malfunctioning Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) have again marred elections in India and raised question about the reliability of the devices. Election Commission (EC) officials blamed heat waves for affecting the machines. On Monday numerous media reports emerged about EVMs not working, with opposition parties claiming tampering as four Lok Sabha, or Lower House of the Indian Parliament, seats and nine assembly constituencies held by-elections. However, the EC has called the large number of EVM failures exaggerated and said defective machines did not diminish the credibility of elections, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported. According to media reports, the EC was also ridiculed after its officials said the EVM machines malfunctioned due to heat waves in the northern region of Uttar Pradesh. Read More

India: Massive EVM Failure Affects Voting in Kairana, Leaders Demand Repolls | NewsClick

As Kairana Lok Sabha Constituency went to bypolls on Monday, the malfunctioning of the EVMs and VVPAT emerged to be the biggest story from the polling ground. The extent of EVMs malfunctioning grew severe as the day progressed. More than 200 EVMs and VVPATs from the polling booths of all the five assembly segments of the Lok Sabha were reportedly malfunctioning, which led to the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) to raise allegations of “scientific rigging” in the byelection. Interestingly, even the BJP leadership raised the issue of EVM malfunctioning and urged the EC to conduct repolls at some booths. The RLD’s candidate in Kairana Tabassum Hasan, who got the support of Opposition parties, wrote to the chief election commissioner complaining about malfunctioning EVM and VVPATs in her constituency. She alleged that despite raising the issue at the state and national level, the local administration was not dealing with the issue. The voters were being deprived of their right and hence the Election Commission must urgently send engineers and technicians to repair the machines, she wrote.  Read More

India: Facebook is offering a ‘cyber threat crisis’ hotline to Indian politicians | Business Insider

Facebook, on Friday, introduced a “cyber threat crisis” email hotline for politicians and political parties in India. A top company official told TOI that the company is also working on an “election integrity” microsite for the country. With the new hotline, the compromised account and even the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), can write to “indiacyberthreats@fb.com”. A cybersecurity guide with basic security do’s and don’ts has also been released by the company. Facebook announced the efforts a day after submitting its responses to the Indian government over the Cambridge Analytica debacle. Read More