India

Articles about voting issues in the Republic of India.

India: Revert to ballot papers, demand activists | Manan Kumar/DNA

A large number of civil rights groups including National Alliance for People’s Movement (NAPM) and Nation for Farmers (NFF) along with several political parties have decided to launch a nationwide people’s movement on August 9 to reject Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and bring back paper ballot in elections. “We will be starting it on the eve of Quit India movement with the slogan “EVM Bharat Chhodo, Ballot Paper Vapis Lao,” said Dr. Sunilam, convenor of NAPM. The two-day meeting participated by representatives of political parties discussed the shocking 2019 elections results that paled even the election results of 1977 when anger was at its height against the Indira Gandhi government.

Full Article: Revert to ballot papers, demand activists.

India: Raj Thackeray requests Election Commission to hold assembly polls by ballot paper | The Statesman

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray on Monday wrote to the Election Commission of India (ECI) regarding “restoring faith in the election process in the country”. Raj Thackeray has written, “Individuals have communicated their dissatisfaction with the manner in which elections are being conducted in the last few years and raised questions regarding EVMs. We request you to get back to ballot papers and appeal to have assembly election in Maharashtra with ballot papers only.” In July 2018, Raj Thackeray had alleged that the BJP had won the past elections by manipulating the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). “The EVMs had helped the BJP win the elections in the past. Otherwise, how can any candidate get zero votes in polls?” he had questioned while speaking to reporters. Representatives of 21 opposition parties led by TDP chief and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu had met the Election Commission raising concerns over the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and VVPAT slips two days ahead of counting of votes for the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections. The opposition parties have been complaining about EVM malfunctioning and demanding the use of ballot papers even before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Full Article: Raj Thackeray requests EC to hold assembly polls by ballot paper.

India: Supreme Court refuses to entertain plea questioning electronic voting machine use in elections | ANI

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a plea which questioned the use of electronic voting machines (EVM) in polls and sought the cancellation of recently concluded Lok Sabha elections. A Bench headed by Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman heard the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Manohar Lal Sharma challenging the use of EVMs in polls. “What are you asking for Mr Sharma? You want us to set aside the entire Lok Sabha elections?” said Justice Nariman refusing to interfere with the petition, terming it “devoid of merits”.

Full Article: SC refuses to entertain PIL questioning EVM use in elections | Business Standard News.

India: Supreme Court seeks Election Commission response on electronic voting machine malfunction complaint | Outlook

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Election Commission to respond on a plea seeking to remove the provision which criminalizes the reporting of malfunctioning of the electronic voting machines, if proven false. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gagoi asked the poll panel to file its reply within two weeks. The court was hearing a plea filed by advocate Sunil Ahya which has sought liberty to register complaint related with EVM malfunctioning. Ahya said that on August 14 2013, the Conduct of Elections Rules, was amended to insert a new rule 49MA to prescribe a procedure to be followed in case of a complaint realted to the EVM. Ahya told the court that Rule 49MA of the Conduct of Election Rules with Section 177 of Indian Penal Code criminalizes the reporting of malfunctioning of EVM and voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT), which may not be fair and just to charge a voter reporting such a complaint.

Full Article: SC seeks EC response on EVM malfunction complaint.

India: Activists write open letter to parties, seek all future elections be held with paper ballots | The Times of India

A group of activists Thursday jointly demanded that all elections in the country in future should be held with paper ballots, following reports of alleged irregularities in functioning and transport of electronic voting machines during the recent Lok Sabha polls. At a press conference here, the activists from different organisation also released an ‘open letter’ addressed to political parties, saying, “The opposition parties should raise the matter with the electoral authorities.” Activist and poet Gauhar Raza, former DUTA chief Nandita Narain, JNUSU president N Sai Balaji, AISA Delhi president Kawalpreet Kaur and Shabnam Hashmi, among others, cited various incidents reported during the Lok Sabha polls. “There were reports of several EVMs being left unattended, or many voters complaining about malfunctioning of EVMs. Then, there was a debate over counting of VVPATs. The elections left several doubts in our minds,” Kaur told reporters.

Full Article: Activists write open letter to parties, seek all future elections be held with paper ballots | India News - Times of India.

India: Satara MP demands re-election using ballot papers | Anagha Deshpande/The Hindu

Nationalist Congress Party MP from Satara Udayanraje Bhosale on Monday voiced support for the ballot paper voting system as against the Electronic Voting Machine, which has been mired in controversy following multiple allegations of rigging. Mr. Bhosale’s statement comes days after Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi president Prakash Ambedkar announced he would be taking the issue to court. Saying that the EVM process was ‘manipulative’, Mr. Bhosale said that a difference of 672 votes was observed between the votes cast and votes counted in constituencies like Wai, Koregaon, Karad, Patan and Satara. “The statistics are there for everyone to see. It is clear that something was wrong with the entire election process. I don’t know why they call the EVMs fool-proof,” Mr. Bhosale said.

Full Article: Satara MP demands re-election using ballot papers - The Hindu.

India: Citizens launch campaign against use of electronic voting machines for elections | National Herald

The Election Commission had released several versions of the voter data and several have questioned if the EVMs were switched or manipulated. Jan Andolan in Delhi has launched a campaign, ‘EVM Virodhi Rashtriya Jan Andolan’ against the use of Electronic Voting Machines for elections in India. “We appeal to all political parties to urgently recognise the threats posed by the manipulations of EVM that compromise a free and fair election. We urge you to initiate immediate measures for public awareness regarding possible manipulation by EVM,” read the campaign statement. It asks political parties to recognise the threat to Indian democracy being posed by the use of EVMs. “The depth and scale of BJP victories in the Hindi heartland states and the total elimination of major opponents should raise alarm bells about the real possibility of EVM tampering,” says the campaigners. EVM tampering can manufacture a distorted political narrative, demoralise the opponents and derail united strategies.

Full Article: Citizens launch campaign against use of EVM machines for elections.

India: Roads, boats and elephants: How India mobilised a million polling stations | Simon Scarr, Manas Sharma and Marco Hernandez/Reuters

The final day of voting in India’s mammoth general election was on Sunday. Over 900 million people were eligible to cast their ballots in the staggered seven-phase polling. The world’s biggest election involved around 1 million polling stations spread across the country, from remote corners of the Himalayas to crocodile-infested mangrove swamps of the Andaman Islands. Each polling station served about 900 voters on average but some catered for over 3,000 people. Each voting location used electronic voting machines (EVMs) which were first introduced in 1982. Instead of issuing a ballot paper, electors cast their votes by pressing a button next to a candidate’s name and party symbol. The Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system is attached to the EVM to confirm the vote. It prints a small slip of paper carrying the symbol and name of the candidate voted for. This is visible to the voter for a short period, and can be later used by the Election Commission of India (ECI) to verify the votes. After voting, people receive a mark of purple ink on their index finger as an indication that they have cast their ballot.

Full Article: How India mobilised a million polling stations.

India: How the world’s largest democracy casts its ballots | The Conversation

About 600 million Indian citizens are expected to cast their votes over a period of 39 days ending May 19, in the ongoing election for their country’s parliament. There are roughly 900 million eligible voters, and the country has typically seen about two-thirds of them turn out to polling places. I have been working on the security of electronic voting systems for more than 15 years, and, along with other colleagues, have been interested in understanding how a nation can tally that many votes cast over such a long period. India uses a domestically designed and manufactured electronic voting machine – as many as 4 million of them at 1 million polling places, at least some in extremely remote locations. The first version of the Indian electronic voting machine debuted in the state election in Kerala in 1982. Now they’re used in elections throughout the country, which happen on different days in different areas. When a voter arrives at the polling place, she presents a photo ID and the poll officer checks that she is on the electoral roll. When it’s her turn to vote, a polling official uses an electronic voting machine’s control unit to unlock its balloting unit, ready to accept her vote. The balloting unit has a very simple user interface: a series of buttons with candidate names and symbols. To vote, the voter simply presses the button next to the candidate of her choice. After each button press, a printer prints out the voter’s choice on paper and displays it to the voter for a few seconds, so the person may verify that the vote was recorded correctly. Then the paper is dropped into a locked storage box. The whole system runs on a battery, so it does not need to be plugged in.

Full Article: How the world's largest democracy casts its ballots.

India: Opposition parties take electronic voting machine woes to Election Commission | The Hindu

Opposition parties on Saturday approached the Election Commission alleging the display of party name only under the BJP symbol on EVMs during a mock poll in West Bengal’s Barrackpore constituency. However the poll panel has maintained that the same insignia was used for the party in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. A delegation comprising senior Congress leaders Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Ahmed Patel and Trinamool Congress’ Dinesh Trivedi and Derek O’Brien met Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and demanded that either all such EVMs be removed from the remaining phases of elections or the names of other parties be added too. The EVMs display the party symbols, name of the candidates and their photographs. “On EVMs, the letters ‘BJP’ are visible under the party’s symbol. No other party’s name is there. Either remove all machines which mention the BJP clearly or all other parties’ name should be added in all such machines. Till then the use of these machines has to be stopped,” Mr. Singhvi told reporters after meeting the CEC.

Full Article: Opposition parties take EVM woes to Election Commission - The Hindu.

India: Electronic voting machines glitches mar voting in seven states | Times of India

Technical glitches in electronic voting machines (EVM) marred voting in seven of the 12 states that went to polls in the second phase of the staggered Lok Sabha electionsFaulty EVMs delayed polls in several constituencies in Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Bihar and Jammu and Kashmir, officials said. In Odisha, EVM glitches in many booths in Talsara Assembly constituency were reported while polling was delayed in six booths in Bonai Assembly constituency. Odisha saw both Lok Sabha as well as Assembly elections. Booths in Kendudihi, Bolangir and Kandhamal, G.Udayagiri and Baliguda in Odisha were also affected. In Uttar Pradesh, EVMs malfunctioned and disrupted polling in Mathura, Bulandshahr and Amroha. In Fatehpur Sikri, voters created a ruckus at booth no 201 and 54 where polling was on hold for more than 30 minutes due to EVM troubles. There were also reports of snags in the VVPAT (voter-verified paper audit trail)-EVMs in Nanded, Latur and Solapur in Maharashtra which either delayed polling or stopped it midway.
Unofficial reports said at least 75 EVMs were replaced with spare ones in polling stations in Nanded alone. Admitting that there were complaints against EVMs in some booths in Karnataka, Joint Chief Electoral Officer A.V. Surya Sen said they were replaced soon.”We have given extra EVMS to all the polling booths to replace any machine having glitches or malfunctioning. Technical officials have been stationed at the booths to replace them at the earliest to avoid voters waiting for their turn,” added Sen.

In the Kanniyakumari Lok Sabha constituency in Tamil Nadu, voters stood in queue in several booths for nearly an hour to vote.

Similarly, at a booth in Chennai, there was a technical glitch that delayed voting for about an hour.

Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo told reporters that 384 faulty EVMs and 692 faulty VVPAT machines were replaced across the state. After that, polling went on smoothly.

EVM problems were also reported in Bihar’s Purnea, Katihar and Banka seats and in Ramban in the Udhampur Lok Sabha constituency in Jammu and Kashmir.

Full Article: EVM glitches mar voting in seven states – Times of India.

Full Article: EVM glitches mar voting in seven states - Times of India.

India: Opposition leaders questions reliability of electronic voting machines, demand 50 per cent VVPAT count | Business Standard

Opposition leaders including TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu, Congress’ Abhishek Manu Singhvi and AAP’s national convenor Arvind Kejriwal, on Sunday questioned the reliability of the electronic voting machines (EVMS) and demanded a mandatory paper trail count in at least 50 per cent of the Assembly constituencies in all Lok Sabha seats. At a joint press conference, Singhvi said,”We will campaign in the whole country and outline that repeatedly questions are being raised on elections and the Election Commission is not paying due attention to it. We have heard many issues in these elections such as EVM button giving vote to a different candidate and lakhs of voters being deleted online. Fifteen state parties and six national parties are supporting this campaign. We believe that counting of five VVPATs per Assembly constituency is not good enough. We want that check of 50 per cent of VVPATs must be made mandatory in all constituencies.” “There were arguments raised about logistics and it was stated that VVPAT counting may take days. However, we believe that if the number of teams of poll officials is increased it can be done in lesser time. Between logistics and credibility, we must choose the latter. We believe that paper trail is indispensible,” he said.

Full Article: Opposition leaders questions reliability of EVMs, demand 50 per cent VVPAT count | Business Standard News.

India: The first day of voting in India is dotted with glitches in the electronic voting machines | Business Insider India

The general election has only just begun and reports of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) malfunctions are flying in from multiple corners of the country. Butchirajupalem in Visakhapatnam and Cooch Behar in West Bengal were one of the first constituencies to halt voting because the EVM machines stopped working. One of the poll booths in Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh and two booths in Hyderabad, Telangana are also reported facing problems with their voting machines a while later. But most of the EVM malfunctions are being reported in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. In Andhra Pradesh, Telugu Desam Party and the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) are reporting EVM malfunctions. YSRCP is reporting that as many as 99 of the polling booths aren’t working. Tensions between both political parties have resulted in violent clashes and ransacking of poll booths.

Full Article: Lok Sabha Election 2019 - The first day of voting in India is dotted with glitches in the electronic voting machines.

India: Supreme Court orders Election Commission to increase VVPAT verification from one Electronic Voting Machine to five | India Today

The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the Election Commission to increase the Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips from one Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) per Assembly constituency to five. The Supreme Court observed that increase in VVPAT verification “would be of greater satisfaction not only of political parties but also for the entire electorate”. “This court would like to observe that neither the satisfaction of the Election Commission, which is a constitutional body, nor the system of EVMs, is being doubted,” the bench said. The bench also said that it was not questioning the accuracy of election results, but the issue was of satisfaction of the electorate. The court’s direction came on a plea by leaders of 21 opposition parties who wanted it to be hiked to 50 per cent of EVMs per Assembly constituency. The opposition parties had argued that the Election Commission was conducting VVPAT matching for less than 0.44 per cent of EVMs in the country.

Full Article: Supreme Court orders EC to increase VVPAT verification from one EVM to five - Elections News.

India: Misinformation Is Endangering India’s Election | Nextgov

In the days following a suicide bombing against Indian security forces in Kashmir this year, a message began circulating in WhatsApp groups across the country. It claimed that a leader of the Congress Party, the national opposition, had promised a large sum of money to the attacker’s family, and to free other “terrorists” and “stone pelters” from prison, if the state voted for Congress in upcoming parliamentary elections. The message was posted to dozens of WhatsApp groups that appeared to promote Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party, and seemed aimed at painting the BJP’s main national challenger as being soft on militancy in Kashmir, which remains contested between India and Pakistan, just as the two countries seemed to be on the brink of war. The claim, however, was fake. No member of Congress, at either a national or a state level, had made any such statement. Yet delivered in the run-up to the election, and having spread with remarkable speed, that message offered a window into a worsening problem here.

Full Article: Misinformation Is Endangering India’s Election - Nextgov.

India: For democracy’s sake, electronic voting machines must have proper VVPAT-based audit | Hindustan Times

The bizarre claim made in London recently about the alleged hacking of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in previous elections has done more harm than good by diverting public attention from genuine concerns about EVMs and the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) lack of transparency in the matter. The controversy over the security of EVMs dates back to the early 2000s, and is not confined to India. A consensus has emerged that voters can’t verify whether their votes have been recorded and counted correctly, and that miscounts due to EVM malfunction or fraud are undetectable and unchallengeable. Hence, an additional verifiable physical record of every vote cast in the form of voter verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) is required. In 2013, the Supreme Court mandated the use of EVMs with VVPAT units, and ECI has been deploying these in assembly elections from 2017 onwards.

Full Article: For democracy’s sake, EVMs must have proper VVPAT-based audit | analysis | Hindustan Times.

India: Cyber expert claims India’s 2014 general election was ‘rigged’ | Times of India

An Indian cyber expert, seeking political asylum in the US, on Monday claimed that the 2014 general election was “rigged” through the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), which, he says, can be hacked. Addressing a press conference in London via Skype, the man, identified as Syed Suja, said he fled India in 2014 because he felt threatened in the country after the killing of some of his team members. He claimed the telecom giant Reliance Jio helped the BJP to get low frequency signals to hack the EVMs. Shuja said the BJP would have won Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh elections if his team hadn’t intercepted the BJP attempts to hack the transmissions in these states.

Full Article: Cyber expert claims India's 2014 general election was 'rigged' | India News - Times of India.

India: Electronic Voting Machine and its history with India: Controversy over EVMs malfunctioning, rigging allegations are not new | Firstpost

Controversy is brewing over an Indian cyber expert’s claim that EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) were hacked in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections which the BJP had won by a landslide margin. Reacting strongly to the allegations, the Election Commission rejected the claims and insisted that the EVMs were foolproof and that it was ‘wary of becoming a party to this motivated slugfest’. Addressing a press conference in London via Skype, the individual, identified as Syed Shuja, said he fled India in 2014 because he felt threatened in the country after the killing of some of his team members. Although he appeared on screen through Skype, his face was masked. Shuja claimed that he is seeking political asylum in the US. Shuja, however, provided no proof to back up his claim. Shuja also alleged that other than the BJP, the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, AAP and Congress too were involved in the rigging of the EVMs. EVMs can record a maximum of 3,840 votes and can cater to a maximum of 64 candidates. There are 543 Lok Sabha constituencies and an equivalent number of seats in the Lower House of Parliament. To win a simple majority more than 272 seats are therefore needed. BJP won 51.9 percent of all seats in 2014 elections. In the 2014 election, 66.4 percent out of the total electorate of 834,101,479 voted.

Full Article: Electronic Voting Machine and its history with India: Controversy over EVMs malfunctioning, rigging allegations are not new.

India: Electronic Voting Machines hacked in 2014, claims US-based Indian ‘cyber expert’; EC rejects allegations | Hindustan Times

A man claiming to be a cyber expert and a former employee of the Electronic Corporation of India Ltd on Monday made a series of unsubstantiated allegations about the vulnerability of electronic voting machines used in India, including in the 2014 general election. The man, named as Syed Shuja of Hyderabad origin, appeared at a news conference through Skype. He said he was based in the United States, where he got political asylum after fleeing India due to threats to his life and allegedly in a serious medical condition in 2014. According to Shuja, who said he also went by other names, 200 seats in the 2014 elections that would have been won by the Congress had been rigged in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party by manipulating data transmission through what he called ‘military-grade modulators’ installed in various parts of the country.

Full Article: EVMs hacked in 2014, claims US-based Indian ‘cyber expert’; EC rejects allegations | world news | Hindustan Times.

India: An online battle for 900 million hearts and minds: India braces for election | Reuters

When India votes in a general election next year, it will be the world’s largest democratic exercise, and the biggest ever test of the role of social media in an election. As the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) readies for battle with the newly energized Congress party-led opposition in the election that must be held by May, the role of Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp could be crucial in deciding who wins. India already has close to 900 million eligible voters, and an estimated half-a-billion have access to the Internet. The country has 300 million Facebook (FB.O) users and 200 million on Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging service – more than any other democracy. Millions use Twitter. “Social media and data analytics will be the main actors in the upcoming India elections. Their use would be unprecedented as both parties now use social media,” said Usha M. Rodrigues, a communications professor at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, whose research has focused on social media and Indian politics.

Full Article: An online battle for 900 million hearts and minds: India braces for election | Reuters.