Ballot Papers must replace fraud EVMs/VVPAT as ex CJI Sathasivam wanted
it to be replaced in a phased manner as it a proof that the EVMs can
The software and the source code of EVMs must be made public and to the ECI by the foreign countries who developed it.
To implement this support and Vote for BSP Elephant .
EVM Golmaal - Match Fixing ?
S.O.S e - Clarion Of Dalit - Weekly Newspaper On Web
Working For The Rights & Survival Of The Oppressed
Editor: NAGARAJA.M.R… VOL.8 issue.17…… .23/04/2014
Defective EVMs ‘transfer’ all votes to Congress in Maharashtra
Sindhudurg: A malfunctioning electronic voting machine (EVM) reportedly
“transferred” all votes cast to the Congress candidate in Sindhudurg
district here, in the second incident of its kind Thursday.
incident came to light when voters in Padve-mazagaon village complained
that when they pressed their chosen candidate’s button, only the
Congress light blinked.
Angry voters boycotted the elections for
nearly three hours before frantic election officials ordered a
replacement EVM and resumed voting around 1 pm.
At least 68
voters claimed that their vote may have been wrongly credited to
Congress candidate Nilesh Rane contesting from the Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg
constituency in the Konkan region.
A similar incident happened at
a polling booth in Pune city when voters found that whichever button
was pressed on the EVM, only the Congress light blinked.
Alert voters brought this to the notice of the election officials, who immediately stopped voting.
Voting resumed after a delay of nearly 90 minutes after a new EVM was acquired.
The Election Commission also permitted around 28 voters who had already
cast their votes in the malfunctioning EVM to vote afresh.
Political activists of all parties have demanded an extension of voting
hours by three hours in Sindhudurg and 90 minutes in Pune to compensate
for the time lost due to the defective EVMs.
An EVM that ‘votes’ only for BJP stuns poll staff in Assam
GUWAHATI: An electronic voting machine raised many eyebrows across the
state during a mandatory mock poll in Jorhat on Tuesday. Every time a
button was pressed, the vote went in favour of BJP.
parliamentary constituency returning officer and deputy commissioner
Vishal Vasant Solanki told TOI that all EVMs in his custody are being
put through a second level of test by engineers of the Electronics
Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL), one of the two companies from
Hyderabad, which manufactures EVMs.
This Jorhat Lok Sabha seat
has Congress stalwart and former Union minister Bijoy Krishna Handique
locking horns with BJP youth and tea tribal leader Kamakhya Tasa. This
will be Handique’s record seventh successive attempt for the Lok Sabha
election. Jorhat goes to the polls on April 7.
electoral officer Vijyandra on Wednesday said, “An EVM in Jorhat was
found malfunctioning yesterday. It is a defective machine and it was
noticed when EVMs were readied in front of representatives of all
political parties. We will not send the faulty unit to any polling
An EVM consists of two units, a control unit and a
balloting unit. Both unites are connected with cable. The balloting unit
is a small box-like device, on top of which each candidate and his or
her election symbol appears. The voter selects his candidate by pressing
the blue button.
The returning officer said, “These EVMs were
here for long. Usually, EVMs are kept in the custody of the deputy
commissioner and during elections they are taken to strong rooms.”
Congress lodged a complaint with the Election Commission of India on
Wednesday and demanded thorough inspection of all EVMs in just not
Jorhat, but the entire state. Pradesh Congress Committee general
secretary Ranjan Bora, who lodged the complaint with EC, said, “The mock
poll was done at random and the EVM for Teok assembly constituency took
everyone by surprise. When the hand symbol button was pressed for
Congress, the vote was found to be recorded in favour of BJP.”
said the incident has fuelled suspicion in their minds that EVMs may
have been tampered with to favour a particular political party.
Interestingly, after Congress got an overwhelming mandate in the 2011
assembly polls, Asom Gana Parishad had lodged a complaint against
Congress accusing it of tinkering with EVMs. The Congress leadership had
rejected this charge and pointed out that EVM results could not be
“EVM tampering could be possible in the Jorhat case,” a senior Congress leader said.
Resolution on Electronic Voting
- All Endorsers
- Concerned citizens
In the wake of several disturbing ground reports, many questions and
concerns have been raised about the use of electronic voting machines in
Indian elections by leaders of political parties, activists, analysts,
administrators etc. etc. Election Commission of India and senior
officials involved in the conduct of elections are either unaware of the
unacceptable risks to the election integrity posed by these electronic
voting machines or have chosen to ignore serious concerns concerning
EVMs. On the contrary, they have been making atrocious and
unsubstantiated claims that the Indian EVMs are “fully tamper proof”,
“unriggable” and superior to EVMs banned in the West. Here in lies the
grave danger to the India’s democracy.
There is insufficient
appreciation among the general public of the facts and issues about this
vital matter - largely due to the mystique concerning anything
technological, and to the implicit faith in a constitutional body such
as the Election Commission.
We are not opposed to use of
technology per se in elections. But it will be unwise to use technology
without being aware of the attendant risks and without making provisions
for adequate safeguards.
To safeguard Indian democracy, VeTA endorses the following resolution :
“Electronic voting machines are inherently subject to programming
error, equipment malfunction, and malicious tampering. It is therefore
crucial that voting machines provide a voter-verifiable audit trail, by
which we mean a print out which would serve as the permanent record of
each vote that can be checked for accuracy by the voter before the vote
is submitted, and is difficult or impossible to alter after it has been
checked. Electronic voting machines used in Indian elections at present
do not meet this standard. Voting machines must be altered or upgraded
to provide a voter-verifiable audit trail.
If the Election
Commission of India is unable to enforce this requirement, it must
return to paper ballots which the whole world considers to be the gold
standard. Despite the several problems associated with the paper
ballots, elections are transparent and manipulations are easily visible
to all. On the contrary, the electronic voting system is opaque and
manipulations, if any have no chance of being detected.”
The basis for the above resolution is elaborated below.
Use of electronic voting machines poses many unacceptable risks. In a
large number of polling stations across the country, they have either
malfunctioned or misbehaved leading to disruptions in the polling
process and raising serious doubts about the working and reliability of
the EVMs. Read more
While the Election Commission of India claims
that the EVMs have helped curb booth capturing, the reality may be
otherwise. There are fears, confirmed by some field reports and
evidences that the electronic voting has ushered in a specialized breed
of techies offering enterprising solutions to “fix” elections via the
electronic voting machines.
The most dangerous thing about
electronic rigging is that it would go undetected. This is a very
sophisticated way of electronic booth capturing. Unlike in the
traditional booth capturing, this is neither visible when it happens nor
can it be established after elections.
machines used in Indian elections function as black boxes. Voters have
no way to verify that their votes are recorded and counted properly. For
this reason, use of voting machines that do not provide a
voter-verifiable audit trail (print-out of every vote) must be stopped
forthwith. In the new regime with voter verified paper ballots,
electronic counts may be checked first for identifying winners. In the
case of close contests or in the event of disputes, print-out ballots
should serve as the authentic record of voting, taking precedence over
If you have any questions or comments please send us an email ve…@indianevm.com
India’s Electronic Voting Machines Proven Insecure
In a collaborative study, a team of Indian and international experts
have revealed that the electronic voting machines used in Indian
elections are vulnerable to fraud. Even brief access to the machines,
known in India as EVMs, could allow criminals to alter election results.
These research findings are at odds with claims made by the Election
Commission of India, the country’s highest election authority, which has
maintained that weaknesses found in other electronic voting systems
around the world do not apply to India’s EVMs. Less than a year ago, it
stated: “Today, the Commission once again completely reaffirms its faith
in the infallibility of the EVMs. These are fully tamper-proof, as
ever.”  As recently as two days ago, the Chief Election Commissioner
described electronic voting machines as “perfect” and claimed that “till
today, no individual could prove that the EVMs used by the EC can be
tampered with.” 
Almost the entire population of India votes
on electronic voting machines. There are around 1.4 million of the
machines in use, all of the controversial “Direct Recording Electronic”
(DRE) variety. Such machines record the votes only to internal memory
and provide no paper records for later inspection or recount. With DREs,
absolute trust is placed in the hardware and software of the voting
machines. Paperless electronic voting systems have been criticized
globally and more and more countries and US states are abandoning such
In a video released today, the researchers
show two demonstration attacks against a real Indian EVM. One attack
involves replacing a small part of the machine with a look-alike
component that can be silently instructed to steal a percentage of the
votes in favor of a chosen candidate. These instructions can be sent
wirelessly from a mobile phone. Another attack uses a pocket-sized
device to change the votes stored in the EVM between the election and
the public counting session (which in India can be weeks later).
This study was performed by researchers at NetIndia, (P)Ltd., in
Hyderabad, the University of Michigan in the United States, and at a
non-profit in the Netherlands that specializes in electronic voting
The researchers were also surprised to find that
the vote-counting software in the EVMs is programmed into so-called
“mask programmed microcontrollers,” which do not allow the software to
be read out and verified. Because these chips are made in the US and
Japan, this has led to a situation in which nobody in India knows for
sure what software is in these machines or whether it counts votes
Hari Prasad is a computer engineer and managing
director of NetIndia, a Hyderabad-based technology firm. Prasad
organized the study and says the findings are the culmination of a seven
month investigation. “Everywhere I looked there were more security
problems. I am glad that with the presentation of this work, the debate
over whether India’s EVMs are secure is over. We need to look forward
now. India deserves a transparent election process, which these machines
simply cannot deliver.”
Rop Gonggrijp, a security researcher
from the Netherlands, also took part in the study. Says Gonggrijp:
“Never mind what election officials say, this research once again shows
that the longstanding scientific consensus holds true—DRE voting
machines are fundamentally vulnerable. Such machines have already been
abandoned in Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Florida and many other
places. India should follow suit.”
Gonggrijp continues: “In order
to have any transparency in elections, you need to have votes on paper.
Computers can be programmed to count votes honestly, but since nobody
can watch them, they might just as easily be programmed to count
dishonestly. How is the voter supposed to tell the difference?”
Professor J. Alex Halderman of the University of Michigan helped develop
the new attacks along with his students. “Almost every component of
this system could be attacked to manipulate election results,” says Dr.
Halderman. “This proves, once again, that the paperless class of voting
systems has intrinsic security problems. It is hard to envision systems
like this being used responsibly in elections.”
The newly released video and technical report can be found at http://IndiaEVM.org.
India’s EVMs are Vulnerable to Fraud
Hari K. Prasad, J. Alex Halderman, Rop Gonggrijp
Questions & Answers
Q: Who are you?
A: We are scientists and technologists. Some of us have studied other
voting systems in Europe and the US and have discovered serious flaws.
In some cases these discoveries have led to the use of such systems
Q: Why did you study India’s EVMs?
Election Commission of India has spoken of India’s EVMs as “infallible”
and “perfect”, yet similar electronic voting machines used around the
world have been shown to suffer from serious security problems. India’s
machines had never been subjected to credible independent research.
Q: How did you get the EVM you studied?
A: It was provided by a source who has asked to remain anonymous.
Q: What have you found?
A: We found that an attacker with brief access to EVMs can tamper with
votes and potentially change election outcomes. We demonstrate two
attacks that involve physically tampering with the EVMs’ hardware.
First, we show how dishonest election insiders or other criminals could
alter election results by replacing parts of the machines with malicious
look-alike parts. Such attacks could be accomplished without the
involvement of any local poll officials. Second, we show how attackers
could use portable hardware devices to change the vote records stored in
the machines. This attack could be carried out by local election
officials without being detected by the national authorities or the EVM
manufacturers. Safeguards against these attacks are either absent or
woefully inadequate. For the full details, please read our technical
Q. Did you demonstrate attacks on a real EVM?
A: Yes. The EVM we worked with is a real EVM that has been used in recent national elections.
Q: How could you manipulate the internal memory to change the vote records? These EVMs are sealed.
A: The seals quite literally consist of stickers, string, and red wax.
Tampering with them would not present a challenge to an attacker. Our
video has an excerpt from an official training film showing some of the
seals being applied. Have a look and see if you feel you could
manipulate these seals yourself.
Q: How could a dishonest EVM know which candidate to favour?
A: Our dishonest display board attack adds a Bluetooth radio, so
criminals could wirelessly signal which candidate to favour. Our memory
manipulation attacks happen between election and counting, when
everything an attacker needs to know is already public. In our paper we
explain more complicated attacks that use the total number of candidates
in a constituency as a signaling mechanism. These don’t need radio
signals and could already be hidden in the software of the EVMs today.
Q: But I watched the election officials perform a mock poll, and that was fine.
A: It would be easy to program a dishonest EVM or EVM component so that
the manipulation is only performed after voting has been going on for a
long time, or if the total number of votes is in the hundreds. That
way, simple mock polls will show the proper results, but all the final
election results will be manipulated.
Q: Your video shows a mobile phone signaling to the EVM, but mobile phones are not allowed at polls and counting.
A: We are merely proving that we can send the signal wirelessly.
Attacks could use many other forms of radio signaling, such as opener
that sends the signal. Wireless devices are extremely easy to conceal
and could be secretly carried into polling places in countless ways.
Q: How can the EVMs be as insecure as you claim while the Election
Commission of India says they are “infallible” and “perfect”?
Until now, the EVMs have not been subjected to rigorous, independent,
public scrutiny. Claims that the EVMs are “perfect” and “infallible” are
not based on verifiable arguments. If the Election Commission disagrees
with our claims, we look forward to a proper scientific debate based on
credible, published evidence.
Q: The Election Commission has hired scientists too. How do we know you are right and the Election Commission is wrong?
A: The Election Commission’s two expert committee reports were rather
minimal and were performed by scientists with no apparent electronic
voting security credentials. These studies were conducted without access
to the machines’ source code and relied on presentations and site
visits with the manufacturers. In contrast, we performed our own
experiments with a real machine and demonstrate working attacks.
Q: Haven’t you just made our secure EVMs insecure by publishing this?
A: No. The fact that the election authorities have not allowed public
scrutiny of the security of EVMs doesn’t make them secure. There are
more than 1.4 million EVMs in India, and criminal attackers would likely
have less difficulty getting access to a machine than we did. Unlike
actual criminals, we are working to inform the public about the security
problems we found.
Q: Can the problems with EVMs be fixed?
A: Not easily. The entire class of voting systems to which these EVMs
belong has inherent problems that stem from a lack of transparency. They
force voters to trust software and hardware without proper means of
Q: Surely there must be something we can do to enhance security?
A: The Election Commission likes to speak of “checks and balances”,
with various procedures believed to make fraud harder. Drastically
improving procedures might make some kinds of fraud more difficult, but
cannot eliminate the risks we describe. For EVMs to be used, the people
of India would need to continue to place trust in an election technology
that they cannot observe.
Q: Can you help me investigate suspected fraud in the recent election in xxxx ?
A: Regrettably, probably not. If our research shows something, it is
that for the concerned citizen there is very likely to be nothing to
observe, study and/or investigate (either before, during or after the
election) that would allow anyone to tell the difference between an
honest and a dishonest election. That means you are left either trusting
or not trusting your election, with no hard facts to guide you. We know
that this is not a satisfactory answer, which is exactly why this type
of voting machine should be abolished.
Q: Why shouldn’t India be at the forefront of technology?
A: We are technologists with a deep passion for things technical, but
we also see the limitations of technology. These electronic voting
machines have replaced decidedly imperfect but observable paper ballots
with insecure and completely non-auditable technology.
the Netherlands are modern democracies. They both used electronic voting
machines of the same basic type as used in India. In the Netherlands,
almost 100% of voters used these machines, but when it was discovered
that these machines had severe security problems and that there was
inadequate transparency, the machines were abolished and paper ballots
were reintroduced. Technological advance is not just about adopting the
latest new inventions. Innovation also lies in the ability to take a
second look and examine whether what seemed like a good idea ten years
ago is still a good idea today.
Q. Where can I find more information about the EVM debate in India?
A. An Indian citizens’ group called VeTA maintains a web site
advocating election transparency. Our research is independent from VeTA,
but we find their site to be generally informative about the e-voting
debate in India. It can be found at IndianEVM.com.
EVM Security Problems
An international conference on the Indian EVMs and its tamperability of
the said machines was held under the Chairmanship of Dr. Subramanian
Swamy, President of the Janata Party and former Union Cabinet Minister
for Law, Commerce and Justice at Chennai on 13 February 2010. This
conference received good response and the conclusion was that the
Election Commission of India was shirking its responsibility on the
transparency in the working of the EVMs.
In April 2010, an
independent security analysis was released by a research team led by
Hari Prasad, Rop Gonggrijp, and J. Alex Halderman. The study included
video demonstrations of two attacks that the researchers carried out
on a real EVM, as well as descriptions of several other potential
Easily Hackable:” US Lab says that, this EVM is very easy to hack.
Before voting: One demonstration attack was based on replacing the
part inside the control unit that actually displays the candidates’ vote
totals. The study showed how a substitute, “dishonest” part could
output fraudulent election results. This component can be programmed to
steal a percentage of the votes in favour of a chosen candidate.
After voting: The second demonstration attack used a small clip-on
device to manipulate the vote storage memory inside the machine. Votes
stored in the EVM between the election and the public counting session
can be changed by using a specially made pocket-sized device. When you
open the machine, you find micro-controllers, under which are
electrically enabled programs, with ‘read-only’ memory. It is used only
for storage. However, you can read and write memory from an external
interface. The researchers developed a small clip with a chip on the top
to read votes inside the memory and manipulate the data by swapping the
vote from one candidate to another.
In order to mitigate
these threats, the researchers suggest moving to a voting system that
provides greater transparency, such as paper ballots, precinct count
optical scan, or avoter verified paper audit trail, since, in any of
these systems, sceptical voters could, in principle, observe the
physical counting process to gain confidence that the outcome is fair.
But Election Commission of India points out that for such tampering of
the EVMs, one needs physical access to EVMs, and pretty high tech skills
are required. Given that EVMs are stored under strict security which
can be monitored by candidates or their agents all the time, its
impossible to gain physical access to the machines. Plus, to impact the
results of an election, hundreds to thousands of machines will be needed
to tamper with, which is almost impossible given the hi-tech and time
consuming nature of the tampering process.
EVM Court cases
On 25 July 2011, responding to a PIL (Writ Petition (Civil) No. 312 of
2011), Supreme Court of India asked EC to consider request to modify
EVMs and respond within 3 months. The petitioner Rajendra Satyanarayan
Gilda had alleged that EC has failed to take any decision despite his
repeated representation. The petitioner suggested that the EVMs should
be modified to give a slip printed with the symbol of the party in whose
favour the voter cast his ballot.
On 17 January
2012, Delhi High Court in its ruling on Dr. Subramanian Swamy’s Writ
Petition (Writ Petition (Civil) No. 11879 of 2009) challenging the use
of EVMs in the present form said that EVMs are not “tamper-proof”.
Further, it said that it is “difficult” to issue any directions to the
EC in this regard. However, the court added that the EC should itself
hold wider consultations with the executive, political parties and other
stake holders on the matter.
Dr Swamy appealed against
Delhi High Court’s refusal to order a VVPAT system in Supreme Court. On
27 September 2012, Election Commission’s advocate Ashok Desai submitted
to a Supreme Court bench of Justice P Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan
Gogoi that field trial for VVPAT system is in progress and that a status
report will be submitted by early January 2013. Desai said that on
pressing of each vote, a paper receipt will be printed, which will be
visible to the voters inside a glass but cannot be taken out of the
machine. To this, Dr Swamy replied that the new system was acceptable to
him. The Supreme Court posted the matter for further hearing to 22
Another similar writ petition filed by the Asom Gana Parishad is still pending before the Gauhati High Court.
How can someone tamper with an electronic voting machine?
by Julia Layton
The November 2006 elections that decided the make-up of the U.S.
Congress and state and local governments faced more uncertainty than any
election to date. Instead of “Democrat or Republican,” the more
pressing question became “accurate count or complete debacle?” More
than 60 million Americans cast their votes on electronic voting machines
for the first time in 2006. Some feared human and machine error, both
of which have occurred in almost all electronic voting since the
machines were introduced in limited scope in 2002. Others feared a
darker foe, and it’s not just conspiracy theorists: For the past three
or four years, computer scientists have been tampering with voting
machines to prove it can be done. And they say it’s actually pretty
With electronic voting, the entire setup is electronic, not
just the actual casting of the vote. The general process of electronic
voting on the most common touchscreen models goes something like this:
The voter checks in with election personnel, who enter the voter’s
name into a computer database to make sure he or she has not already
The voter is given a “smart card” — basically a
credit-card-type device with a microchip in it — that activates the
electronic voting machine.
The voter casts his or her vote by touching a name on the screen.
If the model includes printout capabilities (which is required by
more than half of U.S. states), the voter receives a printout that
verifies his or her choices before leaving the booth. If the printout is
correct, the voter inserts it into voting machine before leaving the
booth to complete the voting process. (If it’s incorrect, different
models have different remedies, but it’s safe to say it starts to get
messy at that point). In non-print-out models, the voter leaves the
booth after cast his or her vote on the touchscreen.
polling place has closed, an election official inserts a supervisor’s
smart card into the voting machine and enters a password to access the
tally of all votes on that machine. Election officials either transmit
the tallies electronically, via a network connection, to a central
location for the county, or else carry the memory card by hand to the
Election officials point out that there are
many safeguards in place to make sure no one tampers with the voting
machines — this is an election we’re talking about, after all. Some of
those safeguards include tamper-resistant tape over the machine’s memory
card slot, a lock over the memory card slot and the machine’s battery,
and the process of comparing the total votes on the memory card to the
number of voters at polling place and to a voting record stored on the
machine’s hard disk (and to physical printouts if available). Machines
are password protected and require special access cards for anyone to
get to the memory card, and most polling places conduct background
checks of election workers. Finally, the software on these machines
automatically encrypts every vote that is cast. So, where does the
problem come in?
Experts point out lots of areas that need
improvement, but as you can probably tell from the list of safeguards
above, the memory card is considered to be the weakest point in the
system. Princeton University computer-science professor Edward Felton
and a couple of his graduate students got themselves one of the most
common voting machines — a Diebold AccuVote-TS — and had their way
with it. They picked the lock blocking access to the memory card and
replaced it with a memory card they had infected with a virus. The virus
altered the votes cast on the machine in a way that would be
undetectable to election officials, because the vote numbers were not
only changed on the memory card, but also in all of the backup logs on
the machine’s hard disk. So the final numbers matched up just fine.
Another report, this one by a computer science professor who is also an
election volunteer, states that the security tape protected the memory
card slot looks almost exactly the same after someone removes it and
then replaces it — you have to hold the machine at a certain angle in
the light to see the “VOID” imprint that arises after tampering.
Other experts focus on the software that records each vote. It’s too
simple, they say, and not encrypted well enough. The typical code is a
standard “Roger Moore = 1″ and “Sean Connery = 2″ type of setup, which
even a computer neophyte could tamper with if they have access to the
machine. All it would take is a memory card with a bug loaded onto it to
switch the values. Also at issue is the type of encryption used in the
voting machines, which experts say is far from state of the art. But at
least in the case of the Diebold machines, experts really only have
access to one older version of the software that was leaked through a
security hole in the Diebold network, so no one can be sure whether the
same flaws exist in the latest version of the program. Diebold won’t
release the software for public review because it’s proprietary.
Beyond the machine itself, the method of electronically transferring
tallies between polling places and a central location for the county is
another possible point of weakness. A hacker can intercept the vote
tallies on their way to the central counting location by attaching a
what amounts to a tap at the network router or hub. He or she could grab
the numbers on their way across the network — which in many cases
isn’t encrypted — and load up a different set of tallies in their
place. However, as long as the central location double checks the
electronically transmitted numbers with the memory cards and printouts
from each polling place, this method of fraud would ultimately fail.
Disadvantages of EVM :
Some disadvantages of electronic voting can include viruses and
hacking, as well physical tampering. Despite elaborate safeguards,
India’s EVMs are vulnerable to serious attacks.
1. EVM Software Isn’t Safe
The electronic voting machines are safe and secure only if the source
code used in the EVMs is genuine. Shockingly, the EVM manufacturers, the
BEL and ECIL have shared the ‘top secret’ EVM software program with two
foreign companies, Microchip (USA) and Renesas (Japan) to copy it onto
microcontrollers used in EVMs. This process could have been done
securely in-house by the Indian manufacturers. Worse, when the foreign
companies deliver microcontrollers fused with software code to the EVM
manufacturers, the EVM manufacturers cannot “read back” their contents
as they are either OTP-ROM or masked chips. Amusingly, the software
given to foreign companies is not even made available with the Election
Commission, ostensibly for security reasons. With such ridiculous
decisions, the Election Commission and the public sector manufacturers
have rendered security of the EVMs a mockery. (GVL Narasimha Rao-http://www.indianevm.com/…/ten-reasons-for-banning-indian-e…)
2. EVM hardware Isn’t Safe
The danger for EVM manipulations is not just from its software. Even
the hardware isn’t safe. Dr. Alex Halderman, professor of computer
science in the University of Michigan says, “EVMs used in the West
require software attacks as they are sophisticated voting machines and
their hardware cannot be replaced cheaply. In contrast, the Indian EVMs
can easily be replaced either in part or as wholesale units.” One
crucial part that can be faked is microcontrollers used in the EVMs in
which the software is copied. EVM manufacturers have greatly facilitated
fraud by using generic microcontrollers rather than more secure ASIC or
FPGA microcontrollers. Not just only microcontrollers, mother boards
(cards which contain microcontrollers) and entire EVMs can be replaced.
Neither the Election Commission nor the manufacturers have undertaken
any hardware or software audit till date. As a result, such manipulation
attempts would go undetected. To detect such fraud, the upgraded EVMs
have a provision to interface with an Authentication Unit that would
allow the manufacturers to verify whether the EVM being used in the
election is the same that they have supplied to the Election Commission.
The EVM manufacturers developed an “Authentication Unit” engaging the
services of SecureSpin, a Bangalore based software services firm. The
Unit was developed and tested in 2006 but when the project was ready for
implementation, the project was mysteriously shelved at the instance of
the Election Commission. Several questions posed to the Election
Commission for taking this decision went unanswered. (GVL Narasimha Rao-http://www.indianevm.com/…/ten-reasons-for-banning-indian-e…)
3. Vulnerability to hacking:
The Indian EVMs can be hacked both before and after elections to alter
election results. Apart from manipulating the EVM software and
replacing many hardware parts discussed above, Indian EVMs can be hacked
in many ways. To possibilities may be mentioned :-
contains two EEPROMs inside the Control Unit in which the voting data is
stored. They are completely unsecured and the data inside EEPROMs can
be manipulated from an external source. It is very easy to read (data
from) the EEPROMs and manipulate them (GVL Narasimha Rao-http://www.indianevm.com/…/ten-reasons-for-banning-indian-e…)
The second and the most deadly way to hack Indian EVMs is by inserting a
chip with Trojan inside the display section of the Control unit. This
requires access to the EVM for just two minutes and these replacement
units can be made for a few hundred rupees. Bypassing completely all
inbuilt securities, this chip would manipulate the results and give out
“fixed” results on the EVM screen. The Election Commission is completely
oblivious to such possibilities. ( http://www.indianevm.com/…/ten-reasons-for-banning-indian-e…)
Contrary to claims by Indian election authorities, these paperless EVMs
suffer from significant vulnerabilities. Even brief access to the
machines could allow dishonest election “Insiders “ or other criminals
to alter election results.
There are allegations that some
“insiders” demanding vast sums (Rs. 5 Crore or more for each assembly
constituency) to fix election results. Who are these insiders? 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, all of whom are outside the ambit and control of the
Election Commission of India. There is every possibility that some of
these “insiders” are involved in murky activities in fixing elections.
The whole world—except us in India–is alive to the dangers of insider
fraud in elections. The “insiders” include the public sector
manufacturers of India’s electronic voting machines namely, the Bharat
Electronics Limited (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India (ECIL),
the foreign companies supplying microcontrollers, private players (some
of which are allegedly owned by some political leaders) for carrying out
checking and maintenance of electronic voting machines during
A team of researchers showed precisely how a display component could be
replaced with a fake substitute programmed to steal a percentage of the
votes in favour of a chosen candidate. They also demonstrated how
stored votes could be changed between the election and the public
counting session, which in India, can be weeks later, with a
pocket-sized device. The team, comprising Hyderabad-based NetIndia, Dr J
Alex Halderman, professor & noted expert on electronic voting
security from the University of Michigan and Holland-based security
expert Rop Gonggrijp, was instrumental in the ban on EVMs in the
4. Which candidate to favour -Once the dishonest
display is installed in an EVM (possibly months or years before the
election), the attacker must communicate which candidate is to be
favoured or disfavoured and by what margin. There are many different
ways that attackers could send such a signal—various kinds of radios,
secret combinations of key presses, or even by using the number of
candidates on the ballot.
2. Stealing of Votes To steal votes,
the attacker indicates his favoured candidate using the rotary switch,
which selects a number from 0–9, and the attacker can use it to pick a
favoured candidate in any of the first 9 ballot positions, which
normally include the major national parties. When the switch is set to
positions 1-9, the chip on the clip-on device executes a vote-stealing
programme . The programme runs in two passes: first, it reads the list
of votes and calculates how many votes to steal from each candidate, and
second, it rewrites the list of votes, stealing votes as calculated in
the first phase. Any time between the start of polling and the public
count, dishonest election insiders or other criminals could use the
clip-on device to change the votes recorded in the EVM. In India,
counting sometimes takes place weeks after voting, so criminals could
wait for an opportunity to tamper with the machines while they are in
storage. In normal operation, the EVM limits the rate of voting to no
5 per minute. However, Clip-on device bypasses the
software restrictions of the EVM, so an attacker is able to again
forcibly take control of an EVM and stuff the electronic “ballot box”
with any number of votes. These attacks are neither complicated nor
difficult to perform, but they would be hard to detect or defend
3. Dishonest insiders or other criminals with physical
access to the machines at any time before ballots are counted can insert
malicious hardware that can steal votes for the lifetime of the
machines. Attackers with physical access between voting and counting
can arbitrarily change vote totals and can learn which candidate each
4 The EVM has no means for the voter to verify that his/her votes have been tallied properly.
5. The EVM has no means outside of the memories of the voting machines themselves to audit or recount the votes.
6. Susceptibility to fraud: Although some may believe that tampering
with an electronic voting machine is extremely hard to do, computer
scientists have tampered with machines to prove that it is quite easily
done. If people have access to the machines, and know how to work them,
they can take the memory card out of the machine, which stores the
votes, and in place they put their own memory card with a virus that can
tamper with the votes
7. Government ties of manufacturers: The
Government at the time of election may hire any manufacturer or
company for manufacturing EVMs according to the needs of the political
party in power An EVM can be tampered during manufacturing stage, that
too during the manufacturing of the Chip. After tampering the EVM, its
difficult to detect it by a third party. When the tampering happens at
the manufacturing stage of chip, even those who are assembling the EVMs
will not be aware of and cannot detect tampering .
Malicious software programming: Any computer software is basically
generated from software programming and coding. And all these soft wares
could be tampered with by a computer programmer who knows the source
code. Testing electronic voting systems for security problems,
especially if they were intentionally introduced and concealed, is
basically impossible. If malicious coding is inserted by programmers
into commercial software that are triggered by obscure combinations of
commands and keystrokes via the computer keyboard, then election results
can change completely.
9. Physical security of machines:
10. Secure storage of cast votes: The votes that are cast using the
electronic voting machines, are stored in a safe storage or space in the
computer machine memory. The time gap between election and the
counting of votes is a risk to possible hacking and manipulation . The
chance of tampering increases as the time gap increases.
Why do other countries rejected EVMs ?
Several countries in the world rejected Electronic Voting Machines
(EVMs) because they are difficult to secure, easily subject to
manipulation and open to large scale fraud and pose a serious threat for
free, fair and transparent elections in democratic societies. EVMs are
allowed in most states of the US only with a paper back up. Indian EVMs
do not produce a paper trail, which is a major drawback . Potential
dangers of “vote fraud” and more importantly, lack of transparency and
verifiability associated with them prompted ban or restrictions of their
use. Developed nations like the United Kingdom, France, Japan and
Singapore have so far stuck to voting on paper ballots, owing to their
simplicity, verifiability and voter confidence in the system. Some of
the countries ho have rejected EVMs are as follows :-
1. Ireland abandoned e-voting in 2006.
2. Italian Minister Giulano Amato stated, “We decided to stop the
electronic voting machine. During the 2006 elections we experimented
with the machines as a voting system, and not a system that counts the
sections, without any reference to the legally valid votes. “Let`s stick
to voting and counting physically because less easy to falsify.” (
Source of info: http://www.jasonkitcat.com/h/f/JDOM/blog/1/?be_id=320)
3. California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley banned EVMs in the
November 2004 elections as certain security conditions were not met
with. Verifiable paper trail & certain security conditions need to
be implemented. People want elections results that can be physically
4. Germany`s Supreme Court ruled in March 2009 that e-voting was unconstitutional.
5. In the Netherlands, in 2006, licenses of 1,187 EVMs were withdrawn
after citizen group `We do not trust voting machines` showed they could
hack into EVMs in 5 minutes from up to 40 metres without the knowledge
of voters or election officials. The nation will return to paper
voting.” (Publication: ComputerWorld, Dt: 19-05-2008, Author