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Opposition refuses to legally challenge EVMs amidst plans of "back to ballot" protest

A March 2017 demonstration against EVM in Gorakhpur
Counterview Desk
Even as opposition to the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) allegedly to rig polls is growing, a group of prominent citizens who have come together to form the EVM Virodhi Rashtriya Jan Andolan has controversially called for a national protest against EVMs on May 30, demanding future elections should be held only on ballot paper.
The group, which consists of Justice Kolse Patil (retired), Dr Suresh Khairnar, Niranjan Takle, Shabnam Hashmi, Ravi Bhilane, Feroze Mithiborwala, Siddharth Parmar, Pratibha Shinde, Kishor Jagtap, Jyoti Badekar, Salim Alware, Dhananjay Shinde, Advocate Niranjani Shetty, Ravi Bhilane, Feroze Mithiborwala, among others, proposes to hold a demonstration in Mumbai at CSTM Subway No 1, Near Azad Maidan, At 5.00 pm.
The grounds on which the demonstration would be held, meanwhile, are already being doubted. Those in the civil society opposed to the view that EVMs can be rigged wondering whether those who are opposing EVMs have ever tried to find out as to how many of the losing candidates from the opposition parties “have taken the legal route in order to challenge their loss in the elections based on the theory that EVMs have been rigged.”
Pratik Sinha, who edits altnews.in, a well-known site seeking to expose fake news, has said that while it is true that the recent Lok Sabha polls were not “free and fair” and the Election Commission was biased, it is equally incorrect to say that BJP won elections because of EVMs or because the election was rigged.
While pointing out that only “one mismatch” was discovered in Andhra Pradesh while matching EVMs and voter-verified paper audit trails (VVPATs), that too because of a “machine breakdown and replacement”, which EC tried to resolve, Sinha insists, “Every EVM has a unique ID for the control unit and balloting unit each. Candidates are given the unique codes before the polling starts and they can cross-verify the unique code when it comes out of strong room for counting.”
While EVMs can be hacked, Sinha, himself a software engineer, opines, “Any electronic equipment that runs a software can be hacked. Question is, was it hacked or not? Your computer, phones, tablets – all are connected to the outside world in some manner or other, most often an internet connection. This makes them vulnerable to external interference. EVMs do not have any such connection (wireless etc.). So, while they can be hacked, there is no evidence that they were.”
As for the videos showing EVMs being replaced by those seen in trucks, he says, “These were unused EVMs. They should according to rules be transferred to strong rooms on the same day. But in some cases, there was a 24-36 hour delay. And there was no security in some cases. Not okay, but we have seen such laxity in things pertaining to the government. But these were exceptions.”
He adds, “The videos stopped after that because all transportation had been completed. There is an army of humans which is involved in the election process. If such blatant acts were carried out, in the world of mobile phones with high zoom cameras, you'd have seen evidence of the same.”
However, those who are organizing the demonstration under the banner of the EVM Virodhi Rashtriya Jan Andolan on May 30, and want to return to the ballot box, think differently.

Text of its argument:

The outcome of the recent Parliamentary elections has shocked the entire nation. We always believed that EVMs are hacked on a massive scale by the BJP and our belief is strongly substantiated by numbers now. The website of the Election Commission (EC) shows that the "votes counted" do not match with "votes polled", in all the 48 constituencies in Maharashtra. It did not match in 203 assembly constituencies of Madhya Pradesh also. This is enough to prove that EVMs were manipulated and it is therefore very clear that the results cannot be believed in.
Many people from across the country are posting on social media, on the discrepancies in the votes in their constituencies. We have all witnessed the malfunctioning of EVMs and looked on bewildered at the suspicious movements of thousands of EVMs, which were even found in hotel rooms.
Right from the first phase of polling, almost the entire media was reporting that the NDA is going to suffer a minimum loss of 140 seats. More than 50% population that is dependent on agriculture was extremely disappointed and angry with the Modi government due to the worsening agrarian crisis and rising rate of suicides. 
Pratik Sinha
The issues of demonetization which itself was the biggest organised scam ever, the extremely anarchic implementation of the GST, rising unemployment, the Rafale scam among many other issues, were supposed to be the key issues against the government. Where did it all the anger and discontent disappear?
Moreover why is there a complete "sannata", a "silence" across the country, even after Modi returned to power by securing over 45% votes for the NDA? Why aren't the citizens jubiliant? This shows that the people are stunned and in a state of utter disbelief. They too did not expect a victory for BJP – and that is why we call it the "EVM sarkar".
We have all seen the biased approach of the Election Commission during the entire two month long campaign. We are all aware that like all other instutions of our parliamentary democracy, the EC too has been subverted by Modi.
Also very interestingly when the EC was asked to go ahead with the Ballot Papers, the excuse they gave was very weak and beyond ridiculous. The EC had given an extremely absurd reason on 19th January 2019. The EC stated, "We do not have sufficient time to go for the paper ballot".
For 60 years, the EC used to print ballot papers AFTER the scrutiny and withdrawal of nomination forms. The election was supposed to be held in April and May, but the EC said it did not have time to opt for ballot papers. Truly unbelievable, even by the low standards of the current EC.
Amit Shah boasts of making BJP the biggest political party in the world with a membership of over 7 crore active members. He talks about having 25 youth per booth and an in charge for every page of the voter list. But then, why is the biggest political party in the world scared of conducting elections by Ballot Paper?? The only answer is that BJP is capable of the mass manipulation of the EVMs, but not the masses. They know that they cannot win an election conducted under transparent, free and fair conditions.
We thus go to the people’s court!
Thus, we have decided to go to the people. We will protest against this massive EVM hacking. We are sure that people will join the movement to end the use of EVMs in our electoral system and call for a return to the paper ballot system.
It must also be emphatically stated that the overwhelming majority of the democratic nations of the world use ballot paper and have discarded the EVMs. In fact EVMs pose a clear danger to our entire electoral parliamentary constitutional democracy and thus must be immediately discarded and done away with.
Let the people come out and voice their opinion, anger, opposition, express their disbelief and a vote of no-confidence in the EVMs. The Supreme Court should find its spine and set aside these elections. Let there be free and fair elections by paper ballot and then only will the people reaffirm their faith in our democracy.
We have thus called for a national day of protest on May 30 and appeal to all the citizens, social movements and political parties to come out and organise protests in all the cities, towns and villages across the country.
EVM Hatao - Desh Bachao, Save Our Democracy - Save India!

Comments

Jose de said…
There should be a Ballot like in Western Countries. The Ballot Paper is stamped by the voter. This Ballot Paper is Scanned on the Electronic Machine and the Scanner Registers the Votes. The Machine counts the Votes and also the Ballot Paper is available for tally. In case of dispute the Ballot Paper is verified. THIS SYSTEM WOULD BE MOST SUITED FOR INDIA AS WELL.
Anonymous said…
Still I can’t understand one thing. EVMs collect and process data in real-time. If so, how could the total number of votes casted and final counted votes are different in huge numbers (tens of thousands)? Or my understandings of EVMs are wrong? There are also reports on hacking of voter system in Florida (USA) by Russians. Doesn’t this show hacking may be possible multiple platforms?

Reports

1. F.B.I. to Florida Lawmakers: You Were Hacked by Russians, but Don’t Tell Voters New York Times, May 2019.

2. Russian hackers target European governments ahead of election: FireEye CNBC March 21, 2019

3. Russians Hacked Voter Systems in 2 Florida Counties. But Which Ones? New York Times May 14, 2019

4. Russia plotting to hack European elections, Brussels warns Telegraph. May 22, 2019

5. United Kingdom Vows To Retaliate Against Russian Hacking. The Sentinel May 2019

6. Russian Election Hacking Efforts, Wider Than Previously Known, Draw Little Scrutiny New York Times September 1, 2017

7. Russian agents hacked US voting system manufacturer before US election – report | US elections 2016 | The Guardian January 5, 2017

8. What we know about Russia's election hacking Politico Russian tampering of EVMs PiluJul 18, 2018 ·

9. “I hacked an election. So can the Russians.’ – The Michigan Engineer News Center. April 9, 2018

10. Hacker demonstrates how voting machines can be compromised - CBS News. August 2016

11. US scientists 'hack' India electronic voting machines - BBC News. May 28, 2017

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