The purpose of an election is not to name the winner, but it is to convince the losers that they lost. -- Dr. Dan Wallach, Computer security expert, Rice University
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. India went full way with EVMs’ in 2009 elections and there are major concerns of fraud in the elections. An independent technical review report on India’s elections in 2009 can be obtained from here. An expose of the Election Commission of India’s failure to assure the integrity of Indians Electronic Voting System in the form of book titled, ‘Democracy at Risk’ by GVL Narasimha Rao is available here.
Video on how Real Indian EVM can be Hacked?
In this video, Hari K. Prasad, J. Alex Halderman and Rop Gonggrijp demonstrate two kinds of 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 favour 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. These attacks are neither complicated nor difficult to perform, but they would be hard to detect or defend against. The best way to prevent them is to count votes using paper ballots that voters can see.
Click here for Technical paper on Security analysis of (real) Indian EVMs to be submitted at various international conferences by International (Rop, Alex) and National Experts (Hari and others)
India’s 13 major political parties write to Election Commission of India citing multiple concerns over use of Electronic Voting Machines
1) EVMs are banned in many countries (See references at the end):
- Netherlands (cited lack of transparency and risk of eavesdropping and securing cannot be guaranteed)
- Ireland (after spending 51 million pounds for three years due to lack of transperancy and trust)
- Germany considered e-voting unconstitutional due to lack of transparency to a common voter.
- Italy (because EVMs are easy to falsify)
- US (California and other states banned EVM’s without paper trail)
- CIA security expert Mr. Stigall, monitoring use of Electronic Voting Systems in developing nations such as Venezuela, Macedonia and Ukraine reported abuse using Electronic Voting Machines.
- When Chavez won in Venzuela, mathematicians challenged and found a “very subtle algorithm” that appeared to adjust vote in Chavez’s favor.
2) See detailed presentation below. This is a must watch on how other countries rejected EVM’s and the option India should pursue.
3) Dr. Subramanian Swamy demonstrated many years ago to Indian election commissioner with a MIT Professor how easy it is to manipulate the EVM’s. In his recent article in The Hindu, June 17, 2009 he goes into details how India failed to implement even one of the many safeguards recommended by IEEE.
ECI Promotion Material on EVM (identifies various user interfaces – takes few seconds to load)
Video (3 parts) of TV9 Coverage of Real EVM Hacking (in Telugu)
Part 1 of 3
Part 2 of 3
Part 3 of 3
Click here for paper on Security analysis of (real) Indian EVMs by International (Rop, Alex) and National Experts (Hari and others)
Click here for Independent Technical Team Review Report of EVMs in India questioning design decisions and citing serious discrepancies in recent 2009 elections
(Shocking expose of the Election Commision’s failure to assure the integrity of Indian’s EVMs by Mr. Narasimha Rao)
Accurate Predictions of AP elections before announcement of results
Dr. David Dill of Standford University video statement to India on EVMs (considered pioneer in election reform in USA)
EVMs: Facts, Fallacies and Fiction, IIT Chennai Conference with International Experts, Feb 13, 2010
Press Meet on EVMs with International Experts at Press Club of Delhi on Feb 16, 2010
What is at stake here?
Indian democracy is a miracle. It is dream that came out of people like Mahatma Gandhi that in spite of so many hurdles such as illiteracy, poverty and social issues, India should remain a democratic state. But the plaguing corruption, combined with voting electorate that is largely illiterate and the literate that is largely apathetic to voting process is posing a grave threat to democracy to India. The introduction of EVMs has created intractable problems to the country’s fragile democracy.