Is it a mere coincidence that Mr. Lagadapati who announced 2009 Andhra election results accurately days before ECI announced happens to hail from Vijayawada where these 4000 EVMs are lost? Will ECI at behest of Government of India that punished activists such as Hari Prasad and Mukund Lagoo on charges of stealing single missing control unit that was actually returned match the same efforts in going after the culprits who most possibly stole them and used them to compromise elections?
EVMs stolen from Sub-Collector’s office
VIJAYAWADA: The Suryaraopet police on Friday night registered a case under Section 379 (punishment for theft) on the basis of a complaint lodged by Sub-Collector K. Dharma Reddy that some Electronic Voting Machines were missing from the Sub-Collector’s office complex.
Suryaraopet Inspector R.J. Jayaraj said that some unidentified persons had stolen the EVMs by breaking open the window grill of the room, where the machines were stored.
“We were not informed of the number of machines, as the Revenue officials are yet to estimate the number. We are investigating to nab the culprits,” he said.
It was learnt that the Revenue authorities failed to notice the theft as the complex building is being renovated these days. It was only after the police alerted them that the Revenue authorities realised that the theft had occurred.
The police came to know about the theft after questioning some rag pickers. Though the intention behind the theft was not known yet, the police suspect that the rag pickers might have stolen these just to sell as iron scrap.
Sunday, December 5, 2010 , Andhra Jyothy, Telugu Newspaper
ANDHRA JYOTHY EXPOSE
4000 EVMs have gone “missing” in Andhra Pradesh;
some stolen EVMs recovered from “scrap” stores
4000 EVMs missing
Dispatched as additional quota in 2004
Not clear if they reached districts at all!!
District collectors evasive on ‘missing’ EVMs
Have they been misused?
6 EVMs traced in ‘scrap’ stores in Vijayawada
Hyderabad, December 4: There are already many controversies concerning EVMs. There are many doubts about their working. It has also been proved that it is not impossible to alter election results on EVMs. In this backdrop, doubts whether as many as 4000 EVMs exist or not has led to a furore in political circles. This has led to serious doubts whether these EVMs have been used to “favour” some parties or candidates owing to local pressures and other conditions prevailing there.
EVMs have been used nationwide for the first time in 2004 general elections. In Andhra Pradesh, elections to the state assembly were also held simultaneously with Lok Sabha polls in 2004. Then, the Election Commission had allotted two EVMs for each polling station. But..when some district collectors sought some more additional EVMs, the Election Commission complied with the request. Rangareddy, Mahabubnagar, Nalgonda, Khammam, Srikakulam, East Godavari, Prakasam, Cuudapah and Kurnool districts were
given 100 to 300 additional EVMs as per their requirements. This way, an additional quantity of 4,000 EVMs was dispatched to these districts. After 2004, again in 2009, another round of general elections have been conducted to the Parliament and the state assembly.
This news item appeared on the front page of leading Telugu daily newspaper, Andhra Jyothy in its edition dated December 5, 2010. The article in Telugu is available at the following web link: https://www.andhrajyothy.com/mainnewsshow.asp?qry=2010/dec/5/main/5main3&more=2010/dec/5/main/main&date=12/5/2010
This article is a verbatim English translation of the article published in Andhra Jyothy.
It has been 20 months since general elections have been held. The office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Andhra Pradesh has now developed doubts about the additional EVMs sent to districts in 2004. It began to ask questions: “what happened to those EVMs? Have they been used in elections? If unused, why were they not returned? etc. etc.”
In October this year, the state CEO sent letters to the concerned district collectors asking if the additional EVMs sent to them in 2004 have reached them or not? It has been two months since but there has been no response from district collectors so far. Later, additional CEO sent two more letters to collectors. But, there has been no response from district collectors so far.
Where are they? What happened to them?
As they are unable to account for the additional EVMs procured six years ago, officials are a seriously worried lot. Has the EC been given account of additional 4000 EVMs procured by the state? Have the ‘missing’ EVMs been misused anywhere in 2009 elections under pressure from some quarters? These are doubts being expressed in political quarters.
EVMs are stored in constituencies amid tight security. They are moved to the polling tations just one day before polling. They are handed over to the presiding officers under the supervision of assistant returning officers. Details of EVMs dispatched to different
polling stations are recorded.
Some political sources aver that all this happens securely in towns
and cities but in rural and remote areas, these are not paid enough
attention. So, the officials fear that the missing “additional EVMs’ could be misused by the ruling party leaders by pressurizing polling officials.
Stolen EVMs, from where?
Seven balloting units and 15 control units have been stolen from the store room in the office of the sub-collector, Vijayawada, Krishnadistrict. Police have recovered six of the ballot units while they were being sold as “scrap.”
There is no trace of 15 control units stolen so far. Local officials are shocked by this incident. When the EVMs supposed to be in safe custody have reached scrap stores, they are left wondering what would be the fate of the missing 4000 additional EVMs supplied in 2004!!
But, officials are consoling themselves saying that they could not have been misused and collectors may have sent them somewhere. If that be so, questions are being raised as to why the collectors are not furnishing information sought by the state CEO. It is learnt that the Election Commission of India (ECI) has also expressed its dismay over the disappearance of the additional EVMs.
Notices to Collector, Krishna district
Election Commission of India has expressed its anger over the stolen EVMs in Krishna district. State chief Electoral Officer Bhanwar Lal has issued notices to the Piyush Kumar, district collector asking him how the EVMs meant to be in safe custody in strong rooms have surfaced in the market. He was instructed to file a complaint and investigate the matter.
Joint Collector Gourav Uppal has stated that the case of stolen EVMs was noticed on 28
th last month. He further states that the EVMs used in 2009 general elections have been securely stored in warehouse godowns in Machilipatnam and additional EVMs which came from other districts have been stored in Vijayawada. How many EVMs have vanished from Vijayawada is still being assessed and a detailed investigation is being carried out in this regard, he added. Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO), Vijayawada Dharma Reddy has lodged a complaint last Friday regarding the stolen EVMs in the Suryaraopet police station.
Monday, December 6, 2010 , A. Sreenivasa Rao, Mail Today, Hyderabad
|Rigging stink over ‘ missing’
EVMs in Andhra
|By A Srinivasa Rao in New Delhi|
LENDING credence to the allegations of rigging through tampering of electronic voting machines ( EVMs), as many as 4,000 units are believed to have gone missing in Andhra Pradesh in the past six years.
The “ missing” EVMs came to light after a circular issued by Election Commission ( EC) authorities in the state to the district collectors in October this year, asking them to submit the number of units not unaccounted for in the last six years.
In the 2004 general elections, when the EVMs were used for the first time all over India, the EC provided two EVMs for each polling station – one for the Lok Sabha elections and another for the assembly elections.
However, some district collectors ( returning officers) requested the EC to provide additional EVMs as stand- by to meet any exigency.
The EC had supplied 100- 300 additional units to Ranga Reddy, Mahbubnagar, Nalgonda, Khammam, Srikakulam, East Godavari, Prakasam, Kadapa and Kurnool districts. In all, about 4,000 additional EVMs were used during the 2004 elections.
The EC had been under the impression that these additional EVMs were in “ safe custody” of collectors.
The 2009 general elections, too, were held smoothly without any problems. After the political parties started complaining about tampering of EVMs and some NGOs demonstrated the vulnerability of EVMs, the state EC began verifying the stock registers of the EVMs.
They found the additional 4,000 EVMs were missing. They wrote to the collectors seeking information about these EVMs supplied in 2004 asking them to verify and submit the inventory. So far, there is no reply from the collectors, sources said.
“ We have asked the collectors to submit the data about the availability of EVMs in their custody. The Election Commission of India has provided a new software to keep track of the EVMs, their usage and availability. We need the data for uploading it in the system using the new software. Once we complete the task, we will be able to ascertain how many EVMs are missing,” chief electoral officer Bhanwar Lal said.
The Vijayawada police received a complaint from Krishna district subcollector K. Dharma Reddy last week stating some EVMs were missing from the sub- collector office complex.
Suryaraopet police inspector R. J. Jayaraj said some unidentified persons stole the EVMs by breaking open the window grill of the room, where the machines were stored.
The police registered a case under Section 379 ( theft) and are interrogating some rag- pickers who had allegedly resorted to the theft and sold them to local iron scrap dealers.
“ According to our information, 10 EVMs and 15 control units were stolen. The police recovered six EVM units from the scrap dealers and the remaining might have been melted and used as scrap,” Lal said.
NGO Election Watch convener V. V. Rao said the missing EVMs had vindicated their argument that there was no security and hence they could be easily tampered with.
“ It needs five to 10 minutes to tamper with EVMs if they are taken out of safe custody. Imagine the fate of 4,000 EVMs, if they are missing for such a long time. It confirms the apprehensions about rigging of elections with such EVMs,” Rao said.
Electronic engineer and EVM technical expert Hariprasad Vemuru, who was arrested by the Mumbai police on charges of stealing an EVM unit, wondered what punishment the government would give to the officials responsible for the missing of so many EVMs.
“ I was harassed by the police even after returning the EVM unit. Now, we come across EVMs being available in the market as scrap,” he said.
Former Union energy secretary EAS Sarma, who has also been fighting for electoral reforms, said there was every possibility of rigging the elections by tampering with the EVMs.
“ We have been complaining to the ECI that the EVMs are not tamperproof and one can rig the elections.
It was proved in Germany and the government there had banned the EVMs in the elections,” he said.
6 EVMs recovered from scrap dealers
TNN, Dec 6, 2010, 03.54am IST
VIJAYAWADA: Even as speculations over the missing of some electronic voting machines (EVMs) continued, the city police recovered at least six EVMs from scrap dealers in the city. Police detained the dealers from Singhnagar area and grilled them to find out as to who had sold them the equipment.
However, there was no official confirmation from the police on the seizure of the equipment.
According to sources, the EVMs were recovered in a completely broken shape from the iron scrap dealers. The scrap dealers told the cops that they bought them at Rs 150 each.
However, the police were investigating the case keeping in view the sensitivities involved in the issue. Police reportedly were trying to find out as to who were the sellers and how did the sellers manage to get hold of the machines in the first place.
Editorial: E-voting needs a paper trail
Dec. 6, 2010
Eight years after the “hanging chads” fiasco in Florida, and two months before one of the most important presidential elections in U.S. history, Congress still refuses to listen to the nation’s top computer scientists and require a secure, auditable paper trail for all federal elections. This despite the latest revelation of a serious problem with the electronic voting machines used in 34 states — including Virginia and Maryland — in addition to their well-publicized vulnerability to hacking.
In March, Ohio officials found a programming error that dropped votes when the data on memory cards from multiple electronic machines are electronically transferred to a central tabulator, as they would be on Election Day. Dozens of lawyers are ready to file legal challenges everywhere e-voting machines are used, even those declared “qualified” by the National Association of State Election Directors. Such litigation could tie up final election results far longer than it would take to count paper ballots.
State and local government officials have spent $1.5 billion on e-voting machines in recent years, most of it federal funds under the 2002 Help America Vote Act. But instead of ensuring a fast, secure way to count millions of votes, they got a technological nightmare. Studies in Ohio and California confirmed that e-voting machines currently in use can allow individuals to cast multiple votes, load viruses that crash the system, produce fake tallies and even change previously cast votes.
As recently as May, a spokesman for Premier Election Solutions (formerly Diebold Election Systems) blamed the Ohio glitch on state-installed anti-virus software, but eventually admitted to a decade-old “logic error” programmed on all 19 of its touch screen and optical scan models. Computer experts say every e-voting machine now in use has serious security vulnerabilities. Even a piece of white tape on a scanner can block votes from being recorded.
“We don’t know how to make secure paperless voting,” says Stanford computer science professor David Dill, founder of the Verified Voting Foundation and author of Attackdog, a computer model that simulates more than 9,000 ways to attack e-voting systems. Dr. Dill and others like him have warned again and again that an auditable paper trail is the only way to guarantee a secure election, the very bedrock of democracy. Congress has less than two months to pass emergency legislation requiring state election officials to add verifiable paper trails to all voting in the November election. There is no more time to lose.