NEW DELHI: In a bid to dispel the doubts about the working of electronic voting machines (EVMs), the Election Commission has decided to hold an open hackathon for people to try and hack the voting machines in the last week of May. Before this, the poll panel has called a meeting on the May 12 with the leaders of all major parties.
A statement from the Commission said at the May 12 meeting, the issue of EVMs, change in rules regarding recount of votes using paper trail data, making bribery in elections a cognisable offence and disqualification of candidates charge- sheeted for electoral bribery would be discussed.
While there was no mention of the proposed EVM hacking challenge in the statement, a senior Commission official, who refused to go on record, said an overview of process and procedure of EVM challenge would be given and views of the parties would be sought.
The date of the proposed challenge, he said, would be decided after the all-party meeting. “The Election Commission has convened a meeting with all recognised national and state political parties on May 12 in New Delhi to discuss issue related to EVM and VVPAT.
“In addition to the EVM/VVPAT, the agenda will also cover making bribery in elections a cognisable offence, disqualification on framing of charges for the offences of bribery in elections and suggestions in VVPAT recount Rules. The EC has sought written response from all the parties on the above issues by May 7,” the statement said.
Last month, the poll panel had said it may invite experts, scientists, technocrats, and representatives of political parties to hack the machines, which it claims are tamper-proof. The Election Commission had announced a similar challenge in 2009 and no one could hack the EVMs.
Aam Admi Party led by Arvind Kejriwal had initiated the debate on voting machines by stating that its defeat in Punjab and at other places was calibrated entirely by malpractices. Even after the MCD polls results, many AAP leaders blamed EVMs for the defeat.Apart from this, many other Opposition parties, including the Congress, have alleged tampering of the EVMs after the recent Assembly elections. A delegation of 16 parties recently met President Pranab Mukherjee and submitted a memorandum.