Mumbai: Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are technically "very secure" and can never store a false vote and it is impossible to breach their security, said the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Maharashtra on Thursday.
CEO Baldev Singh said EVMs, which are often the target of criticism by certain political parties who claim the device can be manipulated, are "extremely safe". During the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, around 61.3 crore people across the country voted with EVMs at over 10 lakh polling stations and confirmed their vote on VVPAT. Voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines, attached with EVMs, allow the voters to verify that their votes are cast as intended.
"Each EVM is checked and sealed in the presence of representatives of political parties. Also, their representatives sign the machine seal. "Since EVMs are allotted to all constituencies and polling booths, there is no preconception about which machines will be sent to which polling station. "The list of contesting candidates is fixed only on the day after the withdrawal (of nomination) deadline ends," Singh said. The serial number of EVM machines used at a polling station is given to each candidate, the IAS officer said.
Before the actual voting begins, a mock polling takes place in the presence of each candidate's representative. These representatives register their own vote and verify the result on the EVM through the VVPAT slip, he said. Only after their certification the actual voting begins, the CEO said, adding EVMs were certified by more than one billion voting representatives in the 2019 elections. After the completion of voting, these representatives seal and sign the machine, the senior bureaucrat said.
Only 17 votes were wrongly claimed in VVPAT. But after these 17 voters voted again, their claim was found to be wrong, Singh said. Also, only 51 votes (about 0.0004 per cent of the total) did not match and this was due to human error and not due to any defect in the machine, he said. EVMs are technically "very secure" and can never store a false vote, the CEO said. These machines have a very robust security protocol and no one can break it, he claimed.