Polled EVMs are absolutely safe in ‘Strongrooms’ and it fulfils all administrative protocols: ECI

‘Reports and Allegations’ are “absolutely false”, and “factually incorrect”: ECI

As per the recent release by Election Commission of India, Certain complaints of alleged movement of EVMs, purportedly to replace the polled EVMs in the strongrooms, have been doing the rounds in sections of media. The related agency would like to emphatically and unambiguously clarify that all such ‘reports and allegations’ are “absolutely false”, and “factually incorrect”. As per the visuals seen viral on media do not pertain to any EVMs used during the polls. 

Meanwhile, Delhi’s Chief Electoral Officer named, Mr Ranbir Singh has stated that the machines are “absolutely fool-proof” and fulfils all “transparency and administrative protocols”. He mentioned that, the EVM is “robust by design” and there is no way the machine can be tampered with. Mr Singh also said the machines are manufactured by Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) and Bharat Electronics LimitedNSE -2.37 % (BEL), which are the PSUs with highest security protocols and are programmed there..

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Former President Pranab Mukherjee on May 21 also expressed concern over reports of alleged tampering of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and mentioned that the onus of ensuring institutional integrity lay with the Election Commission of India (ECI). He remarked that, “They must do so and put all speculations to rest,”. While the safety and security of the EVMs, which are in ECI custody at present, was the Commission’s responsibility and there was no room for speculations that challenge the very basis of our democracy. “People’s mandate is sacrosanct and has to be above any iota of reasonable doubt. I’m a firm believer in our institutions and my considered opinion is that it is the ‘workmen’ who decide how institutional ‘tools’ perform,”.

Importantly, The concept and theory building task about the same has becomes ‘safeguard’ for many political parties today. However, such parties are suffering from it’s own “Credibility and Performance crisis” followed by the 2019 LS polls.. As per the many electoral experts has remarked, The EVMs are the wonder machines of the democracy and those who question it are peddling conspiracies to sow seeds of doubt and undermining democracy… Thus, The entire process of “storage and sealing of the strongroom” is covered under videography, as per agency reported here, so there is no doubt about the Maintenance and the Security of EVMs.

Hence, Such related allegations are “factually incorrect”. As far as technical and security error concerns, to cycle/Fix such related things are becomes top-up accountability and responsibility of the Election Commission of India. “The Supreme Court in 2013 also lauded the poll panel’s initiative to introduce VVPATs to remove doubts from the minds of voters. It also asked the Centre to provide adequate funds for it. Since 2015, there have been a number of state elections. Voter slips from 1,500 machines have been tallied since then, and not a single mismatch has been detected,”. Added, Youth Darpan CEO.

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The EC’s statement stating that, After the close of polls, all polled EVMs and VVPATs are brought under security cover to the designated strongrooms, which is sealed with double locks, in the presence of the candidates and in the presence of Observers of the EC. The entire process of storage and sealing of the strongroom is covered under videography. Although, Continuous CCTV coverage is done till completion of counting. Each strongroom is guarded with round-the-clock security by Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).

Further, the candidates or their designated agents remain present at the strongroom for 24X7 vigil at all times. Furthermore, As can be appreciated, the detailed administrative protocols, security framework and procedural guidelines mandated by the Commission completely foreclose and pre-empt the possibility of any mischief or manipulation in the polled EVMs and VVPATs stored in the designated strongrooms under the 24X7 watch of the CAPF as well as the candidates.

Significantly, On the counting day, such strongrooms are opened in the presence of the candidates/agents and Observer under videography. Before the counting of EVMs commences, the counting agents are shown the address tags, seals and serial number of the EVMs to satisfy themselves to the genuineness and authenticity of the machinesused in the actual polls.

Read Also, SC declines increase in verification of VVPAT slips with EVM

Thus, The provisions and protocols have been explained to the political parties on multiple occasions including in several of the 93 meetings held with them at the Commission since announcement of elections. All Chief Electoral Officers and District Election Officers have again been advised to brief the candidates on the elaborate counting arrangements, As per official statement highlighted.

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Consequently, The aspersions in clips being used in media merely pertain to the storage or movement of Reserve unused EVMs. However any case of lapse even in handling of Reserve EVMs is thoroughly investigated and disciplinary action taken against the officers responsible. An EVM Control Room 011- 23052123 will also be functioning at Nirvachan Sadan for handling any EVM related complaints till the completion of counting. This will become operative from 11am on 22.5.2019.

(Inputs were supported by Election Commission of India and agencies report here).

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