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Report: EVMs can't be assumed to be tamper-proof

Kolkata: A report released by the Citizens' Commission on Elections (CCE) on Saturday stated that the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) cannot be assumed to be completely tamper-proof. The report claimed that there is no guarantee that the voter's choice is reflected with total fidelity in all cases.

In this context, it submits that immediate steps need to be taken to rectify the current procedures of Election Commission of India (ECI) irrespective of the scale and extent of possible error or manipulation.

The release of CCE's report assumes significance with the term of five legislative Assemblies of Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry and West Bengal ending latest by June 8. The term of Bengal Legislative Assembly is ending on May 30.

The CCE has also recommended counting of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) paper slips at all polling stations. It was found that during the elections in Madhya Pradesh the EVM counting did not tally with the VVPAT paper train at 200 polling stations.

It has further recommended that the electronic voting system should be re-designed to be software and hardware independent in order to be verifiable or auditable.

The report underscores the need for redesigning of the VVPAT system to provide a slot to the voter to physically verify that the VVPAT paper slips reflect exactly the voter's choice. "The ECI's VVPAT system is not truly voter-verified because it does not provide the necessary agency to a voter to cancel her vote if she thinks it has been recorded incorrectly," stated the report.

The CCE was formed after several citizens' bodies drew public attention to the lack of integrity of EVM voting and the ECI's departure from neutrality. The committee is chaired by former Supreme Court judge Madan Lokur and comprises former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, former Madras High Court judge Hari Paranthaman, economist Arun Kumar, activist John Dayal, senior journalist Pamella Philipose, IIT-Delhi professor Subhashis Banerjee and former IAS officer Sundar Burra.

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