Monday, 18 April 2011

E-Voting Machines And System Of India

Electronic voting using electronic voting machines (EVMs) have never been a smooth exercise in India. Cyber security concerns of the e-voting machines of India have been frequently raised by many experts of India. Thus, e-voting in India never found a clean and clear acceptance despite the reluctance of the election commission of India.

Although EVMs have many advantages over the traditional paper based voting system yet these advantages are useless if EVMs can be abused and the election results can be manipulated.

According to Praveen Dalal, managing partner of New Delhi based law firm Perry4Law and the leading techno-legal expert of India, E-Voting in India must be accompanied by proper plan and adequate Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure. At the same time special emphasis must be given to the Cyber Security aspect of E-Voting Mechanism in India. There is no doubt that E-Voting Machines in India can be “Manipulated” to adversely affect the end results, says Dalal.

While the use of E-Voting may help expanding the voting community yet there must be a suitable Policy and Regulation to prevent and remedy “Misuses” arising out of such E-Voting System, says Dalal. The crucial question is what if E-Voting is proved to be tainted subsequently after Cyber Forensics appraisal and a Government has been formed on the basis of that voting? Will the Election Commission declare such elections null and void? Will the President of India declare a re-election? Will the Supreme Court of India take cognisance of this fact, asks Praveen Dalal.

However, election commission of India is not very impressed by the claims of manipulations of EVMs in India. In a surprising and welcome move, the state election commission of Mumbai has decided to take the proper recourse. The state election commission is planning to use e-voting in the upcoming civic elections in Mumbai next year. The commission has decided to offer Rs 10 lakh to anyone who can hack their e-voting system.

Accordingly, once the software is created, ethical hackers will be invited to test it. The money would have to be paid by the consultant who would develop software for the commission. In case someone succeeds in hacking the e-voting machine, the consultant will have to bear the cost and the software will have to be reworked.

This sort of action was expected from the election commission of India that has not been very active in this regard. Let this incidence be an example for all concerned.