New electronic voting machines that can detect tampering will be part of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The ‘M3’ or third generation machines that are currently under production, are equipped with the tamper-proof mechanism of halting all operations upon being fiddled with.
“The Commission has always welcomed suggestions and measures to further tighten the EVM’s integrity. Our machines are evolving with new technologies, and currently we are producing M3 machines, which have many security features,” said Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi, according to HT.
Adding that the M3 machines will be commissioned to replace the existing machines in a phased manner, Zaidi also mentioned that by 2019, all the EVMs would be in place and will have voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) units attached.
Starting in August, the production responsibility of the EVM will be handled at the Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL) and Bharat Electronics Lt (BEL) plants.
If everything goes as planned, it is supposed that by September next year, the manufacturing of required number of machines will be completed.
The new machines will also be equipped with a self-diagnostic feature that gives these machines the ability to automatically identify fault or defect with the system or the software.
“The third part is digital certification. The Control Unit and Ballot Unit can communicate with each other. If someone plants a Ballot Unit or Control Unit from outside, the digital signature will not match and the system would stop functioning,” Zaidi said.
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Supposedly, the operation deadline for EVMs in terms of their productions, transportation, storage, maintenance and security is currently undergoing a tight regimen. “The vehicles carrying the EVMs will be fitted with GPS to monitor their movement,” he mentioned.
The Election Commission plans on launching a large-scale mass awareness programme about VVPATs, a part of which would include counting of paper trail slips in every constituency along with the votes up to a certain percentage.
“The candidate has to tell us the name of the polling stations where he wants counting of paper slips and that will be done. I think with this, the issue of EVMs stands closed and its credibility restored,” Zaidi added.