Will e-voting be foolproof?

GN Bureau | June 18, 2010



Gujarat, led by a tech-savvy chief minister, is all set to introduce online voting in municipal polls in November. State election commissioner K C Kapoor says all measures are being taken to make online voting foolproof “with no chance of anyone hacking into the system or resorting to bogus voting”, according to an Indian Express report.

Gujarat is moving ahead with times, which is welcome, and there can be no argument against making the best use of information technology, through e-governance initiatives or through e-voting. However, the obvious question here is, in the aftermath of the general elections last year, several parties (led by BJP) and leaders (particularly L K Advani) had raised questions over the reliability of electronic voting machines. Since then, in fact, a campaign has been launched by independent analysts too, with alleged proofs on how EVMs can be manipulated. [See, for example, EVM stands for electronic voting manipulation by GVL Narasimhan.]

Then, there are questions of cyber-security. Last year, it was a Canada-based organisation that told us our government websites, including some of those maintained by our diplomatic missions abroad, were hacked. Clearly, our government administrators have a lot of learning to do when it comes to counter-hacking.

Thus, when his colleagues in BJP are debating if the EVMs are foolproof, and administrators are taking basic lessons in cyber-security, Narendra Modi is moving on to the next step, e-voting. Is Gujarat or India really prepared for that?

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