Dismissing claims of the opposition parties, the State Election Commission of Maharashtra (SECM) has said that the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are tamper proof.
The Congress and NCP had alleged of possible tampering and manipulations in the EVMs in the recent elections to 10 Municipal Corporations and 25 Zilla Parishads in the state.
Both the parties had received a drubbing in the recently held polls, including that for the Mumbai civic body.
“The Supreme Court too in its ruling in 2014 had ruled that the EVMs used in elections are tamper proof,” Election Commissioner J S Saharia said.
In the recently concluded civic elections, the SECM had put to use 68,943 control units and 1,22,431 ballot units (collectively commonly referred to as EVMs) across 43,160 polling booths.
The SECM began using EVMs manufactured by ECIL for voting in civic elections since March 2004, an official in the SECM said.
“Before the elections, the EVMs are checked to find out whether they are functioning properly or not in what is called as the First Level Checking (FLC).
“In the civic polls the FLC is done at the municipal corporation level and in the case of the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections the FLC is done at the level of the District Collector,” the SECM official said.
The FLC of an EVM is done by a ECIL official or any official trained by the ECIL in the presence of the representatives of all the political parties.
In the FLC, an EVM is randomly picked for the purpose and no one is sure which polling booth the machine will eventually be put to use. After the process of filing of nomination papers is over, the same process of repeated in the presence of representatives of all the contesting candidates.
“Again on the day of polling, before the actual polling is due to commence, a ‘Mock Poll’ is conducted by the Booth Level Polling Officer in the presence of representatives of all the contesting candidates wherein they are asked to cast mock ballot to check again whether the machine is functioning properly or not,” the official added.
He said that after the mock poll is over the machine is again cleared of all the mock voting and the EVM is tagged.
Again after the actual polling is over, the EVM is sealed and tagged which has signatures of representatives of all the contesting candidates.
These tagged and sealed EVMs are then stored in a strongroom which is heavily guarded with layers of security and in the presence of representatives of all the contesting candidates, he said.
On the day of counting of votes these EVMs are once again shown to the representatives of all the contesting candidates to satisfy them that the tags are intact and that there signatures are on them, he added.