Address concerns over vulnerability of VVPATs, says former Chief Election Commissioner
Former CEC SY Quraishi says that the concerns regarding VVPATs, introduced by EC to check whether voting machines are incorrectly recording the votes during elections, should be addressed
Concerns regarding vulnerabilities of the technology behind the voter-verifiable paper audit trails (VVPATS) used in Indian elections should be addressed as soon as possible, said SY Quraishi, former Chief Election Commissioner of India.
VVPATs are machines introduced by the Election Commission to allow voters to verify their voters, to allay concerns over their votes getting wrongly recorded.
Quraishi's comment, made during an interview with Asiaville, came in the context of concerns raised over the technology by Kannan Gopinathan, a former IAS officer, over a month ago. The EC has not yet responded to it.
Gopinathan had written to the commission saying that the VVPAT machines, which are like mini-computers, unlike a one-time programmable ballot unit and control unit – components of an Electronic Voting Machine – introduces vulnerability to the system.
He argues that the VVPAT system also is aware of the candidate sequence, unlike the EVMs without VVPATs, which makes it vulnerable for manipulation.
Listen to Kannan Gopinathan explaining his concerns over VVPATs:
“Those are technical issues which are new. I don’t have full facts. I read that the Election Commission has ordered an enquiry, and asked five professors to look into those issues,” said Quraishi in an interview with Asiaville referring to Gopinathan’s concerns.
“Technology is an evolving issue, and VVPAT was an innovation. If, after VVPAT, some problems have come to light, they have to be investigated. They have to be settled. The sooner the better,” he said.
Former CEC @DrSYQuraishi says concerns regarding #VVPATs in #EVMs should be addressed. "Technology is an evolving issue, and VVPAT was an innovation. If some problems have come to light, they have to be investigated."@naukarshah— Asiaville (@AsiavilleNews) November 18, 2019
Full video: https://t.co/HYmFcqjOpG pic.twitter.com/k48VFvjOhp
The election commission introduced VVPATs in 2013 to allay the concerns raised by various political parties over the possibility of voting machines incorrectly recording the votes by citizens. It consists of a printer and a VVPAT Status Display Unit (VSDU).
When a vote is cast, the machine prints a slip containing the serial number, name and symbol of the candidate. A voter can see and verify his vote through a transparent window for seven seconds.
Asiaville reached out to a member of a technical expert committee, which was to give its opinion to the commission on the matter. He said that it was better to wait for the commission to give its opinions.
(This is from the first part of his interview given to Asiaville. This part dealt with concerns over EVMs, electoral bonds, need to reform the way Election Commissioners are elected, model code of conduct, social media and more. Watch the full interview below)