Electronic Voting Dangers ! by Dr Rajah Madhewoo

Electoral Commissioner
Electronic Voting Dangers! Without Prejudice
Dear Mr Irfan Rahman 22/10/2014

I had no choice but to make stringent research regarding Electronic voting, and herewith are some of my comments, following your expressed views regarding EVMs in a recent news paper.

Mr Electoral Commissioner Sir, with all due respect, I find your choice for Electronic Voting, absurd, ridiculous and an issue that required your input for further and better Democratic safety rather than appearing in collusion to voting theft.
“Electronic Voting is unfit for political elections in any democratic Country, and no one can change this”.

It is internationally well documented that Electronic Voting Machines EVMs are prone to inconsistencies, and that they can be tampered internally by insiders and externally by hackers. Cyber hacking has progressed even more as technology has advanced.
EVMs are set to bring to an end to National Democracy. In Ireland the project of Electronic voting was scrapped despite an excessive expenditure of £51m.

Winning Elections by hook or by crook is usually in the head of most politicians. The unnecessary razz- ma-tazz and waste of money in political campaigns is revolting, when these monies could have been used to alleviate pains and sufferings. Who does not know of Bribes during Political Campaign in Mauritius?

It is important to use an identity card or passport when voting; however it does not necessarily have to be a biometric ID Card. EVMs may reduce time to count but has serious downsides to it.

EVMs are banned in various developed Countries e.g Germany considers e-voting unconstitutional, due to lack of transparency to a common voter. Ireland set them aside for lack of transparency and trust. US-California and other states banned EVMs without paper trail. Here our Commissioner appears to be more worried about paper wastage rather than our democracy. England, Canada, Switzerland & France never made this a choice. CIA Security expert Mr Stigall, monitored the use of EVMs in developing countries like Venezuela, Macedonia and Ukraine reported abuse of EVMs.

Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, Global Research, October 31, 2012, Stated that electronic voting machines are perfectly designed to steal elections. Germany, Japan, Canada, Switzerland all use paper ballots. Why? Because you can actually count them in public, and then count them again.

I quote a statement made by D.A Rao India (Singapore sought “technology transfer” having a plan to add bio-metric finger-printing feature. By this, the machine will open up to absorb the vote as and when voters swipe the bio-metric card, avoiding the photo-identity card as seen in India).

This the same country that has been licensed in the making of Mauritius National Identity Cards. To note that Singapore itself does not currently use an electronic voting system.

GVL Narasimha Rao points out at least 10 reasons, for not implementing EVMs, of which I have made unprejudiced comments :-

1. The Whole World has Discarded Similar EVMs
So far advanced countries have stuck to voting on paper ballots, owing to their simplicity, verifiability and voter confidence in the system.

2. Use of EVMs is Unconstitutional and Illegal Too!
They are unconstitutional because they infringe upon the fundamental rights of the voters. . This right, fundamental in nature, is absent in the electronic voting system. In the traditional paper ballot system, that fundamental right is preserved because a voter knows exactly how his/ her vote is recorded and counted.

3 EVM Software Isn’t Safe
Indian Election Commission and the public sector manufacturers have rendered security of the EVMs a mockery.

4 Nor is The Hardware
The danger for EVM manipulations is not just from its software. Even the
hardware isn’t safe. Dr. Alex Halderman, professor of computer science in the
University of Michigan explains that one crucial part that can be faked is microcontrollers used in the EVMs in which the software is copied. EVM manufacturers have greatly facilitated fraud by using generic microcontrollers. Not just only microcontrollers, mother boards (cards which contain microcontrollers) and entire EVMs can be replaced
The EVM manufacturers developed an “Authentication Unit” engaging the services of Secure Spin, a Bangalore based software services firm. The Unit was developed and tested in 2006 but when the project was ready for implementation, the project was mysteriously shelved at the instance of the Election Commission. Several questions posed to the Election Commission for taking this decision went unanswered.

5 EVMs are Sitting Ducks
EVMs can be hacked both before and after elections to alter election results. EVM software can be manipulated and many hardware can be replaced. For just two minutes and a few hundred rupees EVM replacement units can be activated that can bypass completely all inbuilt securities, the chip would manipulate the results and give out “fixed” results on the EVM screen.

6 “Insider” Fraud a Concern
Well placed Political sources and experts say that there exists some “insiders” that will demand large sums of money to fix elections. Hence, electronic voting machine regime has spawned a long chain of insiders, all of whom are outside the ambit and control. The “insiders” include the public sector manufacturers, Electronic Corporations, foreign companies supplying microcontrollers, private players’ e.g political leaders, officials carrying out checking and maintenance of electronic voting machines during elections.

7. Storage and Counting are Concerns:
Security experts say that voting machines must remain in a secure environment throughout their life cycle. There could be many malpractices associated with electronic counting. Any result once displayed cannot be recounted for errors. Yes, Human makes errors! So do people who make the machines and the programs without forgetting those with devious intentions. Again if mistakes in ballot counting can happen, this can be verified, whereas once counting results have been done through EVMs, its doom.

8. Vote of No Confidence
The EVMs cannot be trusted. All political parties have doubts, but there are some who will insist for they know that they can use it for their own advantage. I hope that the People of Mauritius take serious stance on this issue. My hairs stand on ends when I repeatedly see the urge and desire of these demoniac thoughts in various newspapers as though the rest of us are fools.

9. EC is Clueless on Technology
On the other hand Mr Commissioner, you are not the only one, but a myriad of other ECs in the same boat not understanding Technological hazards and technological abuses in this phenomenon.
10. Trust Deficit
Every Govt. with an EVM will say strongly “Mine is the best and mine is tamperproof”, I will say it loud and clear NO TECHNOLOGY IS FOOL PROOF.
On the 24th August 2010, Hari. K Prasad was taken away by police in India for theft of an EVM. Should he have been in the Western world, he would have been praised for his guts and determination exposing a system that has flawed democracy, human rights, freedom of expression. It is a matter of shame and travesty of justice that the Election Commission instead of appreciating the acts of such heroes should stoop to intimidation and try and punish Hari and his colleagues.
I am intrigued to find in some documents that Mauritius is being supplied Electronic voting Machines. Our Government seems desperate at all costs I sincerely hope, that this is not the case as our small nation and our small country deserves better. I Pray.

Yours Sincerely

Dr M.Rajah Madhewoo
fer reviv nu pei

Posted by on Oct 23 2014. Filed under Actualités, En Direct, Featured, Sci-Tech. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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