After EVM hacking now opposition comes up with EVM swapping theory, administration says usual practice to move unused EVMs

From past two days, a lot of videos showing Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) being moved from once place to another on trucks and other vehicles, are making rounds of the Internet. Along with the videos, it is being alleged that polled EVMs in strong rooms are being deliberately replaced with ones containing fake votes in favour of the BJP.

Several opposition leaders have accused the Election Commission of helping the BJP, on the basis of these videos which are making rounds of the Internet. In eastern Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate held a sit-in outside the storage room for electronic voting machines (EVMs) last night.

Afzal Ansari and his supporters claim there was an attempt to take out a vehicle full of voting machines. The police and the district have denied the allegations. Afzal Ansari is the brother of jailed Uttar Pradesh strongman Mukhtar Ansari, who has a number of cases against him.

Various top leaders from the opposition and other well know social media personalities have also joined this chorus of EVM replacement theory. All in all, it appears like this is the newest conspiracy theory regarding the EVM coined by those in the opposition and their sympathisers.

However contrary to the hue and cry that is being raised by a section of people, EVMs being moved after the elections is not an unusual occurance at all. Instead this happens after every election.

A large number of reserve EVMs are kept during the polls, so that if the machine at a booth stops working, it can be quickly replaced with another one without wasting much time. Once the polling process is completely over, the polled EVMs and reserve EVMs are moved from the booths to secured places, where they remain under tight security till the counting day. The same was pointed out by twitter users who are aware of the entire process and administrative officials.

The administration said that the machines seen in one of the video are about 35 reserve EVM units from an assembly segment in Chandauli. Officials said these voting machines reached the storage room and the counting centre later than the other EVMs because of “logistical issues”. According to the rules, reserve EVMs should be deposited at the same time as the machines used in voting.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court today dismissed a request seeking 100 per cent matching of VVPAT or voter paper trail slips with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) during counting of votes on Thursday for the national election.
A vacation bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra termed the request by a Chennai-based organisation “nonsense”. The petition sought a direction that all votes on EVMs be verified with voter paper trail slips.

The petitioners also demanded replacement of EVMs with optical ballot scan machines for future elections. Optical scan voting machine allows a voter to manually mark their vote on a paper ballot which is scanned for electronic tabulation.