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.
This is why Exit polls predicting BJP win! EVMs reaching ‘strong room’ today!
— Main Hoon Na (@neo_pac) May 20, 2019
#EVMHacking Multiple Videos of Suspicious EVM Movements Cause Furore, EC Fails to Explain Lack of Armed Police & Timing of Transportation
The incidents, reported mostly from Uttar Pradesh & Bihar, have raised doubts that polled EVMs are being ‘switched’ with pre-loaded ones‼️ pic.twitter.com/RaxNoB6TQn
— beindia 🇮🇳🇮🇳 (@beindiya) May 21, 2019
Why were unreasonably high exit poll numbers projected for BJP?
Why are EVMs across North India being moved illegally?
Why is @ECISVEEP dismissing EVM tampering despite video evidence?
— Shama Mohamed (@drshamamohd) May 21, 2019
One more EVM video from UP- Jhansi !
Officials claim these are reserve machines.
Movement of EVM was not informed to candidates.Officials have no answer when questioned.@ECISVEEP why reserve EVMs are transported in private vehicles a day after election? pic.twitter.com/1DpJCZYd9i
— Deepak singh (@Deepaksmg18121) May 21, 2019
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.
The fear is not #EVMHacking but EVM swapping. The unusual manner in which so called 'Reserve EVMs' are being allowed to transported around by a totally partisan & compromised EC without any security& regular EVMs are brought for storage days after voting, raises fears of swapping
— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) May 21, 2019
Literally what is going on??? Is this being investigated at all?? “From Bihar to Haryana, visuals of vehicles full of EVMs near strongrooms cause panic, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra issues audio appeal – Janta Ka Reporter 2.0” https://t.co/yN91QEamm3
— Swara Bhasker (@ReallySwara) May 20, 2019
ज़िला निर्वाचन आयोग कह रहा है कि इवीएम स्ट्रॉंग रूम में सुरक्षित हैं..
और ख़ुद को पत्रकार कहने वाले कुछ लोग तालियाँ बजा रहे हैं कि स्ट्रोंग रूम के बाहर खुली गाड़ियों में लाई जा रही इवीएम का जवाब मिल गया…. जो जवाब प्रशासन नहीं दे रहा पत्रकार दे रहे हैं.
हद है बिकाऊ होने की भी.
— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) May 21, 2019
Will @ECISVEEP care to explain why there are so many videos of EVMs being transported without supervision, of the kind that is mandated by protocol? Explain NOW. You owe the voters of this country these answers.
— Sinjini (@sinjini_m) May 21, 2019
Visuals and claims of sudden movement of EVMs observed across the north India! Why is it so? Who is transporting these EVMs & Why? What is purpose and objective of this exercise? In order to avoid any confusion & misconception, Election Commission must issue a statement ASAP.
— Tejashwi Yadav (@yadavtejashwi) May 20, 2019
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 apprehensions regarding EVMs are baseless. EVMs are in strong room with 24×7 CISF security. And candidates have been allowed to post their agents to monitor the strong room.
— Ghazipur_admin (@AdminGhazipur) May 21, 2019
EC guidelines on return of EVMs – both polled and unused reserved. pic.twitter.com/PrXCLi3bML
— Dr. S.Y. Quraishi (@DrSYQuraishi) May 21, 2019
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.