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Fact-check: Viral video claiming EVMs can be hacked is FAKE news

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has debunked a misinformation campaign claiming that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) can be hacked. Responding to a social media post and YouTube clip, the ECI reiterated that EVMs are hack-proof and provided technical details to support this assertion

Lok Sabha Elections 2024 Factcheck: Viral video claiming EVMs can be hacked is FAKE news
First Published Apr 15, 2024, 3:49 PM IST

Misinformation campaigns are common during the election period. The Election Commission of India has busted one such misinformation campaign, which claimed that the Electronic Voting Machines can be hacked. The Election Commission, responding to a post on social media platform X that had shared a YouTube clip claiming that the EVM could be hacked, declared once again that the EVM cannot be hacked.

The Election Commission also said that the EVM shown in the video as being hacked into did not belong to the polling body. "Claim is blatantly wrong & EVM shown is not ECI EVMs. EVM in the video is Fake. ECI EVM cannot be hacked or manipulated," the poll body said on X.


Further, the EC shared a link from its website detailing the operation of the EVM. 

This is not the first time that an EVM hacking claim has come to the fore. The EC has maintained that the EVMs that it uses are hack-proof.

According to the Election Commission, the EVMs have secure controllers that undergo a one-time programming (OTP) step, preventing further programming. Technical details about the microcontrollers are publicly available on the manufacturers' websites.

The ECI states that the EVM is a standalone device with no external wired or wireless connectivity beyond the EVM systems. It further explains that each unit of the Ballot Unit (BU), Control Unit (CU), and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) is equipped with digital certificates and undergoes mutual authentication when connected. Therefore, it is impossible to connect any other similar machine to the ECI-EVM.

EC officials say that rigorous technical and administrative safeguards are in place throughout the use of EVMs, from storage and transportation to randomization, allocation, conduct of First Level Checking (FLC), commissioning, mock polls, main polls, and result counting. 

Unauthorized access to EVM units is prevented, as all steps are conducted in the presence of stakeholders, officials add.

The Election Commission says that mock polls are regularly conducted, with five per cent of randomly selected EVMs undergoing a mock poll with a significant number of votes. The electronic results from the Control Unit (CU) are compared with the VVPAT slip count to verify the proper functioning of the EVMs. This, according to the Election Commission, ensures that the EVMs cannot be programmed multiple times or manipulated through various methods such as connecting to cell phones, Bluetooth devices, or replacing parts.

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