EC dismisses EVMs with bluetooth linkage charge

EC dismisses EVMs with bluetooth linkage charge

The Election Commission has dismissed allegation that some Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) used during polling in Porbandar in Gujarat on Saturday could be linked with smartphones through bluetooth technology.

The EC also stated that only a very small number of the EVMs and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail devices malfunctioned and had to be replaced during the first phase polling in the state assembly elections. The poll panel also maintained that it had not received any complaint about the EVMs registering votes wrongly or the votes cast for one candidate being registered in favour of another on the machines.

Sudeep Jain, Deputy Chief Election Commissioner, told journalists  here that some of the EVMs and VVPATs deployed in polling stations on Saturday were replaced because some buttons on them did not work properly or the display panels malfunctioned.

The EC sent its observer and other local poll officials to the polling stations from where the complaints about the EVMs being connected with smartphone through bluetooth had come. It was found that one of the polling agents had a smartphone with device ID as "ECO 105". It was shown as a pairable device when the bluetooth on other smartphones in the vicinity were switched on. The "ECO-105" was wrongly believed to be the device ID of the EVMs used in the polling stations and a complaint was lodged, said Jain.

"The allegation was found to be baseless. None of the EVMs used by the EC can be connected with any other device through bluetooth or wi-fi technologies," he said.

Malfunction  

The EC deployed 26,865 Balloting Units, 24,689 Control Units and 24,689 VVPATs for the first phase polling in Gujarat. Only 0.6% (181) Balloting Units, 0.55% (223) Control Units and 1.7% (714) VVPATs malfunctioned and had to be replaced during polling, said poll panel officials.

The EVMs were at the centre of a controversy earlier this year after the BJP's landslide victories in the assembly-polls in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, with several opposition parties doubting the credibility of the machines.

The EC on Friday had reassured Gujarat voters that it had put in place an elaborate framework of administrative systems, security protocols and procedural checks and balances to prevent any misuse of the machines or procedural lapses during voting.

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