As some have already cast their votes or are yet to vote, the next big question is, what happens to the Electronic Voter Machine (EVM) and where does it go after polling? Here is a look at how EVMs are stored as well as the security measures adopted by the Election Commission of India (ECI) to ensure EVM security.
The ECI has put in place a series of processes to ensure that none of the 55,329 EVMs used in Telangana elections is tampered with. The processes, which are to be followed by the Telangana State Election Commission, happen at two stages: Pre-polls and post polls. To ensure the integrity of EVM during pre-polls, the state EC took the following measures:
1) Engineers from Bharat Electronics Ltd and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd, which supply the EVMs, certify the originality of components after technical and physical examination of each machine. This is the first step in the security process called the First Level Checks (FLCs), a task that is completed in front of the representatives of various political parties.
2) EVMs that are found defective are then sent back to the factory.
3) The state EC ensures that the room where EVMs are stored is fully sanitised, that is, free of any other electronic device or components of electronic devices. Entry to the hall is restricted and guarded by the state police. No person is allowed to carry a camera, mobile phone or spy device to the hall.
4) The state EC then conducts a mock poll of at least 1,000 votes on 10% of randomly selected EVMs. This is done in front of candidates or their representatives. The results are then shown to them. The state EC also records the entire process on video.
5) The EVMs are then randomized twice before they are allocated to an assembly and then to a polling booth. The aim is to rule out any fixed allocation.
6) On the day of the polling, after the EVMs reach the polling booth, one more mock poll is conducted in front of polling agents before the polling starts.
Once the polling is over, the state EC will follow these steps to ensure the EVM security:
1) Once the polling for the day ends, the EVMs are sealed. The polling agents then put their signatures on the seal. From here on, the EVMs will be guarded by Central Paramilitary forces.
2) The EVMs are then taken to a secure storage centre called the strong room. These strong rooms are guarded 24x7 with round-the-clock CCTV coverage of the rooms with power backup. The polling agents can go up to the strong room during the transportation of EVMs.
3) The candidates can put their own seals on the strong room door. The EC also allows representatives to camp in front of strong rooms.
4) The EVMs are then brought to the counting centres and unique IDs of the seals and control unit are shown to representatives of candidates before the counting starts. The counting staff and agents take note of the votes cast for each candidate in the serial number.