Sophont
Sunday, May 16, 2004
 
Indian EVM compared with Diebold
Techaos
Last few months have brought very serious discussions on the Net regarding the use of Electronic Voting, and the security of it. In the USA, the saga related to Diebold and its opposition is well known. I do not know the electoral process in the United States, but I attempt here to compare the Technology used by the Indian Election commission and the Diebold AccuVote system. I present here the Information I have about the Indian system, and the information about Diebold got from the web.

... IMHO, the Diebold system is too complex for a simple and straight forward task such as voting. Windows CE, Modems, PCMCIA storage cards, Touch screen GUI, On-screen writing facility, Voice-guidance system, multiple language UI, DES Encryption, centralized voting Server, a step-by-step wizard to cast a vote, Microsoft SQL Server to store votes, Backup servers etc. are all unnecessary. All geeks know that a smaller and simple system is more secure, more code means more cost, more chances for bugs, more threats to security. You cannot make a system that is “guaranteed” as secure. A lot depends on the electoral process and the integrity of election officials.

The Indian Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) are designed and developed by two Government Owned Defense Equipment Manufacturing Units, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL). Both systems are identical, and are developed to the specifications of Election Commission of India.

The System is a set of two devices running on 6V batteries. One device, the Voting Unit is used by the Voter, and another device called the Control Unit is operated by the Electoral Officer. Both units are connected by a 5 meter cable. The Voting unit has a Blue Button for every candidate, the unit can hold 16 candidates, but up to 4 units can be chained, to accommodate 64 candidates. The Control Units has Three buttons on the surface, namely, one button to release a single vote, one button to see the total umber of vote casted till now, and one button to close the election process. The result button is hidden and sealed, It cannot be pressed unless the Close button is already pressed.

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