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NATIONAL NEWS
Calling Arvind Kejriwal. Election Commission Seeks Inputs For Hackathon
 
(NEW DELHI, May 10,2017):Suggestions for how to conduct a hackathon of voting machines will be sought on Friday morning from political parties by the Election Commission at a meeting in Delhi. Among those invited is Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party or AAP which has been lobbying shrilly against the electronic voting machines or EVMs that are currently in use. Mr Kejriwal has said that the machines were manipulated to ensure he lost February's election in Punjab and that the Commission was complicit in the conspiracy with the BJP, which has been elected in states like Uttar Pradesh with incredulous margins.

The Commission's meeting on Friday with representatives of major parties seven national and 48 regional comes after Mr Kejriwal's party provided some major political theatre yesterday by using the Delhi Assembly to demonstrate that voting machines are not hard to rig. The Commission responded that the machine used for the dramatic showandtell was a bootlegged and lesser version of the real deal. It is illegal for anyone outside the Commission to access a voting machine. AAP said the gadget it used was built by IIT grads and there was "not even 1 percent difference" between the prototype and actual voting machines. In a firm dismissal of that testimony, the Commission said AAP should participate in the hackathon, likely to be held at the end of the month. Done, responded AAP promptly, confirming that Saurabh Bharadwaj, the legislator who conducted yesterday's demo, will serve as its representative. Mr Kejriwal also proclaimed that it would not take "more than 90 seconds" to crack the code of a voting machine.

Apart from Mr Kejriwal, parties including the Congress have challenged the legitimacy of electronic voting machines. The Commission has confirmed that the next general election in 2019 will use only upgraded machines that offer instant evidence of the vote recorded by printing a paper receipt that is visible before it drops into a sealed box.

At Friday's session, parties will be asked to help draft the guidelines for the hackathon, though the Commission says that the term is being wrongly used for its event since hackathons involve machines connected to the internet, while vote machines have no online feature which is vital for their security.


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