On EVM: Debate in Bigwigs, Others Jump in

Tesla chief Elon Musk and former Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar have started a debate on whether the world should switch to paper voting and discard electronic voting machines (EVMs) over possible risks of being hacked and manipulated.

Jun 16, 2024 - 17:36
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On EVM: Debate in Bigwigs, Others Jump in

Tesla chief Elon Musk and former Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar have started a debate on X (formerly Twitter) on whether the world should switch to paper voting and discard electronic voting machines (EVMs) over possible risks of being hacked and manipulated.

Later, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav also joined in, backing Mr Musk's apprehension of EVMs.

Former Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar has pushed back against billionaire tech magnate Elon Musk's comments on electronic voting machines (EVMs), labelling them as a "huge sweeping generalisation" without basis.

Elon Musk, in a post on X, had raised concerns about electronic voting machines, suggesting they should be eliminated due to the potential risk of being hacked by humans or AI, even if the risk is minimal.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who served as Minister of State for the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in Modi Cabinet 2.0, countered Musk’s view, stating it might apply to the US and other regions where standard computing platforms are used to build "Internet-connected voting machines." However, Chandrasekhar asserted that this is not the case in India, where EVMs are custom-designed, secure, and isolated from any network or media.

To this, Musk replied with a pithy, "Anything can be hacked."

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi also entered the controversy and backed Musk’s view on the matter. The Gandhi scion, who has often questioned the line that EVMs are inviolable, characterised them as a "black box."

His Opposition INDIA bloc ally Akhilesh Yadav said technology experts around the world are openly writing about the dangers of EVM tampering. "We reiterate our demand that all future elections be conducted using ballot papers," Mr Yadav said.

Amid the raging controversy, BJP IT Cell in-charge Amit Malviya issued a challenge to the Tesla CEO and a put-down to Rahul Gandhi.

The Supreme Court has also ruled it can't dictate the functioning of the Election Commission (EC), a constitutional authority, on the matter of EVMs. The EC has long maintained India's EVMs are foolproof.

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