Looks like our research may have killed black-box voting for a billion people… Yay!
For months and months, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has held their black-box voting machines (called EVMs in India) to be untamperable. When that really didn’t work anymore (and they tried long after everyone could see they were lying), they did the same thing authorities did in the Netherlands and Germany: they claimed they were unhackable because they were stored very securely and certainly no insider would ever dream of comitting fraud. It appears that this second line of defense has now also fallen.
Yesterday there was a meeting of all the national political parties in India, and it appears the ECI has finally given in: they are now looking at alternatives where the voter sees his/her vote on a piece of paper which can be counted by hand. Here, they also did that, which was just a first step to having the machines scrapped. It’s going to be interesting to see whether the Indian government thinks they can drag on the existing solution until something new is ready. (They tried that here, didn’t work.)
Too early to cry victory, but certainly another big step forward. Now the charges against Hari Prasad, the man who spent time in jail for daring to notice that the emperor had no clothes on, need to be dropped (TODAY GENTLEMEN!) and Hari needs to be fully rehabilitated. Then a strict deadline for scrapping black-box voting needs to be imposed. Then the details of any new voting system need to be worked out. There is already talk of allowing a hand-count only if a judge permits it, which is of course far too restrictive.
For further details alsocheck out Narasimha Rao’s blog at indianevm.com.