An Election Officer checks an Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) at a distribution center on the eve of Chandrapur Municipal Corporation elections in Chandrapur, Maharashtra, April 18. Similar EVMs are being provided for the EVM hacking challenge, June 3. (Press Trust of India)

The Election Commission has pulled out from its strong rooms in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Uttarakhand, 14 electronic voting machines used in the recent assembly polls for the June 3 ‘EVM Challenge,’ in which the NCP and the CPI-M will participate.

Since the two parties had not given their preference for the EVMs they would like to tamper with during the challenge, the Commission has brought to Delhi, 14 machines—from Ghaziabad and Gautam Buddha Nagar in U.P., Patiala and Bhatinda from Punjab, and Dehradun from Uttarakhand.

While each participating party can use a maximum of four EVMs for the challenge, sources in the commission said extra machines were also kept as back up keeping in mind any eventuality.

The challengers will get four hours each to tamper with the machines. The challenge will begin at 10AM and end at 2PM. Two separate counters have been set up for the CPI-M and the NCP to participate in the challenge.

Members of a technical committee which helps the EC evaluate the EVMs would judge the proceedings.

Announcing the contours of the ‘EVM challenge,’ the EC had said it has been divided into two parts. First, the parties will have to prove that the EVMs used in the assembly elections in the five states were tampered with to favor a particular candidate or political party by altering the results stored in them.

The claimants will have to alter the results in the control units used during these polls in exactly the same conditions in which EVMs remain under the technical and administrative safeguards of the EC after elections.

They can use a combination of keys on EVMs or over the air communication devices such as cellphone and Bluetooth to tamper with the machine to change the results, he said.