Technology entrepreneur Elon Musk makes comment on EVM

Tesla chief Elon Musk Photo Courtesy: PIB

Tech baron Elon Musk has said that the world should get rid of Electronic Voting Machines as they are vulnerable to hacking. Former Indian minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar has countered this, saying that Musk is “wrong” and EVMs can be made secure with the right technology.

“We should eliminate electronic voting machines. The risk of being hacked by humans or AI, while small, is still too high,” he posted on X.

He shared his opinion while referring to an X post by Robert F Kennedy Jr, nephew of former US President John F Kennedy and an independent hopeful for the 2024 US Elections, who said Puerto Rico’s primary elections just experienced hundreds of voting irregularities related to electronic voting machines.

“Puerto Rico’s primary elections just experienced hundreds of voting irregularities related to electronic voting machines, according to the Associated Press.Luckily, there was a paper trail so the problem was identified and vote tallies corrected,” he wrote on X.

“US citizens need to know that every one of their votes were counted, and that their elections cannot be hacked. We need to return to paper ballots to avoid electronic interference with elections. My administration will require paper ballots and we will guarantee honest and fair elections,” he said.

In India, third-generation EVMs are used.

Former Indian Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar was quick in countering Musk and said he made a ‘huge sweeping generalization statement’.

“This is a huge sweeping generalization statement that implies no one can build secure digital hardware. Wrong,” Chandrasekhar posted on X.

“@elonmusk ‘s view may apply to US n other places – where they use regular compute platforms to build Internet connected Voting machines,” he said.

“But Indian EVMs are custom designed, secure and isolated from any network or media – No connectivity, no bluetooth, wifi, Internet. ie there is no way in. Factory programmed controllers that cannot be reprogrammed,” he said. “Electronic voting machines can be architected and built right as India has done. We wud be happy to run a tutorial Elon,” Chandrasekhar said,  

Musk made the comment at a time when India had just concluded its seven-phased general polls which was won by Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA alliance, marking the third straight term of Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy.