The Gujarat State Election Commission has implemented e-Voting for the forthcoming Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation elections which will take place on 19th April 2011. e-Voting has been implemented across all 11 wards of the civic body. According to a Press Release (in Gujarati) issued by Gujarat’s SEC, a total of 1582 voters have registered for e-Voting, out of which 1464 voters have opted for voting from their homes or office computers, while 118 will go to e-Booths set up by the commission, to cast their votes online.
Gujarat’s State Election Commissioner feels that e-Voting will help citizens who have access to the internet, cast their votes online, without standing in long queues, which are a deterrent. The online voting system is being run by Tata Consultancy Services. A separate website has been made live, in addition to a toll free helpline, which has been set up to provide assistance(1800 258 2501).
Last year when we reported about the State issuing a draft notification and forming a task force on on e-Voting, we had advocated the inclusion of Common Service Centers or CSCs in this initiative and stressed on the need for voter authentication.
How e-Voting works:
– Citizens can register online via the SEC website and choose if they intend to vote from their own PC or through an e-Booth. SEC officials will visit to verify the voter’s credentials and take his signatures in physical form.
– After the citizen’s application gets approved, he will receive a user name and password on his e-mail i.d and registered mobile number. He will then be able to activate his account and choose a new password.
– On Voting day , registered citizens will be able to login to their account, and vote online through a digital ballot paper. Note that voting has to be done through the same computer which was used for activating the account. For additional verification, an SMS passcode will be sent to their registered mobile number, which has to be entered during online voting. The passcode is valid for 5 minutes and can be re-generated in case of failure, a maximum 2 times. An encrypted receipt will be issued after successful voting.
– Voters choosing e-Booths will just need to go to their nearest e-Booth with a photo i.d and vote online.
The SEC’s online voting website also links to presentations (including one by TCS which has the ‘Confidential’ label on all slides) explaining the e-Voting system.
While the SEC and the Government have set-up e-polling booths in different areas, the number of people registering for e-Voting is very small at this time.It needs to be made a mass phenomenon by promoting it and replacing electronic voting machines with online voting in some wards. However, the security and secrecy of the process needs to be taken care of to prevent any sort of tampering.
P.S – Special thanks to Nirav Sanghavi of Blogadda for helping us translate the Press release.