We missed this earlier: The municipal elections in Delhi, expected to be held early next year, may see the use of biometric-based verification of voters, said S.K. Srivastava, State Election Commissioner at a press conference. The system used in the ongoing Bihar panchayat elections is likely to be replicated, based on Srivastava’s remarks.
The Bihar government is using fingerprint verification for voters and an AI-based Optical Character Recognition (OCR) system to count votes, according to reports. At the press conference, Bihar SEC Deepak Prasad said that the implementation of the AI system had led to ‘negligible’ complaints of voter fraud from candidates.
The use of biometric-based verification for voters raises the possibility of Aadhaar data usage. Earlier proposals to use Aadhaar data for voter ID verification have been criticised on concerns that it could lead to voter profiling and disenfranchisement due to frauds in the Aadhaar database. MediaNama has reached out to Srivastava’s office about how such biometric verification will take place and will update the report once a response is received.
How was the technology used in the Bihar elections?
During the elections, the state’s election commission partnered with Staqu Technologies to use its OCR software ‘Jarvis’. Reportedly, this is how it was used:
- CCTVs are pointed at the screens of the Electronic Voting Machines.
- The AI analytics system uses OCR to identify the candidates and count votes.
- This data will then be stored on the SEC’s servers and cross-checked with the SEC’s own data.
- In case of any mismatch, it will raise an alarm.
Aadhaar, biometrics, and elections: Other instances of their convergence
January 2021: The Election Commission of India (ECI) was reportedly going to begin mock trials to test remote voting facilities based on blockchain. A subsequent report revealed that the ECI had proposed using three methods for voter verification: Iris and fingerprint-based biometric verification, voice-biometric verification, and facial recognition.
October 2021: The Telangana government announced plans to test a smartphone-based eVoting solution that leverages technologies such as blockchain, facial recognition, and Aadhaar authentication to record one’s vote.
- EC will create a platform for Aadhaar-Voter ID linkage: Senior Election Commission official
- AI and biometrics to be part of Bihar panchayat elections: Find out how
- Aadhaar-voter ID linkage: Govt forwards election commission’s proposal to UIDAI
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