India has always been keen to embrace all that is new in the field of technology. It is only natural that all the latest technologies in the West have found an audience in India. Moreover, it is expected that India will try and use such technologies to resolve some real-world problems. At present, the Internet of Things or IoT is the buzzword and all things associated with it such as AI or Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning etc are gradually making their foray into our thinking.
This new trend has witness the growth of many Indian start-ups which are focused on researches on the Internet of Things or IoT and smart technologies. This explains why the extent of application of such technologies in the society is so visible. These technologies have been used by India for benefitting the society at large. One area where this may help to create a much needed positive impact is in conducting of fair elections in the country.
Elections in India have always been ridden with controversies; there are always complaints of poll booths having been rigged, proxy voting practices and voter impersonation instances. These unhealthy practices have actually made it rather difficult to conduct free and fair elections. So, the time has come to discuss with technology experts about possible remedies to these grievances through the use of such innovative technologies like IoT. It is however important to analyze whether the use of IoT for conducting elections in India can be a practicable solution or not before actually implementing it.
How Can The Iot Help To Conduct Fair Elections In India?
It has been argued therefore that engineers and IoT service providers can easily come up with a smart system in which any incorrect match can be quickly detected. This error can be detected by comparing a voter’s biometrics in the polling booth with the biometrics included in the Aadhar database. When such mismatch is detected, alerts may be triggered and then communicated to the closest police stations so that appropriate action may be taken. There is no arguing the fact that huge funds are spent on conducting any election in the country. But, there are always forces which malign the system and engage in rigging and other such illegal voting practices. The end result may be quite the opposite of what the popular choice was. So, it is best to have biometrics as the first level of technology in the election process. In hybrid voting system model the system will use the voter’s thumb impression for identification. This is because thumb impression for every person is going to be unique. This data is then put inside the Aadhar card along with other biometric details.
How Does Smart Technology Prevent False Voting Or Repeat Voting?
- When the elections are on, this thumb image is treated as an input to the computer. After this, it will be compared with the records of the voter contained in Aadhar database. When the pattern is found to match with the record, he is given the right to cast his vote. If for some reason the thumb impression does not tally with the database records or if the thumb impression has been used earlier, the right to vote is denied, or the vote thus cast will be rejected. This turns out to be a rather effective and simple solution to tackle the problem of proxy voting.
- This practice of making biometric verification compulsory at the polling booth is something which the Election Commission can easily enforce. For this purpose, embedded engineers can be entrusted with the task of building smart systems that are designed to detect proxy voters before these voters get to cast their votes.
- The idea is to build a smart hybrid system for electronic voting which has a primary host collecting data from EVMs in different polling booths of a region where the EVMs are connected to one another through a network. This will be able to produce results right away. The counting will be done at this main host and this helps to cut down on the overall election costs. Maintenance costs are also lessened as the manpower needed to tally or verify number of votes will come down. The results will be more accurate and there is no scope for human errors. The embedded engineers are also capable of designing systems driven by data which can make accurate calculations from such huge volumes of data.
- Another key benefit which a smart voting mechanism can offer is quicker results. Results will be declared much earlier because most of the manual processes can be successfully replaced with automated processes. So far, the digital technologies have been adopted at the level of EVMs alone. This means that there are still many loopholes which anti-social elements can take advantage of and engage in illegal practices to manipulate the results. But if IoT experts and engineers can come up with secure gateways for voting data, these illegal practices can be immediately eliminated. At the same time, the costs will be under control.
- It may be a good idea to develop sensors in the booths; engineers can program scanners and sensors for matching the voters’ fingerprints with records in the UIDAI or Unique Identification Authority of India database. This is then deployed at polling booths for authenticating voters. Developing such a system is likely to involve a lot of manpower and is going to be time-consuming, but it is possible to achieve this through conventional programming methods.
- As far as voter list preparation goes, engineers are hopeful that even this can be improved with smart technologies. So, it is possible to securely use the UIDAI APIs or application programming interfaces for authenticating users at the time they are registering as voters. The government can also make use of the Aadhar card more wisely; the Aadhar number can be declared as mandatory for everyone. It can be used for enrolling all genuine voters and for making the list devoid of errors. By doing this you can ensure there are no discrepancies in the voter’s list. However, this too would demand a lot of effort by the government. But it is not unachievable; it is possible to create a new kind of voter list using Aadhar cards. Engineers may use iris scanners this time for creating another type of smart voter ID card which can be generated electronically and not like the existing paper card which is machine-laminated.
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