The election season is here and e-voting is perhaps one of the issues which is being discussed nowadays. Few netizens seem to believe that the Election Commission has allowed e-voting, which unfortunately is not true.
E-voting is convenient and may be helpful for certain sections of people. The sections which may benefit from this step are the people who have migrated to other states or NRIs. The NRIs were allowed to be registered as voters in 2010, but they need to come down to India to cast their votes. This is clearly a challenge. Die hard enthusiasts do come down to their constituencies, but same may not apply as a rule for every person.
The issue is whether the law allows e-voting? The answer is an emphatic “yes”. The relevant law which allows e-voting is the Information Technology Act, 2000 (“the IT Act”). Even other legislations like section 108 of the Companies Act, 2013 allows e-voting by the shareholders. As a matter of fact the provision for e – voting in the Companies Act, 2013 is based on the legal regime of creation, authentication and attribution of records which the IT Act stipulates.
A concept like e-voting may be allowed only when it will mirror the polling process. In a nut shell for a proper vote, the voter should be identified and then he should be able to cast his vote. Further, the returning officer should ensure that the person whose name exists in the electoral rolls is the one casting the votes. We may juxtapose this scenario in the electronic form.
We may have a secure portal for e-voting. The portal may allow for the registration of the digital signatures from the voters. Please note that a similar practice is currently being followed by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (“MCA”). Only a person whose digital signature certificate is registered on the MCA portal is allowed to transact on the MCA website. Please note that digital signature has already been allowed to be used for secure transactions say tax filings or bidding for large infra projects. Further, should the election commission require, specific digital signatures with appropriate encryption may only be used to cast votes. At the instance when the user casts his vote the system may authenticate the digital signature and allow the vote to be polled. Please note that the IT Act identifies a digital signature as an electronic record. Further, the