Election Commission to soon begin mock trials for remote voting: CEC Sunil Arora

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January 25, 2021 1:17 PM

The EC has tied up with IIT-Madras to work on a new technology that will allow migrant voters in far away cities to vote without going to designated polling stations of their constituencies.

There have been demands for the rollout of remote voting facility for years as lakhs of electorates who are away from their home constituencies during elections are denied the chance to vote due to circumstances.

Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora today informed that mock trials for remote voting facilities for migrant electors would begin soon in the country. During his address on the 11th National Voters’ Day, the CEC said a research project on remote voting using cutting-edge technology has already begun and the mock trials for this would commence soon.

The EC has tied up with IIT-Madras to work on a new technology that will allow migrant voters in far away cities to vote without going to designated polling stations of their constituencies.

There have been demands for the rollout of remote voting facility for years as lakhs of electorates who are away from their home constituencies during elections are denied the chance to vote due to circumstances.

In the current system, a person has to go to the designated place where his or her names are registered in order to cast his/her vote. But now, the EC is trying to bring a system where a person can vote without going to his/her designated voting centre in their constituency.

How will remote voting work?

According to PTI, former Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Sandeep Saxena had earlier said the concept “is a two-way electronic voting system in a controlled environment on white-listed IP devices on dedicated Internet lines enabled with biometric devices and a web camera”. He, however, said that the voters will have to reach a designated centre during a pre-decided period of time to be able to use this facility.

Saxena also said that it would not mean voting from home. First, the voter’s identity will be established by the system and then a blockchain-enabled personalised e-ballot paper will be generated. Saxena said that when the vote is cast, the ballot will be securely encrypted and a blockchain hashtag will also be generated. This hashtag notification will then be sent to the candidates and political parties.

He said that the encrypted remote votes so cast will once again be validated at the pre-counting stage to ensure that they have neither been decrypted nor tampered with or replaced. “Suppose there is a Lok Sabha election and a Chennai voter is in Delhi. Instead of returning to vote in his or her constituency or missing out on voting, the voter can reach a pre-designated spot set up by the EC, say in Connaught Place, in a particular time window and can cast his vote,” Saxena was quoted as saying by PTI.

To avail this facility, voters may have to apply in advance to their returning officers of the designated venue assigned under the new system.

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