Electoral Reforms In India

Exploring the idea of blockchain voting

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Blockchain

Mains level : Paper 2- Idea of using blockchain technology for remote voting

The article analyses the pros and cons of the adoption of blockchain technology for remote voting.

Background

  • The Election Commission of India has been exploring the idea of further digitising the electoral infrastructure of the country.
  • In furtherance of this, it explored the possibility of using blockchain technology for the purpose of enabling remote elections.

What will be the benefits

  • ‘Remote voting’ would appear to benefit internal migrants and seasonal workers, who account for roughly 51 million of the populace (Census 2011).
  • The envisioned solution might also be useful for some remotely-stationed members of the Indian armed forces.

Key issues

  • Electors would still have to physically reach a designated venue in order to cast their vote,
  • Digitisation and interconnectivity introduce additional points of failure external to the processes which exist in the present day.
  • Blockchain solutions rely heavily on the proper implementation of cryptographic protocols.
  • If security is breached, it could unmask the identity and voting preferences of electors, or worse yet, allow an individual to cast a vote as someone else.
  • The provisioning of a dedicated line may make the infrastructure less prone to outages, it may also make it increasingly prone to targeted Denial-of-Service attack.
  • Digitised systems may also stand to exclude and disenfranchise certain individuals due to flaws in interdependent platforms, flaws in system design, as well as general failures caused by external factors.

Way forward

  • Political engagement could perhaps be improved by introducing and improving upon other methods, such as postal ballots or proxy voting.
  • Another proposed solution to this issue includes the creation of a ‘One Nation, One Voter ID’ system.

Consider the question “What are the opportunities and challenges in the adoption of blockchain technology. Suggest the other alternatives to enable the ballot portability.”

Conclusion

Adoption of technology should be weighed against the risk it carries in the electoral process. While the adoption of blockchain technology offers many opportunities, the concerns it raises must be addressed before its adoption.

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