The Election Commission of India has decided to set up a committee to explore the possibility of allowing migrant workers to vote remotely on a pilot basis.
Voting facilitation for Migrant Workers
- According to an ECI, there needs to be a concerted effort to see problems faced by migrant workers in exercising their franchise.
- ECI had set up a four-member panel in 2020 to assess the technology landscape to enable remote voting.
- The panel has presented a concept plan to the ECI to enable a two-way transfer of vote and ballot.
- Currently, postal ballots are meant only for service voters such as army personnel who cannot return to vote.
So what is remote voting, how will it work on the ground and what are the challenges in the implementation of this process.
What is Remote Voting?
- Remote voting means facilitating voting to those who are migrated to somewhere else for earning, they can’t return even to their respective home Village for mere voting.
ECI’s Proposals to use Blockchain
- IIT-Madras who is among the ECI panel is developing a system for two-way remote voting in a controlled environment using blockchain technology.
Goals to be achieved
- More inclusive democracy and political process
- No voter to be left behind
How would it work?
- It would entail:
- Voter identification and authorisation on the Electoral Registration Officer Network (ERO Net
- Use of biometric data and web cameras for authentication
- Blockchain-based e-ballot generation, which would convert into a vote once the hash code would be generated on its execution
- The encrypted remote votes cast would once again be validated at the pre-counting stage to ensure that they have neither been decrypted nor tampered with or replaced.
Why need Remote Voting?
- Migrant population: According to the 2011 census, there are 45 crore internal migrants who accounted for 37% of the population. There are nearly 10 million migrant workers as per e-SHRAM portal.
- Flexiblity for voters: The individual can cast his/her vote from multiple locations and not solely from one registered polling station.
- Increasing voting turnout: It will ensure more eligible voters cast their votes which will help in including more voters.
- Preventing transparency: It will provide enhanced efficiency in counting votes. It will be promoting security towards the recording of votes as opposed to physical tampering.
- Voter Authencity: It will help in minimising errors and easing the overall process for the voter by utilising basic features such as Facial recognition technology (FRTs) and biometric identification protocols.
- Elections and weather: Voting calendar is very random. It is never held in convenient months.
Apprehensions regarding remote voting
- Mapping of migrant laborers: Mapping of migrant labourers is a mammoth exercise that the administration has to take up.
- Voter-list reforms: There are a set of reforms pending in Indian. For example, Aadhaar-linking for de-duplication and a single electoral roll.
- Privacy concerns: It saves users’ biometrics and other data which can be misused by hackers and other parties that would undermine the right to privacy.
- Voting is the most important aspect of democracy and for its feasibility it’s persistence and timely improvement is utmost important.
- The ECI is working to find a system where these people can also vote to their desired candidate from any corner of the country.