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Digital Elections-Voting Through Phone


Affiliations
1 Army Officer, Chair of Excellence, College of Defence Management, Secunderabad & Research Scholar, Osmania University, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
     

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Elections in India are nothing short of a spectacle that generates immense activity generally associated with a mega sporting, religious or cultural event. In the case of general elections, the ‘festivities’ are Pan India. The event starts off as a massive opinion building and image building exercise and then moves on to mega rallies and speeches. Many facets of the Nation are paralyzed in anticipation or expectation of the nature of Govt to follow. The period of campaigning and conduct are laced with humour, violence, misery, corruption and celebrations. While measures to overhaul the entire electoral process are under serious consideration, this paper focuses only on the aspects of the conduct phase. This phase spread over one month in the case of general elections, has a grave adverse impact on several facets ranging from policy-making and strategic decisions to administration, governance, financial health and even the moral health of the Nation. Exploiting the advancements in Information & Communication Technology to make the conduct of election easier, faster, less expensive and have the least effect on the day-to-day life of the public is of paramount importance. This paper examines the use of mobile phones for the exercise of the franchise through the internet. All considerations such as availability and accessibility of mobile phones to all users, the security of the phone at the subscriber and receiving ends, the bandwidth, the anonymity of the voter, the security of the voter from intimidation, to coercion, to being held hostage, are discussed. A recommended strategy to use mobile phones for voting, without compromising on any facet of the secret ballot system has thus been evolved. The recommendations include the issue of custom-made mobile phones to all voters in lieu of a National Identity Card, use of these phones as a distress call device in non-election periods and to cast vote during the elections. The features of the phone and the system including various biometric parameters that secure the voter, his identity and his choice from any type of threat, allocation of dedicated bandwidth for communication etc., have also been dwelt upon. The advantages of this new concept over the existing process has also been summarized. The initial financial burden is more than justified by the reduction of manpower involved in the election process, reduction in the elaborate comsecurity arrangements and movement of the machinery for each phase, reduction in violence, crime and corruption, mitigation of external influences and above all minimum disruption to administration and governance in the conduct phase.

Keywords

Administration, Analysis, Benefits, Configuration, General Election, Identity, Information, Mobile Phone, Recommendations, Security, Technology, Upheaval of System, Voting.
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  • Digital Elections-Voting Through Phone

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Authors

Brig E. Govind
Army Officer, Chair of Excellence, College of Defence Management, Secunderabad & Research Scholar, Osmania University, Hyderabad, Telangana, India

Abstract


Elections in India are nothing short of a spectacle that generates immense activity generally associated with a mega sporting, religious or cultural event. In the case of general elections, the ‘festivities’ are Pan India. The event starts off as a massive opinion building and image building exercise and then moves on to mega rallies and speeches. Many facets of the Nation are paralyzed in anticipation or expectation of the nature of Govt to follow. The period of campaigning and conduct are laced with humour, violence, misery, corruption and celebrations. While measures to overhaul the entire electoral process are under serious consideration, this paper focuses only on the aspects of the conduct phase. This phase spread over one month in the case of general elections, has a grave adverse impact on several facets ranging from policy-making and strategic decisions to administration, governance, financial health and even the moral health of the Nation. Exploiting the advancements in Information & Communication Technology to make the conduct of election easier, faster, less expensive and have the least effect on the day-to-day life of the public is of paramount importance. This paper examines the use of mobile phones for the exercise of the franchise through the internet. All considerations such as availability and accessibility of mobile phones to all users, the security of the phone at the subscriber and receiving ends, the bandwidth, the anonymity of the voter, the security of the voter from intimidation, to coercion, to being held hostage, are discussed. A recommended strategy to use mobile phones for voting, without compromising on any facet of the secret ballot system has thus been evolved. The recommendations include the issue of custom-made mobile phones to all voters in lieu of a National Identity Card, use of these phones as a distress call device in non-election periods and to cast vote during the elections. The features of the phone and the system including various biometric parameters that secure the voter, his identity and his choice from any type of threat, allocation of dedicated bandwidth for communication etc., have also been dwelt upon. The advantages of this new concept over the existing process has also been summarized. The initial financial burden is more than justified by the reduction of manpower involved in the election process, reduction in the elaborate comsecurity arrangements and movement of the machinery for each phase, reduction in violence, crime and corruption, mitigation of external influences and above all minimum disruption to administration and governance in the conduct phase.

Keywords


Administration, Analysis, Benefits, Configuration, General Election, Identity, Information, Mobile Phone, Recommendations, Security, Technology, Upheaval of System, Voting.