Firstly on 20th October 2021, Telangana conducted a dummy election in the Khammam district to test smartphone-based e-voting. This was the first-ever e-voting in India.
What is e-voting;
E-voting or online voting is the use of electronic devices and the internet to cast votes. At present, paper ballots, EVMs (Electronic Voting Machine) and postal voting are the popular forms of the voting process.
The present dry run of smartphone-based e-voting is using artificial intelligence and Blockchain technologies to make it more secure. A three-factor authentication will be implemented with name Matching with Aadhaar, Liveness Detection of Individual, and Image Matching.
Pros of e-voting;
It is difficult for senior citizens, differently-abled people to visit a polling station to cast vote. Through e-voting, they can easily cast their vote from home. And hence, it helps in the creation of an inclusive society. At present, the postal ballot also offers this facility.
Some people are not voting as they can’t come to of homes due to several reasons such as caring for elderly or sick people. For them, the postal ballot is not allowed as of now. So, e-voting is very beneficial for them. This will increase voter turnout.
E-voting gives quick results;
As blockchain technology is used in the e-voting process, anonymity is guaranteed. It also helps in maintaining transparency. It can reduce the usage of paper and hence can save trees.
Challenges of e-voting;
Earlier, there was a threat of coercion and booth capturing. Some people used to threaten voters to vote for a particular candidate. Using CCTV cameras prevented this to a large extent. But now, e-voting has the same vulnerability. It is difficult to provide security to everyone in their homes. It is prone to hacking. Even when we are using advanced technologies to make it more secure, hackers are also using new technologies and new methods to hack.
It may raise privacy issues. Even though blockchain guarantees anonymity, there is a possibility of a hack to know who voted for whom. Hackers may even hack smartphones to know the details.
Still, the digital divide exists in not just India but in the entire world. So, this may create new inequalities where some people can cast their vote from home and some others have to visit a polling station.
With time, e-voting may become a popular form of the voting process since it is a sign of progressive society. But the real question is are we ready for the change and can we make it secure enough to prevent hacking. It is important to start testing it to detect the vulnerabilities and thereby we can improvise it and can make it 100% secure.