Election 2019 has been hailed as one of the most important Indian elections ever. With the campaigning in full swing fueling the media frenzy, the voters have a crucial choice to make for this election. This year has almost 900 million voters who are about to determine the future of this country.
India, being one of the largest exporters of software products on the planet have a moral obligation to rethink how we can revolutionize the whole election process. We have to question how we can make this entire process more voter-centric. One of the most essential features of a product is its usability and its accessibility. As a nation that is spearheading technological advancements, we have to rethink how we can digitize elections to make it more feasible.
If you wonder why thinking about digitizing the election process is the need of the hour. There are many facets to this question and it is essential that we discuss them in detail.
- India’s Vast Internal Migrant Population:
According to the State of World Population report, India has around 139 million migrants Indians who have moved to different states within the country in search of a better quality of life. Almost every second graduate from smaller towns has moved into cities to find careers that would help them grow. There is also a wide migration of manual labourers who move into cities that are rapidly building and developing.
This vast section of the population does not have enough time or the money to travel to cast their vote in their respective hometowns. To imagine an employee in the south of the country to take a week off work and spending a huge amount to travel to the north of the country to vote in their hometowns is practically not feasible. Due to such reasons, our voting percentage is merely above 60% every term.
2) The cost of the electoral process
The cost of elections in India has been one of the highest in the world. The election commission of India just spends over 6000 crores for this election whereas the parties themselves spend more than 30,000 to 40,000 crores making this the costliest election on the planet. This cost can be cut down by having a better path to the whole process while reducing the logistics and placing a smoother system in place.
3) Transparency and Security
The EVMs have always been at the core of political debate ever since their introduction in 1982 and it’s countrywide adoption in 2009. The debates have raised vital questions over the security of not just data but also the EVMs by themselves. There is a need to develop an alternative method that is future proof, foolproof and a scalable solution that can be carried out.
4) Removing Que
The new era of design and solution is focused on reducing the waiting time to achieve any desired result. Physically standing in long queues in front of polling booths with parties camps on either side can be quite intimidating to a lot of people. We have to aim at making the whole electoral process scalable without adding to the cost, we have to also address the growing population and the size of our country.
5) Educating a nation
Policies and manifestos of the hundreds of parties rarely reach the vast demographics of our country. Most people are barely educated about the policies that will dictate their lives for the next 5 years. The typical mediums of news and journalism have had their own shortcomings and this has to be tackled. There is a moral obligation of the population to be educated on the policies and manifestos of every party hence giving them better choices.
6) Resources are at hand
All the resources that are needed to digitize the election process are at hand. There might be very less that has to be spent on creating new or additional resources to make the election process digitized. The introduction of Aadhar and the linking of Aadhar has already created a system that can be fully used to create a more digitized path to elections.
7) Curbing proxy voters
Every party in the opposition has blamed the government in power about EVM tampering and proxy voting. If there is the reality of proxy voters the only way to solve this would be to add more layers of protection and create a system that is impossible to crack.
To vote in a single click
Imagine it is election day and all you have to do is pull out your phones, verify your voter ID online and vote. Imagine a system that extends to such a level of simplicity, which is also safe and liberating. To create a system like this is the obvious future in the road to elections and for a country on its road to development. The invention and implementation of this would serve as a model for other nations to follow.
If such an app is made here are some of the features we would love to see
- Party Manifestos: A simple portal where you get to read all the manifestos of parties in your respective language. An option for converting text to voice that enables lesser privileged people to be educated on policies.
- Candidate information: Know the candidate you are voting for and not the party. Know their efficiency, educational qualification and track record. This will create a better means to know the person who is going to be presiding over your constituency.
- New Articles: A list of all news articles that are attached to the minister of your constituency. A complete list of unbiased reports published by all media houses to be added to this list educating the general public.
- A guide to first-time voters: A complete step by step approach that is self-explanatory to aid first-time voters to complete the voting process.
- Complaint box: A place where you can send your grievances and masking your digital identity to make it anonymous, revealing your name and identity will be completely the user discretion.
- Chatbot/customer live support: To help with questions and address serious difficulties and problems in the voting process.
- A crash course on civics: A guide to understanding how Indian civic bodies function to uphold a nation.
- Live voting results: Can display the number of votes that each party is winning on a live screen which can motivate people to vote better.
- Crosscheck: A 24-hour time limit within which voters can change their votes to the party of their choice. This will eradicate people getting manhandled or forced to vote for a party.
Providing Technological security:
The entire premise of this app would be in vain if adequate technological backing is not taken into consideration. We are in the era of technological advancements that are impacting our lives and changing how we interact with everyday objects. Blockchain is one such technological advancement that will impact the security of all software products of the future. Blockchain is hailed as one of the most secure technologies that have never been hacked thus far. Blockchain will be the backbone of a voting app where security would be the top priority. Also, this is a scalable module that can be extended and stretched to cater to the largest democracy of the modern world.
Implementing a revolution:
Any new changes that have to be implemented will take its time considering our huge population and the geography that it has to cover. Hence there is a need to create a slow shift towards the app until which existing methods can also cater to places with lesser access to the internet and mobile phone devices. This gradual change can make sure that the implementation is well-planned and all variables can be dealt with extreme caution.
A well-functioning democracy should function just like a healthy living organism, where grievances are addressed at the earliest to ensure its wellbeing. An App that could empower you to vote at the safety of your houses and address the shortcomings of the ruling government is revolutionary.