Election Universe

Technology a boon to voters in India

Technology a boon to voters in India
December 13 2016, 13:00

Dr. S.Y. Quraishi, former head of the Election Commission of India, recently penned an article in which he provides some interesting insights on the benefits technology has brought to Indian elections.

India, the largest democracy in the world -over 815 million voters- deploys has used electronic voting machines since 2004.

In his piece, Quraishi claims that accurate counting and smooth declaration of the results of has revolutionized the way elections are conducted, marking a stark contrast with the chaotic and violence-filled days of manual elections. “The electronic voting machines (EVMs) removed the possibility of invalid votes in many ways. Voters now simply press a button to choose their candidate — no more shaking hands and invalidating of votes,” he said.

Quraishi added that the introduction of these machines had likewise led to a significant increase in voter turnout, noting that recent elections have seen the highest participation in history, even among the states with the highest illiteracy rates.

Another aspect positive impact of technology is the aspect of credibility and acceptabllity brought about by the introduction of Verified Voter Paper Audit Trails (VVPAT) in 2012. “This further increased people’s faith in the electoral process and is expected to give a further boost to participation,” he said.

In addition to electronic voting, technologies such as online media apps to inform voters and online registration have improved other areas of election administration. According to Quraishi, online registration has encouraged young people to participate, including even those who were hitherto indifferent to voting.

“Simultaneously, election officials use technology to monitor the movement of people and materials during elections and to keep track of processes, making their jobs a lot easier,” he added.

Qurashi cited how technology has changed elections forever and said that electoral management bodies should be smart enough to realize how to harness the power of technology for the benefit of voters. “The Election Commission of India has been at the vanguard of this technological revolution. I have no doubt it will continue to do so and that can only mean more benefits for the world’s largest democracy,’ Quraishi said.