Today was the polling day for the state elections in my state. I live in Tamil Nadu which is one of the states in India. I'm not very good at politics and I stopped paying attention to politics a few years back ever since I left Facebook for good. I still keep myself updated with some basic and necessary information.
In the recent few weeks, I did pay a little attention to what's going on around politics. If I have to fulfill my basic right to vote, I have to know about the candidates right? So, to that level I keep myself updated. I rarely talk to anyone about politics these days and my preferences. Today when I went to the polling booth, the first thing that caught my attention was the way they are doing the polling. With all the technological advancements we have in this world, I was surprised to see the way they were operating. I understand that blockchain adoption can take at least a decade but at least the process could have been online.
The process is still manual. They think that they have automated it by having a machine that captures the votes. But still, the process is so much manual and insecure as well. I'm sure the government has all sorts of security measures in place to take care of the malpractices but the system itself paves the way to allow lots of malpractices.
A mark on the finger
The way right now to find out if a person has voted or not is by seeing the ink mark on the left index finger. The one that you see in the above image is the only way right now to contain the duplicate votes from happening. The election officers make sure the same person is not voting multiple times by adding this ink on the finger. This is one way to restrict unauthorized polls from happening. But this isn't the only way to prevent false voting. There are several ways in which false voting can happen.
I believe that doing automation can help in making the process a lot better. I understand that not all people will be able to be flexible with the automation but it can be conducted in the normal way but having some automation and modern methods can help in reducing the security risk or false voting.
Great scope for automation
I was able to see a great scope for automation when it comes to polling. The way the votes are captured and the way it is counted can be done a lot better. It can all be brought online to make it robust and also remote. If this goes online person living in a different city or place need not travel to cast their votes. It can even be made possible for people to vote from their respective homes using their mobile phones. I'm expecting this voting to happen like that.
Right now in some rural places politicians take advantage of the polling booth and try to cast false votes on the name of people who did not appear for voting. They don't even have restrictions or proof in place to make sure the exact same person came for voting. I'm not sure how accurate this can be this time where many people came with a mask or their face covered. I was observing some of these things today. I understand that the officers and guards standing there were strict but all that I'm trying to say here is that things can be made a lot better.