December 2011

Online Voting System

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The State Election Commission in Gujarat has developed this novel project

About the Project

With the introduction of OVS, State Election Commission, Gujarat (SEC) intended to ensure maximum participation of voters by providing a new platform which is user friendly for voters and being accurate and efficient for election staff in managing the election process. The entire system is designed and the procedures amended thereof keeping in mind the privacy of the voter and privacy of the ballot.

Innovation Factor

  • First of its kind project in India for conducting Local Body Elections;
  • Innovative in its nature itself in India to Vote from home;
  • Strong authentication of voters to uniquely identify before casting votes;
  • Compliance to legal requirements of State Election Commission;
  • End to end security right from voter registration-through vote casting process-counting process;
  • Computerised and automated process for Election Staff to conduct and monitor Elections and accurately publish election results within minutes;
  • Cryptography implementation in the application software to encrypt the vote cast and hence insuring privacy of the ballot;
  • Multiple layer of security implementation using firewall, IPS/IDS, Anti Virus, SSL, etc at DC and DR sites;
  • Integration with SMS gateway to send one time password (OTP) on the voter’s registered mobile for second level of authentication;
  • Near DR site implementation for zero data loss.

 

Achievements

  • New voting channel is implemented for the first time in India;
  • Voter participation is high compared to other voting channels (EVM, Ballot paper & postal ballot);
  • System is more secure, fast, reliable and cost effective compare to other voting channels(EVM, Ballot paper);
  • Project implementation completed within a record time with zero anomalies;
  • Voters and stakeholders are completely satisfied by the system;
  • Higher voters’ participation using OVS compared to EVM (in terms of percentage).

SEC envision computerisation of all key processes related to local body elections, with the intention of ensuring participation of as many citizens in exercising their basic constitutional right of voting. A gradual and systematic application of IT, starting from addressing the basic functional requirements in Municipal Corporation Elections and gradually involving for other local body (such as municipality, district panchayats, taluka panchayats, village panchayats), was preferred by SEC as an approach to their efforts in this direction. This approach, besides addressing the basic functional requirements had also resulted in an increased acceptability and receptivity by the citizens. SEC had implemented OVS in general elections of six municipal corporations (namely Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Bhavnagar, Rajkot, and Jamnagar) in October 2010 and subsequently in Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation in April 2011.

Need for the Project

It is general observation that candidates get a voting pattern from the EVM Machine results and hence are indifferent to people of area from which they had received a low vote count.

With the above mentioned system, it became but imperative, to devise a system which would not only address the attitude of a voter but would also ensure that centralized processing of voting results would not affect a candidates attitude towards the voters in his/her ward.

Objectives

  • Ensure completeness and adherence to the voting protocol as applicable to Internet based voting system;
  • Ensure availability and reliability of the voting system (i.e. protection against denial-of-service attacks, hacking, and phishing attempts).
  • Ensure Authenticity of the voter (or the voting client acting on behalf of the voter, respectively);
  • Ensure Authenticity of the vote caste and digital non traceability of the casted votes by citizen;
  • Support the concept of secret ballot;
  • Ensure Non-duplication of the votes. 

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