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16th National Conference on eGovernance: Proceedings

BRONZE AWARD

On-line Voting System (OVS) State Election Commission (SEC), Gujarat

The Gujarat State Election Commission (SEC) is mandated to conduct approximately 17,000 elections in Municipal Corporations, Municipalities and District/Taluka/Village Panchayats of Gujarat, in which more than 1.50 Lakh public representatives are elected. It was observed that the voting percentage is often low, particularly among middle class, upper middle class and the rich – including businessmen, private sector employees and youth of urban areas. With a view to bring these people to voting after carefully considering the probable causes for their disinterest, , the Gujarat State Election Commission (SEC) came up with a process reengineering initiative viz. “On-line Voting System (OVS)”. The primary objective of OVS is to provide the voters of Gujarat with an alternate channel of voting, which is easier, more convenient and more reliable than the prevailing EVM-based voting channel, while ensuring complete adherence to the voting protocols and the election rules. Required amendments were brought in the Municipal Rules so as to make the e-voting legitimate. Using this system, voters can register themselves as e-voters by filling online application forms through http://www.onlinevotinggujarat.gov.in. The submitted application forms are then scrutinized by the designated Electoral Officers. Upon successful registration, the approved e-voters can activate their accounts and on the day of voting, activated e-voters can cast their votes using internet from the comforts of their residences / offices. OVS was conceptualized in December 2009 and implemented in 6 municipal corporations, at the rate of one ward in each corporation, in 2010 and also in all the 11 wards in Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation, in 2011. On realizing the potential of the OVS in strengthening voter participation in elections, SEC is in the process of scaling it up to the other local bodies’ elections which includes Municipalities and Panchayats. In addition to the facility to vote from residences / offices, as given in 2010 and 2011 elections, SEC is also exploring the possibilities of introducing “E-Polling Booths”, where the e-voters, who do not have computer access, can cast their votes. It is also proposed to integrate this application with AADHAR (UIDAI) for voter registration and verification purposes. With this, OVS shall prove to be a convenient and fool-proof voting option for the voters.
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