Efficient, Cost Effective and Rigging Free Electronic Voting System for Pakistan Proposed

Recently held election in Pakistan saw massive criticism due to various rigging incidents in different constituencies of the country. Observers said that at least 10 percent – or 7,000 – polling stations were reportedly rigged to influence the voters.

Bogus votes, pressurizing voters, in-availability of ballot boxes, papers and various other similar problems were reported in different parts of the country.

Experts – the optimistic ones – are of the view that overall elections went well and there is no way of making election 100 percent fool-proof, especially at this magnitude.

However, Rizwan Zakir, a Pakistani Australian, differs. He believes that voting system can be made flaw-less by leveraging the technological advancements and valuable data that NADRA has gathered so far.

Rizwan claims that an Electronic Voting System (EVS) – if deployed – will be more efficient, productive, cost effective and rigging free as compared to current manual, paper-ballot based voting system in the country.

It merits mentioning here that Indonesia recently tried an E-Voting system as a pilot and received positive reviews.

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How Electronic Voting System Will Work?

Very simple: Here would be the process:

  • An individual will go to polling station
  • Will get his/her CNIC swapped
  • Record his/her thumb-impression
  • (Thumb-impression and CNIC cards will be matched to verify voter in real time)
  • After Verification, voter will cast his/her vote though Touchscreen Ballot Screens
  • And that’s it.

EVS

EVS at the Back End

At the time of CNIC swapping (of the voter) all the details will be loaded to the server (hosted at polling station), which will then cross-verify the voter with thumb impression. Once voter will be confirmed, the touch screen ballot will get activated automatically. Here voter can go and cast his/her vote by inputting his/her choice.

Input of vote will be directly relayed to ECP servers in real time.

Rizwan said that cross checking of thumb-impression with CNIC data can be completed with-in 5 seconds.

Moreover, touch-sensitive ballot screens will get activated only after verification of voter, and will accept only one vote, hence eliminating any chances of multiple voting or voting on the CNICs of dead people.

Securing Electronic Voting System

Like Election Commission of Pakistan, the electronic voting system should be developed and maintained by non-partisan team. System should be audited by reputable firms and every political party should be taken on-board for the deployment of such system.

Network and machine-level security can be maintained by NADRA through firewalls.

Benefits of Electronic Voting System

  • Electronic Voting System will involve lesser cost, as compared to printing, shipment and handling of conventional ballot papers and boxes.
  • Vote-counting will be really quick and in real-time
  • Chances of rigging and bogus voting will be fully eliminated
  • Number of invalid votes can be reduced by a great deal

Possible Challenges

  • Trust level in masses for Electronic Voting System might not be very high
  • Training of presiding officers for using the Electronic Voting System
  • Current political system will not allow the deployment of such as flaw-less system

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK