eVoting is the flagship service of Right2Vote platform. Right2Vote is a government of India approved eVoting platform. Here we explain the meaning of eVoting and various different types of eVoting prevalent in the world.
Online voting is known by various names. eVoting or Electronic Voting, mVoting or Mobile Voting, rVoting or Remote Voting, iVoting or Internet Voting. By whatever name called, generally speaking, online voting means:
Voting electronically with the help of internet. Voting medium can be mobile, computer, laptop or any other internet enabled device. Generally online voting is also remote voting as voter is able to vote from anywhere and he need not go to a particular booth to vote.
eVolution of eVoting
However, voting has evolved over a long period of time. And hence people get confused with terms like eVoting. The origin of word eVoting is coming from Electronic Voting but does it mean internet-based voting? One can experience different kind of voting processes across the world. Most voting processes are similar but with some subtle and not so subtle differences. Here we explain evolution of eVoting or online voting and also explain why people should go for Genearation 4+ online voting technology offered by Right2Vote and not a compromised lower generation service.
Generation 1 - Physical voting
Oldest form of voting is physical voting or booth-based voting. In such voting the voter has to be physically present at a particular place to vote. In physical voting also there can be different versions. In generation one, various form of physical voting includes:
- Voting by raise of hands
- Voting by dropping stones /coins or specific items in predefined option box. Here each option has a different box, and the option which gets the maximum number of drops, is declared the winner.
- Voting by paper based secret ballot
Physical voting with paper based secret ballot is still the most prevalent voting system across the world.
Generation 2 - Electronic Voting (eVoting) with physical presence
Generation 1 voting method i.e., paper based voting, have many major drawbacks which include:
- Manual counting is a long and time-consuming process
- Counting errors, rejection of ballots due to inappropriate marking and manipulations are very common in paper voting
To solve these problems, the second-generation voting system replaced the paper voting with electronic voting machines or the EVMs. In India, EVMs were introduced 40 years back in 1982. These EVM machines are not linked to internet and hence very old technology. The EVMs are still useful as it solves the problems of manual counting - pace and accuracy issue, ballot rejections due to marking errors by voters etc.
Generation 2.5 - Limited Remote voting (rVoting)
With advent of internet internet-based voting limited remote voting experiments started. During generation 1 of paper voting, specific voters like members of the armed forces were given the right to vote via postal ballots. Similarly, government of India is providing very limited number of voters of specific class to vote by a technology similar to emails. Here the election commissions email the ballot to the voter, and then the voter downloads it, votes, and emails back the document with his signature. This method is not real time and there are lot of limitations including requirement of physical counting, lengthy process, limited security and authentication etc.
Generation 3 - Internet based voting (iVoting) with physical presence
Generation 2 voting technology - EVMs, has many drawbacks including:
- The EVM machines are costly, bulky, need to be powered by batteries and need safe keeping
- EVM machines get outdated very soon and need replacement. Generally, hardware based with limited scope of software updates
- Voter still need to come to the EVM to vote
- Counting still require adding up votes from different machines
- Booth capturing is possible as votes are stored on individual EVM machines and not in central server
- Manual authentication of voters
Internet based voting solved most of these problems. Internet based voting can be done on most of the internet enables devices with screens. The ballot page can be configured on the software and shown on screen which substantially solves the limitation of EVM machines which provides very limited options. It does not require the voting agency to buy single purpose and costly EVM machines.
However, generation 3 iVoting is generally limited to specific booths where the voting agency provided stationary digital equipment in form of screens or computers on which voter has to vote. The hardware is generally provided by the voting agency which has security software and hardware bases security to ensure that voters cannot vote via any unauthorised device.
Generation 4 - Mobile Voting or mVoting>
Generation 3 iVoting method still has many limitations including:
- Voter still has to visit the booth to vote
- Voting agency need to provide physical device and set up booths for the voters to be able to vote. This makes iVoting very costly and unaffordable for most organizations
To solve these problems, mobile voting or voting with the help of mobile devices came into being. Now voter can vote from any device from anywhere. The voter need not visit the booth to vote, and the voting agency need not provide costly equipment to the voters to be able to vote. Voter can vote directly from their mobile phones / tabs / laptops, or any other internet enabled device. mVoting substantially increases voting process efficiency due to following reasons:
- Voter turnout: Voter turnout increases substantially as voter is able to voter from anywhere and he need not physically visit the booth and stand in a queue to vote. Migrants and others who are not present in the city are also able to vote.
- Cost saving: With mVoting the election commission need not set up booths or provide physical instruments to the voters to vote. Voters vote from anywhere from their own equipment. This saves substantial cost of election management. It is cost effective for voters also as they can vote within minutes from anywhere and they do not have to spend time and money to visit the booth.
- Time saving: The complete election process is automatic including sending invites, authentication of voters, voting, result counting and hence saves lot of cost. Elections can be managed in a day or even less. Voters also saves lot of time as they do not have to travel to booth and stand in a queue.
- Effort saving: As the voting process is automatic there is no requirement of physical security of the booth, logistics of voting machines, management of queue, physical authentication of voters etc. This leads to substantial saving in efforts for the election commission and also for the voter.
- Better authentication and security: With mobile voting, authentication of voters also happens automatically by the system and there are no chances of manual errors or frauds. Things like duplicate voting, impersonation, false voting, booth capturing etc is history now. The votes are also stored in central servers with proper firewalls, encryption and other security measures.
Right2Vote's online voting technology
Right2Vote's online voting technology is superior even to generation 4 - Mobile Voting. It has all the above advantages of mobile voting and even more:
- Substantially higher voter turnout: Voter can vote anytime from anywhere. Voter has the option to vote via website, android app or iOS app. User friendly interface and easy and friction less login process helps in higher voter turnout. Features like digital invites and reminders with links also helps in increasing voter turnout.
- 90% cost saving: No booth required; no equipment required.
- 99% time saving: Voting can be set up in minutes. One or 2 people can handle the complete election. Voters can vote in less than a minute.
- 99.9% effort saving: Invite to voters, reminders, authentication, voting, result counting. Everything is automatic without any human intervention.
- 100% Secured: Right2Vote's technology is secured by encryption, firewalls, and multilayer security. Right2Vote's online security is certified by STQC, MeitY, Government of India
- 10 times better authentication: Right2Vote comes with multiple authentication options and layers including email OTP and SMS OTP based authentication, 2 factor authentication, Geo tagging, geo fencing, Voter Selfie. Option of biometric authentication and Aadhaar based authentication also built in.
- Automatic result counting and instant result: Result is counted by the system automatically without any human intervention and is instantly available as soon as the voting gets over. All possibilities of human errors, rejection of votes, tampering etc is eliminated.