The Delhi state election commission has written to the Aam Aadmi Party government in the Capital seeking approval to conduct trials of online voting services in a bid to increase voter participation and simplify the poll process.
If the trial generates a positive feedback, residents of Delhi will be able to elect their municipal representatives in the 2017 elections by casting their votes using mobile phones and other devices connected to the Internet.
“Cell phones have made their way into almost every household and therefore attempts are being made to incorporate the same for voting. Apart from being cost effective, the move will increase the number of young voters in the city,” a senior official said. According to senior officials, the commission has decided to conduct trial runs on about 10,000 voters in the coming days and the process would be linked to Aadhar Cards in order to avoid any duplication or fraudulence.
“Voters wanting to cast their vote using Internet devices would have to first register themselves online. The system would be linked to Aadhar and the voter would be able to log in using the MCD website. Once logged in, the voters will get a unique code or password on their cell phone and can cast their vote,” the official added.
Rakesh Mehta, state election commissioner, confirmed that while the commission had approached the Delhi government, the initiative was still in its trial phase and might not see light of day at all.
“Trials are being conducted in many other cities and we plan to initiate them in Delhi too. The implementation of the system would depend on factors such as public response, the level of difficulty in implementation, etc, and there is a possibility that it might not see the light of day,” Mehta said. A similar system was adopted by Gujarat to allow online polling in 2010. The system didn’t receive a good response from the people though it is already prevalent in many foreign countries.
Elected members of the Delhi municipal corporation raised their concerns. “Firstly, while a number of people have not registered for Aadhar, the implementation of the project seems a little farfetched currently,” Farhad Suri, leader of Opposition in the south municipal corporation, said.