Online voting doesn’t click with Guj voters

The first-ever e-vote in the country were polled on Sunday during the elections of the six municipal corporations in Gujarat. It was for the first time that any state election commission allowed online polling. The response to the introduction of the new polling system, however, was not encouraging with few people opting to vote online. “One hundred and twenty-four e-votes were polled on Sunday in the elections to six municipal corporations,” state election commission secretary P S Shah said. A total of 182 e-voters were registered with the State Election Commission from Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara, Bhavnagar and Jamnagar before the start of the polls, Shah said. The SEC has spent around Rs 34 crore to develop the online voting system by roping in Tata Consultancy Service, out of which Rs 15 crore was spent for the data centre and software. SEC chief K C Kapoor said that for casting of e-votes, a voter would first need to register himself by visiting the SEC office where he would be given a special password. For voting, he should go the SEC website and log on by using the password. The voter will then have to state his desire for voting after which he will be given a code on his registered mobile phone number via an SMS and once he enters that code, the e-ballot paper will open on his computer screen. Then the voter needs only to click against the name of the candidate whom he wants to vote and submit it. The response to the online voting was not as per the expectations of the SEC with only 387 voters from six municipal corporations registering for it out of which only 182 qualified. The SEC is of the opinion that though the response from voters was poor, this is a good start and more people would opt for it after finding that the system is reliable. “This is an asset created by the SEC for future and we expect more and more people to come forward for online voting as it will be convenient,” Shah said. “The system developed by us with the help of the TCS can also be used by other states to conduct transparent online voting,” he said. The counting of e-votes for the six municipal corporation elections will also be conducted on Tuesday along with votes polled via the traditional method.

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