Online Voting System

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Registration Name : eINDIA2011/AN/266
Project Category : eGov::Best Urban ICT Initiative of the year
Project Name : Online Voting System

Details of Applicant :
Name : K C KAPOOR
Address : Block No. 9, 6th Floor, Sardar Patel Bhavan, Sector No. -10,
City : Gandhinagar
State : Gujarat
Country : INDIA
Zip Code : 382 010

Details of Project/Implementing Agency :
Name of Organisation : STATE ELECTION COMMISSION, GUJARAT
Address : Block No. 9, 6th Floor,,Sardar Patel Bhavan,,Sector No. -10,
City : Gandhinagar
State : Gujarat
Country : INDIA
Zip Code : 382 010
Name of the head of Organisation : Mr K C KAPOOR

Brief description of the programme/project/Initiative :
SEC envisions computerization of all key processes related to local body elections, with the intention to ensure participation of as many votersin exercising their basic constitutional right of voting. A gradual and systematic application of IT, starting from addressing the basic functional requirements for Municipal Corporation Elections and gradually involving for other local body (such as Municipality, District Panchayats, Taluka Panchayats, Village Panchayats), was preferred by SEC as an approach to their efforts in this direction. This approach, besides addressing the basic functional requirements had also resulted in an increased acceptability and receptivity by the Voters. The system also abides by the protocol of election processes in local body elections.

Why was the project started :
Internet Voting, the first in our country is visualized to provide convenience to citizen who can use internet medium to exercise their vote, from the comforts of their home subject to certain fulfilment of certain obligations and conditions laid by the SEC. Internet voting provides voters with an additional option to voters to register as e-voters, and be able to cast their vote using internet in secured manner. The major objective behind this initiative of SEC is to encourage and increase participation of citizens during voting by facilitating another medium to cast vote apart from the regular EVM booths. OVS has been planned and implemented so that it is scalable to accommodate future elections and large voter participation, deployable with the minimum efforts, secured, reliable, flexible, completeness and soundness of voting protocol, and adherent to principles fairness, secrecy and anonymity. In order to make it alive and available to the citizens, SEC selected Tata Consultancy Services Limited (hereafter referred as TCS) as system integrator for developing an online voting system, computerization of election processes and implementation of the solution prepared. SEC intended to provide flexibility to the voters to increase voter participation from those voters who are hesitant to visit EVM booths because:• They find it as a difficult and tredious• They find it difficult to visit polling booth because of Old age;• They find it difficult because they are differently abled• They are unfit or sick on the day of • They are not present in their respective wards or are out of  town, on the day of polling; It is general observation that candidates get a voting pattern from the EVM Machine results and hence are indifferent to people of area from which they had received a low vote count. With the above mentioned system, it became but imperative, to devise a system which would not only address the attitude of a voter but would also ensure that centralized processing of voting results would not affect a candidates attitude towards the voters in his/her ward.

Objective :
The main objective of the proposed system is to come up with a secured, flexible, and state-of-the-art integrated software solution for providing secured and effective channel for voting to registered citizens. The system would fulfil the following;1) Ensure completeness and adherence to the voting protocol as applicable to Internet based voting 2) Ensure availability and reliability of the voting system (i.e. protection against denial-of-service attacks, hacking, and phishing 3) Ensure Authenticity of the voter (or the voting client acting on behalf of the voter, 4) Ensure Authenticity of the vote caste and digital non traceability of the casted votes by 5) Support the concept of secret 6) Maintain Integrity of the digital ballots (i.e. protection against malicious software attacks, attempting to distort the ballot paper 7) Ensure Non-duplication of the ballots and votes;
Target group : Eligible Voters
Geographical reach : For All Local Body Elections in Gujarat
Date from which the
project became operational : 10 October 2010
Is the Project still operational : YES

10 points that make the programme/project innovative?

  1. First of its kind project in India for conducting Local Body Elections.
  2. Innovative in its nature itself in India to Vote from home
  3. Strong authentication of voters to uniquely identify before casting votes
  4. Compliance to legal requirements of State Election Commission
  5. End to end security right from voter registration-through vote casting process-counting process
  6. Computerised and automated process for Election Staff to conduct and monitor Elections and accurately publish election results within minutes
  7. Cryptography implementation in the application software to encrypt the vote cast and hence insuring privacy of the ballot
  8. Multiple layer of security implementation using firewall, IPS/IDS, Anti Virus, SSL, etc at DC and DR sites
  9. Integration with SMS gateway to send one time password (OTP) on the voter’s registered mobile for second level of authentication
  10. Near DR site implementation for zero data loss
  11. List the 5 achievements of the programme/project?
  12. New voting channel is implemented for the first time in India
  13. System is more secure, fast, reliable and cost effective compare to other voting channels(EVM, Ballot paper)
  14. More than 3500 Voters had participated in the Mock Voting Drives which were held in 7 Municipal Corporations and for the first time in India more than 5000 Voters had applied to become e-Voters
  15. In past one year municipal corporation of 7 cities were conducted succefully with OVS
  16. After successful implementation it was proven that OVS is a feasible, secured, safe and accurate voting option and complies with the statutory requirements of the election protocol

List the 5 key challenges faced while implementing the programme/project/initiative :

  1. Low awareness – As voting through internet medium is a new concept in India hence it becomes a necessity to promote this system so that maximum numbers of voters adopt this channel of voting.To promote OVS, SEC chose booth electronic & print media to broadcast the decision of implementing Online Voting in local body (municipal corporation elections)
  2. Voter’s faith in OVS – Mock voting was arranged & conducted by SEC, TCS & the Local Body.SEC finalized dates for carrying out mock voting and an open invitation was given to all citizens by publishing an advertisement in daily newspapers. SEC also invited print & electronic media to attend and cover the process of mock voting. The aim of mock voting was to: 1) Give a chance to citizen to experience OVS & provide their feedback; 2) Demonstrate system’s credibility to all citizens, political parties, contesting candidates and all direct or indirect stakeholders.
  3. Physical verification of voter identity – e-Voter physical verification process was carried out by authorised personnel of the local body. Authorised staff local body visited personally at voter’s residence and verified their details submitted in the e-voter registration form. The local body staff visited to voter’s residence that was mentioned in e-voter registration forms. The staff checked details of every voter viz. Ward no, Part no., Serial no. according to their electoral roll details and with those mentioned in the form. Voters were required to produce a photo identity proof to the staff. After successful verification of voters the staff took signature and thumb impression of the voter on his/her respective e-voter registration from. Only those voters which were physically verified were approved as e-voter.
  4. High availability of system during polling time frame – The voting platform was deployed in a high availability configuration, using first brands for COTS software, hardware and networking electronics. This made sure that was redundancy at all the levels. The system was deployed in two different sites (primary and disaster recovery), configured 1:1 so that the DR site can cope with all the traffic if primary site is down.SEC issued direction to all the telecom & internet service providers in the city to make sure that mobile & internet service does not goes down thus maintaining 100% uptime for the election time duration.
  5. Risk of DoS attack, phishing & intrusion attacks – Denial-of-Service attack (DoS attack) is an attempt to make a resource (generally a computer) unavailable to its intended users. The means to carry out of a DoS, To avoid DoS (Denial of Service) following step were implemented 1) A redundant data centre with high bandwidth and firewalls was set up. 2) Entire infrastructure was constantly monitored to immediately react to any threats detected. Phishing -To keep voters away from phishing, Authenticated SSL (Secure Socket Layer) connection is created from voter’s end to the server. Also, website certificate are made available to the voter so that they can verify for website’s genuineness.

List the 5 points how can the programme serve as a model that can be replicated or adapted by others?

  1. Risk of DoS attack, phishing & intrusion attacks – Denial-of-Service attack (DoS attack) is an attempt to make a resource (generally a computer) unavailable to its intended users. The means to carry out of a DoS, To avoid DoS (Denial of Service) following step were implemented 1) A redundant data centre with high bandwidth and firewalls was set up. 2) Entire infrastructure was constantly monitored to immediately react to any threats detected. Phishing -To keep voters away from phishing, Authenticated SSL (Secure Socket Layer) connection is created from voter’s end to the server. Also, website certificate are made available to the voter so that they can verify for website’s genuineness.
  2. OVS is implemented and complies with procedures, rules and legality of Voting. This project can be easily replicated in other States who work in the similar fashion as Gujarat, with little customization
  3. OVS is a full-proof and accurate system and thus holds tremendous administrative advantages as far as the accuracy of the results and time to arrive at the results
  4. Saving of cost as voting process is faster, transparent and cost efficient. Voter can save time by taking part in the voting process at comfort of his home
  5. It will also contribute to reduction of a many manual procedures and audit routines thus reducing risk of human errors

List 5 points to elaborate on the scalability of the programme/project/initiative :

  1.  Designed to handle multiple elections at the same time – each ward is a separate election with exclusive and dedicated IT resources
  2.  No Single point of failure – Redundancy at all stages
  3.  High availability with 100% DR/BCP – subject to bandwidth availability
  4.  Near DR for zero data loss
  5.  System would facilitate to implement Online Voting through IVRS and Touch Screen based Ballot Machines
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2 Responses to Online Voting System

  1. ramesh kumar says:

    it,s a very good moments