Making voting hi-tech will make the entire democratic process of voting an unsafe venture, feels S Y Quraishi, Chief Election Commissioner of India. He said on Tuesday that India was not yet ready for bringing in technology into the voting system. The CEC spoke to TOI on the utility of the voter ID cards and put the onus on the citizen to step out and vote. Excerpts:
Is e-voting feasible for India? Technology is not an issue for implementing e-voting. But it is not feasible in India at this point of time. How do we know who is voting on whose behalf? It is not possible to provide security for every voter with a gunman behind him/her. Online voting is not good, though it looks simpler.
Filing Form 6 for inclusion of name in the voters’ list is still a cumbersome process. Why is the Hyderabad model of having drop boxes for these forms not replicated? The Hyderabad model has worked well. We will replicate it in Karnataka. Under this, there will be drop boxes in malls, airport, bus stand and other public places so that the citizens can fill the form and drop it into the box.
The voter ID card is of no use. Lakhs of eligible voters with this card still cannot vote. Why? A responsible voter will have to keep in touch with the booth-level officers five to six months before the elections. It is your duty to vote. It is not a thing of pride to comment on the politicians and say “I won’t vote for you and you are all useless.” To vote is the symbol of empowerment. It is easy to blame the system. Gated communities do not allow our officials inside their premises.
Why is voting still so complex? Where do we stand in the global electoral scenario? It is said that ours is the largest voters’ list. There are 75 crore voters in India. This figure is more than that of all 50 countries of Europe put together, 20 countries of South America and more than all the Commonwealth nations. In fact, when US secretary of secretary Hillary Clinton visited Tamil Nadu recently, she had said that the Election Commission of India was a benchmark for global electoral process. Eleven chief election commissioners from different nations have approached me to learn from us.