[Answered] Remote Voting Facility (RVF) has the potential to strengthen the electoral process of the world’s largest democracy. Examine the statement.

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Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Explain how RVF strengthen the electoral process of India. Also write some associated challenges.
Conclusion: Write a way forward

Remote voting may take place in person somewhere other than an assigned polling station or at another time, or votes may be sent by post or cast by an appointed proxy. It will remove the compulsion to vote only at the domicile polling station. The project is being developed by the IIT-Madras using blockchain technology.

Significance:

  • Higher Voter Turnout: The voter turn in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections was 67.11% across 542 constituencies. The RVF can increase the voter turnout in the upcoming Lok Sabha election.
  • Promote Inclusivity: Individuals who are ‘on the move’ like students, patients, migrant labourers, essential service providers, etc. will become part of the electoral process.
  • Greater Political Accountability: RVF will give a voice to unheard groups like migrant workers. The contesting candidates generally do not care about them, as they will not vote in elections.
  • Strengthens Representative Democracy: RVF will ensure more eligible voters cast their vote. Thus, it will help in fulfilling the ambition of the representative democracy.
  • Fulfils Constitutional Mandate: Article 326 of the Indian Constitution has given voting rights to every individual above 18 years i.e., universal adult suffrage. The spirit of this article calls for ensuring universal voter turnout in elections and RVF can help us move closer towards this.

Challenges with Remote Voting Facility:

  • Cyber Threats: As RVF is based on blockchain, therefore it might be attacked by hackers which would distort the final result.
  • Privacy Concern: The process involves saving a user’s biometrics and facial data. Any misuse of such by concerned authorities or hackers would undermine the right to privacy.
  • Stakeholder’s Confidence: Nowadays, political parties and candidates are questioning the credibility of EVMs. Instilling trust in RVF will be a challenging task.
  • Confidentiality of Voting: As the RVF facility will be availed in front of an authorized officer, the secrecy of the voting process might get jeopardized.

Democracy becomes meaningful and equitable when every citizen has a fair chance to cast a vote. Technology has played a pivotal role in strengthening the electoral process of the world’s largest democracy e.g., EVMs, VVPAT machines, C- Vigil App, etc. Remote Voting will be a safe, secure, trustworthy, and transparent process if apparent challenges are resolved.

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