Barking up the wrong tree

Why in News? 

  • Recent proposal of the Election Commission of India to grant voting rights to migrants.


  • The Election Commission of India (EC) has proposed to introduce remote voting. 
  • Remote voting is a facility that will enable voters who are residents elsewhere to vote in their home constituencies. 
  • The commission further intends to use isolated remote voting machines (RVMs) whose prototype will be demonstrated to all political parties on 16 January.

Challenges Associated with Remote Voting:

  • There are several concerns about the assurance of the application and the ability to remotely vote without any hindrance. The conditions on which it will be denied and the public verifiability of the related protocols are other related issues. The solution to such queries lies in the digitization of the electoral roll, which itself requires thorough examination.
  • Another major concern is the ambiguity in validating remote voting and the invalidation of local voting. The two different lists in two different locations will be difficult to manage.
  • The location of VVPAT auditing – home constituency or remote location is another challenge. If it is a remote location then consolidation and counting will be impacted. And, if it is a home constituency then vote secrecy will be compromised.
  • There are also doubts about the verifiability and software independence of EVMs.
  • Other questions are: Who will be the polling agents in the remote location and how non-coercion of voters will be ensured in the different political environments?

Examples from Other Countries:

  • Due to demands for public verifiability of elections, the German Constitutional rejected the use of EVM in 2009. This decision was emulated in several other jurisdictions in Europe, America, and Pakistan. 
  • The U.S. National Academy of Sciences in a public report of 2018 also recommended against pure electronic voting. 
  • An alternative to ensure software independence is to audit the electronic results through VVPATs, either with a complete count or that of a statistically significant sample. This procedure is called a risk-limiting audit in voting literature. 
  • However, it is argued by many experts that VVPAT audits in India are not on the desired lines. Even the Supreme Court’s decision of auditing five randomly selected EVMs in every Assembly constituency was also inappropriate. 
  • The EC is also accused of ignoring the plea of a 2020 report of a Citizens’ Commission on Elections.


  • The demonstration of usability is essential for public acceptability but they do not address the issues of security or safety.
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