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Dry run of India’s first smartphone-based e-voting in Telangana district on Oct 20

A dummy election will be held in Khammam where voters can register themselves on the smartphone-based application between October 8 and 18.

By: Express Web Desk | Hyderabad |
Updated: October 7, 2021 12:17:37 pm
A dummy election in Khammam distrcit will be held on October 20. (Express Photo: Tashi Tobgyal, File)

The Telangana government on Wednesday announced it was ready to initiate the dry run of the country’s first smartphone-based e-voting system with a dummy election in the Khammam district. Voters can register themselves on the smartphone-based application between October 8 and 18, and the dummy voting is to be held on October 20. The dry run is open for all citizens of the district.

Telangana State Election Commission (TSEC) implements the system with the support of the emerging technologies wing of IT Electronics and Communications (ITE&C) department of the state government and the technical development by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC).

“The solution leverages Artificial Intelligence for a three-factor authentication of valid voter viz. Name Matching with Aadhaar, Liveness Detection of Individual, and Image Matching with EPIC Database (with up to 15~20-year-old records). Further, Blockchain (Distributed Ledger) technology has been used to secure the de-identified and encrypted votes so that they are maintained as immutable records. The smartphone application follows a minimalist design approach and supports both English and Telugu, and also has a detailed help section with tutorial videos and helpline number to aid the citizens,” said a note.

It said that the ‘TSEC eVote’ Android app, which is to be used for the dry run, is a security-hardened mobile application to prevent tampering and also binds a device ID and phone number to a specific citizen registration process such that only the same device can be used during voting, thereby enhancing security by design itself.

(ITE&C department)

Further, the entire process can be monitored and controlled by the admin using a web portal, wherein the generation/access of results is further protected with the requirement of a physical security token-based decryption. Additionally, the entire data will be stored in the state data centres (SDCs) as an added security consideration.

A note from the department said that the smartphone-based e-voting solution developed by the Telangana government is the first of its kind in the country, considering the Covid-19 pandemic that has pushed for all-digital operations. The technical development was guided by an expert committee comprising Prof Rajat Moona, director of IIT Bhilai and technical advisor to ECI, and professors from IIT Bombay and IIT Delhi.

In October 2020, in the run-up to Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) polls, the Telangana State Election Commission (SEC) had announced its decision to explore the option of e-voting to a certain section of voters such as persons with disabilities (PWD), senior citizens, citizens employed in notified essential services, sick people, polling personnel, IT Professional, etc.

According to Jayesh Ranjan, principal secretary, (ITE&C department), artificial intelligence and blockchain are two of the most versatile emerging technologies that already empower many of Telangana’s GovTech projects. “We are glad to have supported Telangana State Election Commission in this initiative of building an eVoting solution for our citizens and especially those that may face challenges with physical voting with or without Covid-19 pandemic. The support and confidence of the election commission in such technologies is a testament to India’s growing strength in the field.”

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