The 2014 Indian Election was the biggest survey in the world with more than 800 million people heading to the polling stations to vote, in what is essentially, the world’s largest survey. In such an expansive nation, with so many voters, and 543 elected seats, this is understandably a difficult event to co-ordinate logistically.
Over a six week period, Electronic Voting Machines were used to enable 814 million voters to cast their votes across over 930,000 polling stations.
In a country that boasts a rich wealth of languages and dialects, the electronic voting machines allowed both literate and illiterate voters to have their say. To ensure the process is as accessible as possible to as many people as possible, each candidate’s name is written in all of the dominant languages and scripts of their constituency, they are also represented by their own unique symbol in order to aid those voters who are illiterate to identify their preferred candidate.
Having successfully identified and selected their chosen candidate, the voter is required to select the button next to the relevant name in order to cast their vote. This is then processed and stored by the Electronic Voting Machine. At the end of the allocated voting period, the polling officials press the close button and the machine will not record any more votes. If anyone tries to commit fraud during the voting process, the close button is also pressed.
The electronic unit itself is sealed in the old fashioned way – with wax – in order to prevent tampering. In case of power cuts, which are common place across the country, the Electronic Voting Machines have back up battery power to ensure that voting can continue and existing votes will not be lost.
With such a large population and so many people eager to vote, the Electronic Voting Machine seeks to minimise and reduce the influence of fraud. By utilising electronic systems, the need for a person to physically count each and every vote is removed. This not only speeds up the process dramatically and reduces the level of planning and organisation required, but also prevents anyone from interfering with the votes once they have been cast.
As a country with such an incredibly diverse population, the electronic system also makes the process as accessible and straightforward to as many citizens as possible. This ensures that the process is as fair and balanced as it can be.
As the world’s biggest election and arguably the largest survey on earth, the Indian elections provide a prime example of how electronic technology can support and optimise survey procedures.
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