India’s election commission to implement biometric voting for local elections
To use the biometric voting system, residents must first register through the EC’s Chunavana mobile application, which also allows checking queue status at polling booths in real-time. Additionally, the app enables senior citizens and individuals with disabilities to request a wheelchair at polling stations.
During registration, residents must provide their Elector’s Photo Identity Card (EPIC) and mobile numbers. A one-time password (OTP) code will then be sent to their registered number for verification. Finally, voters must upload a selfie via the app to confirm their identity.
Facial recognition technology will then be used at polling booths to verify a voter’s identity. If the photo matches with the database, no additional documents are required to cast a vote.
According to EC officials, the system is designed to reduce waiting times and prevent fraudulent voting. It is similar to Digi Yatra, the biometric boarding system used in airports across India.
The EC selected a booth in Shivaji Nagar for its pilot project as it has only 300 voters, compared to other booths with around 1,500 voters. Additionally, the booth is close to the Karnataka Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), perhaps to make it more convenient for officials to monitor and manage the pilot project effectively.
Booth Level Officers (BLOs) are also visiting households in the area to educate voters about the new technology. However, the EC clarified the biometric voting option is not mandatory, and voters who prefer the traditional method can still use it. A separate queue will be available for those who choose to use the new technology.
The Karnataka Election 2023 is scheduled for today, with votes being counted on 13th May 2023. The election comes days after the Indian government granted the right to authenticate individuals using the Aadhaar biometric ID to 22 additional financial institutions.