Examine the role of technology in elections

Examine the role of technology in elections

Call for evidence about risks and benefits of introducing blockchain in India's electoral systems

Ashim Jain

@4world

A Bird's Eye View of Democracy

Submitted Jun 1, 2021

Exciting to know that you all are so caring for India that you are devoting so much time and resources!

Granted– the proper functioning of the electoral system in any democracy cannot be overemphasized. However, compared to plugging minor holes in the current voting systems by adoption of blockchain tech, there are far more important areas demanding attention of those who deeply care. Let me elaborate –

INEPT CANDIDATES / LEADERS
Today, nearly the entire electorate is being misled, election after election by corrupt and even criminal politicians – falsehoods, bribed votes, etc. Also, those in power do not want to bring in progressive legislation like Right to Recall, independence of the police/CBI, accountability of public servants, increasing spending on education and health, removing the 100’s of colonial laws still in force (the CrPC, CPC, admin structures, …), etc.

DISINCLINED VOTERS
Examine the electorate statistically to get a better picture:

Perhaps 95% of them are into daily struggles for a livelihood and do not read even the newspaper. According to World Bank 2020 report, just the unorganized labor force is about 47 crores (the rickshaw / taxi drivers, farm laborers, sabzi walas, brick/construction laborers, etc.)

The upper middle class (~ 5%, the govt. employees, higher paid private sector, small businesses, …) are generally self-centered, weak-voiced (on political issues), uninterested about larger social issues, etc.

What significant difference would a blockchain election system bring in such a scenario except make it convenient for those with internet access, a smartphone and most importantly the will to vote (how many such are there any ways)?

Those additional people who vote due to electronic voting might still not even know their candidates’ backgrounds, let alone question them on their past performance or future agendas! (Newton, 2017 gives a realistic idea of India’s democracy. Consider what good might blockchain do in the depicted scenarios.)

Considering your passion for positive change, you may wish to take a fresh look at the overall aim of your project. Is it simply an academic exercise that might get implemented yet bring no real benefit in the overall picture? If so, please disregard my post and carry on.

India’s overall condition is dire and the virus has brought it to a state of collapse. Before she crumbles beyond a point of no return, serious intervention is needed by those who can devote time and resources.

SUGGESTION
You all are beautiful, well-meaning people who want to help but appear to be from academic backgrounds. Consider joining hands with serious, experienced and smart social activists, and then, first conceptualize strategic intervention points in our democracy that are possible with technology. And believe me, there is huge scope to positively impact 100’s of millions of people. The right ideas can put India on a fast-path to progress like no other country.

Please remember that you need to find social activists that are critical thinkers, understand the nuts and bolts of the economic system, know ground realities of the masses, and can give you workable theories that lack only technology for execution.

Best wishes and good luck

P.S. I don’t know your 3 categories: “Evidence submission, Master class and Panel discussion” so I just marked the first one.

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