Examine the role of technology in elections

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

This is an open call for evidence to receive a wide range of inputs and perspectives on the issue of implementing blockchain-based solutions for elections in India. The inputs will form the basis for public deliberations. A report will be produced - collated from the evidence - to provide guidance on the pros and cons resulting from the use of technology in elections and associated issues of enrollment, identification and citizens’ participation in national, state and local elections.

The following activities will take place under this project:

  1. Weekly master classes, conducted by academicians and practitioners to develop awareness about about the historicity of election systems, and why the current systems work the way they do from the point of view of access, equity and accountability.
  2. Public deliberations around the Call for Evidence - where submissions are grouped together to review the risks and benefits of implementing blockchain (or distributed ledger) based technologies in the electoral voting systems - from sociological, technical, legal and rights’ based perspectives.
  3. Creation of a collaborative report which lays out the pros and cons of implementing blockchain-based technologies in the electoral system.

Participation

You can participate in this project by:

  1. Attending the weekly master classes. RSVP to join.
  2. Suggest/connect with speakers who can teach master classes.
  3. Spread a good word about the Call for Evidence.
  4. Volunteer by contributing with skills - copy-editing, translations, organizing sessions.

Learn More

The One Vote Project has produced content around the topic of introduction of technology in elections. The list below provides links to our work.

  1. Introduction to the project
  2. Master class and webinar videos available here
  3. Playlist of webinars
  4. Technology, Trust and Elections - An Interim Report from the One Vote Project

About One Vote

One Vote is an initiative to examine a diverse set of inputs and perspectives regarding the introduction and evolution of technology as part of the elections. We use public discourse, deliberations and reports to raise awareness about this topic for a lay audience. One Vote is designed to enable creating a framework - a mental model by which aspects of responsible technology can be reviewed in terms of fairness, transparency, equity, inclusion and privacy among other rights.

This project started as part of Kaarana and is now a collective in its own right.

Find more about Kaarana at medium.com/karana and Twitter https://twitter.com/kaarana_

Contact details: If you have a question, post a comment. You can also post questions and join conversations in Kaarana’s Telegram group https://t.me/kaarana

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One Vote is an initiative to examine a diverse set of inputs and perspectives regarding the introduction and evolution of technology as part of the elections. We use public discourse, deliberations and reports to raise awareness about this topic for a lay audience. One Vote is designed to enable cr… more

Supported by

Deep dives into privacy and security, and understanding needs of the Indian tech ecosystem through guides, research, collaboration, events and conferences. Sponsors: Privacy Mode’s programmes are sponsored by: more

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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Hosted by

One Vote is an initiative to examine a diverse set of inputs and perspectives regarding the introduction and evolution of technology as part of the elections. We use public discourse, deliberations and reports to raise awareness about this topic for a lay audience. One Vote is designed to enable cr… more

Supported by

Deep dives into privacy and security, and understanding needs of the Indian tech ecosystem through guides, research, collaboration, events and conferences. Sponsors: Privacy Mode’s programmes are sponsored by: more