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     Volume 6 Issue 9 | March 9, 2007 |

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A Modern, Transparent Voting System


Elections in Bangladesh or for that matter in many other developing countries have proved to be the source of bitter conflicts between rival groups and parties.

The source of conflict may be turned into a source of opportunity by allowing transparent and accountable voting process and preventing election engineering and result manipulation. The electronic voting solution developed by local experts also has the potential to open vistas of opportunities for Bangladesh' job market and provide a foundation to link it with the international IT market.

This electronic solution of the voting system comprising secured ID card and an Automated Voting System is designed to prevent election engineering. It will also minimise time for vote casting and counting. The system will allow declaration of results within a few minutes of completion of the scheduled time.

“We have developed a composite solution of the total voting system in the country” says Mohammed Kamruzzaman, Niton, Managing Director, Visual Magic Corporation Limited and one of the experts responsible for the project. Visual Magic Corporation Ltd is a fast growing IT based research and development company. “The solution provides maximum features in the equipment and envisages to train and develop a pool of local IT experts that will also cater to the requirement of the international market,” he adds.

“So far the country could not draw much attention of the IT world mainly because of the absence of trained IT personnel,” he says.

“A huge pool of human resources will be trained in the IT sector when these equipment are locally developed,” adds Nasir Uddin Jamil, Managing partner of Genuine Research and Technology and the co-developer of the system.

According to the two experts, since the equipment of the system is battery operated it can be used in remote areas and would not be affected by power shortages. The features in the system have been developed taking local needs into consideration.

Asked about the price, the experts say that they have developed a prototype of the equipment with multiple options. The price of the equipment would depend on the final configuration chosen by an individual client.

Since the equipment has been developed with local talent catering to the requirements of international market the quality can be guaranteed. In terms of maintenance their expertise can also be made easily available, which is a very big issue in such cases.

The details of the solution are as follows:
Secured ID Card: This card is machine readable and is a very cost effective ID Card that uses state of the art Japanese patented technology, that has been developed and implemented by local talents. The technology allows printing a hidden code to authenticate the card. The hidden code is not reproducible with any other machine that exists till date. The card authentication can be done only using a specifically designed hardware. Amongst all security printing this is the latest and is in use in different countries around the world. The cards can be either printed on paper or plastic.

Voting System Main Controller: It is a rechargeable battery operated electronic voting device. The system is very simple to use and is designed and developed by local experts. The system comprises of a stand alone battery operated unit called the main controller which is connected with electromechanical ballot paper called a ballot unit. The main controller is designed to store the voter database for a voting system. It also authenticates the ID card and allows a valid voter to cast his/her vote. The device can also digitally contain the voting status and can show it only to designated person at any given time.

Ballot Unit:
This is connected with the main controller and does not require any external power. After a successful vote the device will deactivate automatically to prevent multiple vote. It can enable 255 candidates list with picture and can play the sound of each symbol name. The equipment is touch based, easy to operate and maintain. It can confirm successful vote casting instantaneously.

Procedure of Voting: Voter will be called by name as usual to put his/her signature on voting register. Then the voter will hand over his/her ID card to the presiding officer. The presiding officer will authenticate the ID card using the main unit.

Without proper authentication the main unit will not allow to cast the vote. Once the validity is authenticated the main unit will automatically activate the ballot unit. The voter will go to the ballot unit, which is usually kept in a corner to maintain the secrecy of the vote.

Then the voter will use a mechanical seal to cast vote against the candidate of his/her choice. A sound will be played to notify the successful vote. After a successful vote the ballot unit will become inactive and hence duplicate vote casting is not possible by a single voter.

The AVS will save more than 60 per cent time of the voters comparing with the traditional vote casting system. During the voting AVS will display the vote casting status on the display screen after each successful vote. After every successful vote the AVS also updates the result and stores it inside the system.

No one can see the result before vote ends and the result can be published after a specified time set into the system. The time will be decided and set by the authorities.


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