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Bogus voters, a challenge for the democracy: It's time to adopt hi-tech measures to stop fake voting
The discovery of fake voters in Varanasi, the constituency represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a matter of serious concern and a huge threat to democracy. There is need of immediate action to be taken in the issue. MPs may be taking up various issues in the parliament, but the elected representatives are silent and nobody has raised any question on it.

The issue, so far has been highlighted by only Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which cited various media reports.

A noted psephologist Yashwant Deshmukh while reacting to the media reports of bogus voters in PM's constituency said, "For this a signle party or person could not be held responsible."

Election Commission has denied finding bogus voters in Varanasi. It has said that the case might be of repeated names but they are in the process of checking whether the repeated names are of the same people or different people. The Commission will submit its report on January 5, 2015.

This reflects serious lapses on part of the Commission, which prima facie doesn't seem to have any full proof mechanism for verification of voters at the time of registration itself.

There are all sorts of possibilities and apprehensions of presence of fake voters in other states too. There is a case registered against former Sports Minister of Haryana and ex- independent MLA from Gurgaon, Sukhbir Kataria with respect to bogus voting during 2009 Haryana Vidhan Sabha elections. The case was reported by an NGO, 'Matdata Jagruk Manch'. This opens up .

On the role of Election Commission of India, Deshmukh said, "It is a serious matter for sure, but I feel its culmination of various things including poor voter list updating process of Election Commission of India (ECI)."

For possible solution to prevent the registration of fake voters, he further added, "We need to give ECI more funds to convert Elector's Photo Identity Card (EPIC) into biometric card. The so called Aadhar Card budget should have been given to ECI to start with. We know that Aadhar technology is full proof but its execution is absolutely foolish. We can use that for EPIC. You don't need to reinvest in the same."

Nirmesh Singh, a Public Affairs professional, also emphasized the need of extending the use of Biometric Aadhaar Card for EPIC to prevent fake voting.

He said, "It should be so that if it is used twice for voting in the same elections, the duplicate vote doesn't get registered."

He further added, "Voting should be made easy and spread for over a period of month and voting should be allowed 24x7 during this month. A person should be able to vote anytime from anywhere in the world for his constituency."

He demonstrated the idea by giving an example. "If Mr. ABC is a voter registered in constituency of Delhi and for some reason he had to go to Shillong at the time of elections. Shouldn't he be able to vote from Shillong itself?"

He said, "Election Commission of India should come up with a technology that links Aadhar card to ATM and ATM also serves as voting kiosk. Now ABC walks to the ATM anytime in the month of voting and inserts or swipes his biometric Aadhar - EPIC into the machine. The machine identifies the person and his constituency, and opens up the list of candidates of his constituency. ABC presses relevant button on the machine and votes for his candidate, and walks out. Can there be anything simpler than this?"

"This will not require any administrative person or security forces to be deployed for elections and will save crores of public money, which was over Rs 1000 cr in the last Lok Sabha polls. Apart from this kind of voting, a voter should also be able to vote through mobile phones, voting websites and e-mail. If a person can operate his bank account from phone, why cannot he vote?" he asked.

Roopenshu Singh, a Men's Rights Activist and Law Student at Delhi University said, "Fake voters are insult to our democracy. They should be punished. However, it's time to move ahead from EVMs. Why not use new technology, why can't I use my cell phone to cast my vote? No one else can use my number."

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