This is the only argument people use against Mobile Voting – Coercion (the action or practice of persuading someone to do something by using force or threats.)
Let me answer this and would love to discuss it for your views:
- India is providing postal ballot facility to certain sections – election workers, soldiers. It would soon be extended to Non Residents and migrants. Why coercion is not an issue there? And in that case why not start with Mobile voting with these sections?
- Coercion is an issue with a very limited section of society – Maybe 1 or 2%. Because of booth based voting 33% to 50% of people are unable to vote. We must choose a lesser evil.
- We can still continue with booth based voting for certain parts of the country where law and order is a problem. (If we want to argue that the law and order problem is prevalent all over the country even after 70 years of democracy then we are arguing that democracy has failed. We should scrap voting itself.)
- We can start elections at midnight at 12 O’Clock. It would be physically and commercially unviable for muscle man to be present in each house at the same time. By the time they reach the 2nd home, the voters would have voted. (And if our law and order is so bad that muscle men can get into every house at midnight, then we should be concerned about bigger problems like Rape, robbery rather than voting under coercion.)
- Does 1 minute of privacy at booth really protects against coercion? If the muscle man out a gun to the head of your son at home, would you risk voting for somebody else in the privacy of the booth?
- Booth based voting suffers from problems like Booth capturing, duplicate voting, identification theft, law and order issue around booth, blockage of route to booth etc. Why are these lesser evil then coercion?
- Booth based voting is so time, money and effort consuming that we can afford to do it only once in 5 years. This ensures people can not directly participate in key decision. With Mobile verified voting platform like Right2Vote, any major issue can be put to direct vote by people.
Conclusion: Do not wait for a 100% perfect system. No system can be 100% perfect ever. The fact is mobile voting is atleast 10x better than booth based voting. The current system is 70 year old system created in times when people could not have dreamt of mobile or internet. Hence our founding fathers like B R Ambedkar can’t be blamed if we do not change with time.
Democracy as a system has not failed, the problem is we have failed to update the system for 70 years.