Will You Impose Code of Conduct Everywhere?: Oppn on EC's Remote Voting Pitch

The subheadline is belied by the actual content. Except for the Congress leader Digvijay Singh, no opposition viewpoint is mentioned: it isn’t ‘including’ the Congress, but ‘only’ the Congress’ viewpoint that gets noted.

The headline itself, though, points to a huge problem: the conflict between ‘Code of Conduct’ and the practicability of ensuring that remote voters are protected from coercion or other inducements to not cast a vote for the actual favoured option. And with it, the elephant in the room: the fact that 'Code of Conduct is being given either the runaround or being effectively ignored, even without remote voting.

However, apart from remote EVM voting (an actual physical EVM at least gives the impression that the election is not being treated farcically), even the current EVMs pose a huge problem. Allegations that underline the dissonance between the concept of pure anonymised but voter-verified ballots have been treated surprisingly lightly by a succession of Election Commissioners.

The history of the Election Commissioner oversight of the EVM originally introduced, and the ones added since then, and most glaringly, the repeated lapses in security (including a theft that went completely unnoticed until the machine was publicly used as a demonstrator of the inherent design flaws that lend ease to the possibility of tampering) makes for some gloom.

However, apart from the machine, the construct of the Election Commission itself needs a serious examination. It is remarkable, much like the curious incident of the dog in the night-time, that the goivernment, neither any in the past or the current dispensation, has thought it necessary to publicly debate this weak design.

Rather, we are being treated to a government-driven exercise, with tremendous scope to further weaken the voting power of marginalised communities, whose impact will far outweigh even that of badly designed remote voting empowerment through machines whose design process is not just closed, but opaque.