Long queues at polling booths may soon be passé

Long queues at polling booths may soon be passé

App developed by the office of Chief Electoral Officer of Madhya Pradesh may help solve the queue problem

Q-less voting app.

The queues in front of the polling stations have long been the signature pictures of a thriving democracy in India. But they may soon be passé.

If the app Qless developed by the office of Chief Electoral Officer of Madhya Pradesh works well on November 28, the days may not be far away when the long and serpentine queues of voters would no longer remain a must-have feature of a picture-perfect election.

The app developed for queue less voting would be used across 230 constituencies in Madhya Pradesh, which would go to polls on November 28.

It would be the first but a significant step by the Election Commission towards making possible for the voters to book a slot from home for herself or himself to go to the polling station and cast a vote, instead of waiting for hours in queue.

It may appear too good to believe, but the poll officials in Madhya Pradesh are pretty confident that it is doable by the time the entire nation goes to polls in April-May 2019 to elect a new Lok Sabha.

The app would be operated by the poll officials— the BLOs (Booth Level Officers).

The voter would have to meet the BLO at the kiosk set up in front of the polling station and show her or his Electoral Photo Identity Card.

The BLO would match it with the serial number of the voter on the electoral roll to generate a token with a serial number.

The voter would then sit and wait in a designated place near the polling station and would enter the polling station only when her or his turn would come in accordance with the serial number printed on the token issued to her or him, Vikas Narwal, joint chief electoral officer of Madhya Pradesh, explained over phone from Bhopal.

“The app is in fact yet another endeavour to treat the voter with dignity and make her or him comfortable. The voter is the queen or the king in a democracy and we want to treat her or him accordingly,” Narwal told DH.

He said that the district election officers would make adequate arrangement to make the waiting comfortable for the voters after they are issued the tokens, like providing good seating facilities and drinking water.

A team from the National Informatics Centre has worked with the office of the Chief Electoral Officer of Madhya Pradesh to develop the app.

Narwal said that the “ultimate goal” was to develop an app which would allow the voters to choose from home the preferred time-slots to come to the polling stations and cast votes, just as people book tickets online to watch films in multiplexes or take appointments for doctors in some hospitals.

“We are now doing it in a very basic manner. But we may be able to provide a complete queue-less solution for voting by the time Lok Sabha elections take place,” he said.