Election Management Software

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    Registration Name: eMaharashtra 2012
    Project Category: eGov :: Best Government to Citizens (G2C) Initiative of the Year
    Project Name: Election Management Software

    Details of Applicant

    Name: Shri Chand Goyal
    Address: State Election Commission, First Floor, New Administrative Building, Hutatma Rajguru Chowk, Madam Cama Road Mumbai, Maharashtra.
    City: Mumbai
    State: Maharashtra
    Country: India
    Zip Code: 400032

    Details of Project/Implementing Agency:

    Name of Organisation: State Election Commission
    Address: State Election Commission, First Floor, New Administrative Building, Hutatma Rajguru Chowk, Madam Cama Road Mumbai, Maharashtra.
    City: Mumbai
    State: Maharashtra
    Country: India
    Zip Code: 400032
    Name of the Head of Organisation: Smt Neela Satyanarayana
    Website: www.mahasec.com

    Brief description of the programme/project/initiative :

    In elections previous to one in 2012, we all have witnessed campaigns appealing voters to execute their fundamental right. It asked general public to come forward and form a better government. The campaigns did good job however, voters were still confused about where to register and exactly whom they should really vote. However, this time SEC wanted to take a step forward and make the right information available to people. Election Management Project was conceptualized to conduct local body and urban local body elections most Transparent, Fare and efficient manner. A common voter is always at the focal point of this initiative. It aimed at making concise, unbiased information available to the citizens.

    Why was the project started?
    To address the following Challenges Challenges as a voter: As voters we have some basic questions in our minds… who are contesting candidates in my ward, their background information, what is my ward number, does my name exist in voting list, where is my polling center, how to vote using electronic voting machines,… so on and so forth. Challenges as election officer and election staff: Are we upraised about latest updates and guidelines from State Election Commission, are there any malpractices happening in preparation of electoral roll, are we on schedule and within budget, do we have all tools to be able to work… Challenges of State Election Commission: All above challenges pretty much become challenges of SEC. Besides, geographic spread of Maharashtra being huge SEC having local existence everywhere is practically impossible. SEC wanted a mechanism by which they can centrally monitor progress of a program at any location and intervene as needed. Also media, these days, being more active than SECs’ own machinery could publish something which may not have had authenticated. SEC wanted their own medium of publishing authentic information and that too almost immediate.

    Objective:

    Election Management Project was conceptualized to conduct local body and urban local body elections most Transparent, Fare and efficient manner. A common voter is always at the focal point of this initiative. It aimed at making concise, unbiased information available to the citizens.

    Target Group:
    Citizens of Maharashtra

    Geographical reach:
    Maharashtra

    Date from which the project became operational :
    02/16/2012

    Is the Project still operational :
    Yes

    10 points that make the programme/project innovative:

    1. A CENTRAL WEBSITE OF STATE ELECTION COMMISSION: MahaSEC.com is multi lingual website which publishes information about ongoing election programs, important orders , various acts and rules pertaining to elections, telephone directory of election officials, newspaper cuttings, audio visual trainings for EVM, and videos of voter awareness campaign. Application forms for amendments in voter list are made available here. Being central component of rest of the information infrastructure it provides links to election websites of 15 Corporations, 10 Zilla Parishads, and 197 Councils. It also publishes statistical analysis of elections results. In less than a year, MahaSEC visitor count is more than 450,000.

    2. ELECTION SPECIFIC WEBSITE OF EACH LOCAL BODY CONNECTED WITHMAHASEC.COM: The election website of individual local body took the initiative even more closer to people. These website publish scurrent affairs, local news, ward formation, reservation information. Apart from population, geographical boudaries, contesting candidates, each ward map can be found integrated with a google map. One ca n find the polling centers highlighted on the map and can find the directions to them from their homes with standard map functionality. Candidate nominations forms are also published. The websites are powered with easy to use conent management engine so election staff can modify content on their own. Each web site offers safe, secure and reliable messaging mechanism for election officials and SEC. The communication can be targeted to masses as well as individuals.

    3. CENTRALIZED VOTER LIST PREPARATION SOFTWARE: Ultimate ITPL is a pioneer to offer solutions in centralized voter list preparation. This consists of application software, document generation and printing services. Ultimate’s “e-yadi” application is available as web based as well as standalone edition. This election program witnessed our web based edition. With web based edition election staff can work from practically any place where they have internet connectio n and prepare ward wise or polling booth wise voter lists. Before e-yadi service electoral roll preparation involved tremendous drudgework of manual cutting, pasting and copying. Chances of single voter getting added into multiple wards were very likely. The strict monitoring system could not be established and as result of it electoral roll preparation process was full of loop holes. These loop holes were leveraged by corrupt social elements in their own favor. E-Yadi introduced a zero tolerance system and which can be monitored in centralized as well as decentralized manner. However, the challenge was to bring in the change in the traditional system. Getting acceptance from most remote location was a key factor for the success of the system. We understood this situation and conducted trainings at multiple divisions. Total 900+ staff was trained to handle new system within mere couple of weeks. Apart from this Ultimate’s well trained location coordinators were availab le at staff’s disposal 24×7 in every town. Election program milestones and dates are carefully planned at least a year ahead of actual election date. The sub tasks in this plan have some serious dependency on one another. All work has to be completed dot on time and no delays are affordable. Voter list preparation is humongous activity occupies most of the critical path of the program. E-Yadi Web became an absolutely mission critical application as a result of this.

    4. PUBLISHING OF PHOTO ELECTORAL ROLL: Another important service offered with e-yadi platform was generation of photo electoral roll. Having voter photograph available on voter list on a polling booth, identification became easy. Bogus voting numbers came down drastically. One of the advantages of having centralized software was having all the data available at one single place. However, creating and printed electoral roll involved moving data across multiple proces sing stations. Having imagery data along with textual data increased the data volumes by 300%. Though e-yadi offered agility in overall process, moving such huge data across locations was a tough task. The cost for the job was also increasing rapidly. Ultimate partnered with large printing houses and distribution networks to generate the photo electoral roll and making them available at distant places right in time.

    5. VOTER SEARCH ENGINE: Voter search engine is linked to MahaSEC website since June 2011. Initially it helped voters to find their names in the voters list from about 8 cror records. This service was enabled so voters can either register or apply for change in name, address etc. As electoral roll formation process started, search results also provided information like ward names, polling booth addresses etc. Voter Search engine was available as Web Based as well Mobile Text Message based service. Every Corporation, Zil la Parishad or Council web site had an attached search engine. For text messaging based service 56677 short-code and VOTER keyword is reserved. Voters can find their records by using Name Search, Voter ID Search or Assembly Constituency Numbers Search. On the day of election Mumbai Corporation alone received 40 search requests per second. Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad, Nasik and Nagpur also followed heavy amount of requests.

    6. USAGE OF CLOUD HOSTED INFRASTRUCTURE: Hosting of large number of websites and web applications, generation of voter lists and their online distribution, voter search engines needed adequate infrastructure so that overall workload could be balanced. During Municipal Corporation Election program we needed some 60+ heavy duty servers, high availability storage systems and ultrafast network to do the job. The cost for such infrastructure would run into crores of rupees. Running and maintaining such infrastructure is less likely an easy job. Apart from cost pressure there was always a concern about carbon footprint that would have left by using such heavy machinery. Ultimate partnered with Nasik based ESDS data Center Company to establish infrastructure for State Election Commission. eNlight is home grown cloud computing platform which offered some great cost savings to control capital and operational spending and that too with nature friendly Green Computing as added benefit.

    7. VOTER HELP LINE: To assist voters who may not have access to internet, voice voter helpline was active for 12 hours a day. Online agents helped to resolve queries pertaining to election. Queries pertaining to voter search, acts rules, contact numbers of officials were resolved on a phone line as well.

    List 5 achievements of the programme/project:

    1. The website was extensively used by all the concerned for getting latest information and details etc.

    2. More than 20 lakh hits were recorded on the website. The usage of technology was the first of its kind in the history of elections

    3. These initiatives were appreciated by all concerned and helped in conduct of elections in a most free, fair and transparent manner

    4. The project is an example of use of appropriate technology to conduct of elections

    List 5 key challenges faced while implementing the programme/project/initiative and how they were overcome?

    1. Resistance from Local political infl uence on LB/ULB

    2. Availability of internet connectivity and power in rural area

    List 5 points to elaborate on the scalability of the programme/project/initiative

    1. Online application ensures citizen can access the information anytime anywhere

    2. The bilingual nature of the webs ite ensures the reach and user friendly feature that can be used from any part of Maharashtra

    3. Separate web pages will be developed for all LB/ULB having election programs

    4. The application can be used by Govt officals employees at various levels who maynot be aware of technology

    5. 24X7 Support through our

    Documents publishing URL:

    Applicant/implememter logo URL:
    www.mahasec.com 

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