Online voting and polling techniques have enabled the government and parliament agencies, businesses, societies, communities, clubs, colleges, and schools to strengthen their abilities and make a perfect decision. An optimized voting experience allows participants to vote on any device and, from anywhere when the voting period is open. Simple, straightforward, and easy voting and sharing results are the need for friction-less elections. Many of the voting software solutions can handle simple ballots and voting that happens in schools, colleges, clubs, etc. to complicated ballots and voting that goes to decide a government of a country or state.
Election technology refers to much more than just the electronic machines to cast and tabulate the votes. A typical election cycle is never complete today without the utilization of smart EVMs i.e., electronic voting machines that are always found capable of enhancing substantial voter turnouts in different electoral sectors. They improve the participation of the voters and reduce tabulation time simultaneously. A well-designed voting software program goes behind making the process smooth and friction free. Right from registering voters till conducting post-election audits, voting software solutions play a bigger role.
This article is going to present some exciting facts revealing how voting software solutions have influenced the entire election system in the private and public sectors. Additionally, we will also take you through some of the best free and open source voting software solutions.
Voting Software Technology – Ensures Integrity of Elections
In case of online voting polls that uses voting software, the participants are asked to click on a particular option from a number of options given for a particular question. And then they click on submit button to get the poll results.
Corporate shareholder elections, public elections, and many other sectors are gradually adopting e-voting technology. Research agencies utilize a simple voting system to gather their response; Colleges and Schools use voting systems to choose their student council team; Clubs utilize voting systems to pick their committee members; Societies use voting systems to choose their members and so on.
Advanced e-voting software providers become a competent partner to the poll organizers for strategic planning, analysis and implementation of the election process. They fill the gap between theoretical & scientific approaches and practical application.
Types of Electronic Voting used in the Elections Worldwide
Three main varieties of electronic voting systems exist today globally.
How E-Voting Takes Place using a Voting Software Solution?
A voting software helps in easy voting and result sharing. The most essential and vulnerable process of election involves recording and tallying votes, in secret, and checking out poll results without public oversight. Explore with us how this process goes further using the voting software system:
Challenges Involved in Manual Voting System
As far as manual voting is concerned, some of the challenges are as follows;
- Data missing: Manual voting is prone to data loss due to many reasons.
- Keeping ballot papers collected and arranged is a bit difficult task.
- Hand-written or typed poll questions lead to the faulty voting.
- Multiple ticks or choices made by the voters instead of selecting 1 option from the given alternatives leads to confusion.
- Counting votes manually is a time taking process.
How can Voting Software resolve such Failures and Benefit the users?
Despite the challenges, the e-voting systems or electronic voting procedures also bring some benefits to the election participants and authorities, and they are as follows:
- E-voting procedures help people with disabilities to easily vote by themselves. Visually impaired people can use the audio system for casting their vote.
- Electronic voting systems are believed to be more reliable as they exclude human error and with hi-tech APIs, highly sophisticated and secured applications, and error-free programming, technical issues can be limited to much extent.
- The functional system of voting helps in presenting the complicated and multilingual voting platforms efficiently.
- E-voting prevents the frauds in polling stations and frauds during transmission and tabulation of results.
- Remote e-voting facility helps the voters to access the election process from the outlying areas.
- E-voting measures help in reducing multiple voting and vote selling practices that violate the election laws.
- E-voting facilitates long-term cost-effectiveness by reducing poll workers time, postal charges, and printing costs.
Open Source Voting Technology
Software Engineers research, develop and then make publicly available innovative election software programs to increase accuracy, security, verification, and transparency in the election process.
Open Source Digital Voting Systems are in trend these days. In comparison to the proprietary systems, open source voting software solutions are more diversified and come with improved usability and low costs. Their easy set of the framework makes them easily available and compatible with any jurisdiction to adopt, and deploy for in-house elections or outside commercial selection ventures.
Here, you can check out the list of top-notch free and open source voting software solutions that are immensely popular in the market today.
The chart given below will help you to compare all the above-given software programs at once.
Let us review each of the above-given software solutions in detail to have a better idea about them.
ElectOS is a product by The OSET Institute established in November 2006 and deals in developing Open Source Digital Voting software for public election and non-profit election requirements. ElectOS is a free and open source voting software that is available via an OSI accredited open-source license, the OSET Public License (or OSET-PL). It can also be made available as per GPL.v3 license under certain specific conditions. The stable version OSET-PL version 2.1 of the software was released on December 02, 2015.
- ElectOS is a flexible, open, adaptable, and full-featured innovative software program.
- The software manages all back-office functions including creating, marking, casting, and counting ballots.
- It is a web-based software that supports on-premise and cloud-hosted deployment.
- It promotes the popular campaign ‘TrustTheVote’ for a secure election process.
(Source: Helios Voting)
- Helios Voting software is based on a standard Django/Python + PostgreSQL stack.
- The latest Helios v4.0 code was updated on June 2011.
- The software can be installed on standard Linux machine, preferably Ubuntu 10.04.
- PostgreSQL 8.3+, Python 2.5+, Python 2.6 preferred, and Django 1.2 are its other installation components.
- Helios Voting’s Ballot Encryption Verification program is a significant venture to mitigate the risk factors during the election process.
3. VTP Toolkit
VTP Toolkit is proven voter registration software. It is a royalty-free, licensed open source software program that is established by Caltech President David Baltimore and MIT President Charles Vest in December 2000.
(Source: VTP Toolkit)
- VTP Toolkit is a web-based software that comes with Open-API and On-Premise deployment.
- The entire software kit comes with three essential tools, i.e., Line Optimization and Poll Worker Management, Poll Worker and Machine Optimization, and Line Optimization.
- The software is entirely focused on effective election management and performs accurate voter authentication during voting procedures.
- DemocracyOS software runs on Windows, Linux, UNIX, and OS/X based systems.
- The software needs you to create your DemocracyOS just in a click.
- It is a multi-lingual software that can translate into more than 15 languages and is available as per GPLv3 license.
- Docker setup is required to run the software on Windows.
FollowMyVote is a secure and transparent online voting solution. This open source software assures cryptographically secure voting process. It relies on the blockchain technology and elliptic curve cryptography to protect the rights of every voter.
- It is a cloud-based voting platform that comes with real-time voting progress tracking.
- Using the FollowMyVote software, voters become the active auditors of the election.
- The open source technology used in the software makes it important because it secures computer programs at the internal level.
- Elliptic Curve Cryptography ensures the right to privacy of the voters.
The TrustTheVote Project is an initiative of the OSET Institute. It is an Open Source Election Technology Framework to manage elections, register voters, and count ballots. The framework aims at improving the voting experience and increase the integrity of the polls.
- TrustTheVote is based on cloud-hosted and Open-API deployment.
- It smoothly runs on online, Mac, and Windows-based platforms.
- A web user interface is provided for Voter Registration.
- A mobile application is offered to track waiting time at the polling place.
- A web-based application is generated to know about the absentee ballots online.
- VoteStream Public Access provides information about the election results.
SFOpenVoting is an open source ballot-paper voting system. It is a public and non-proprietary software that works on Linux and Android-based operating systems and FireFox browser. It is 100% transparent, affordable, and flexible software program that works without needing vendor permission.
- An accessible voting device, precinct ballot scanner, and central ballot scanner for votebymail are voting hardware associated with the software system requirements.
- Ballot layout, scanning and interpretation, ballot adjudication, tabulation, result reporting, and audit assistance are voting system software components.
- It is a GPLv3 licensed software.
VoteWatcher is a free and open source voting and election service system that is developed by Blockchain Technologies Corp. This voting software aims at bringing efficiency and transparency in voting. It is a cloud-hosted software program that runs on Windows and web-based operating systems.
- The VoteWatcher software offers an array of customized election services with blockchain voting solutions at the core.
- The software watches the mail-in election from ballot creation and dispersal to collection and tallying.
- It keeps a keen eye over the on-site election process where paper ballots or touchscreen tablets are used for the election purpose.
- The software supports online election as well, where voters receive a unique code through mail or email to access the polling website to cast their vote.
Pvote is a free and open source prototype software for the electronic voting machines. It is written in Python, C, and C++ languages and runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. Pvote software can be used for general or primary elections, and it can easily handle the cross-endorsed candidates and straight-ticket voting.
- Pvote 1.0 beta is the latest version of the software that is released shortly.
- This free software comes as per the GNU General Public License.
- Pvote source code can be easily obtained through the Pvote 1.0 beta ZIP archive.
- The software design is based on a platform-independent ballot file that defines the look, sound, and behavior of the ballot.
WeVote lets you plan your vote in just 6 minutes. It is a free, open source, and secure operable software that allows the voters to geo-locate their specific ballots and plan for voting using easy visual guides. It is a cloud-hosted software that runs on the web-based and Windows-based operating systems.
- The API application server of WeVote is written in Django/Python language.
- WeVote is recognized in the voting software fraternity as the first open source digital voter guide.
- WeVote has served more than 24,000 voters and accumulated ballot data for more than fifty elections, including more than 44,000 candidates.
If you are already using one from the software solutions listed above, you can freely share your reviews here.
Touchscreen voting machines with attractive and intuitive AI-build interfaces and GPS tracking of EVMs and VVPATs offer a seamless voting experience. AI-powered computer vision and Face Recognition Technology provides accurate and efficient verification of voters. Few voting software system are designed to work with the blockchain technologies.
In the blockchain-based system, cryptography, code, and collaboration among government agencies, citizens, schools, communities, social welfare agencies, NGOs, and other stakeholders help in developing the trust of the public in the voting process. Each digital ID is secured cryptographically with a private key/password involving proofs of residence and citizenship, biometric data, and voter registration. They are some non-ignorable features of some of the best voting software solutions that help in maintaining the integrity and transparency in voting, which is the foremost concern among the election authorities today.
She is an IT graduate, a research enthusiast, a gadget lover and a tech writer. Sarah loves to explore every new innovation in the field of technology to help meeting quests of the readers regarding knowing about new gadget in the market, tech news and publications as well. She is a professional Research and Tech Writer at GoodFirms.co
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