Biometric voting machine made by Electronics Department students of the University of Peshawar. - Photo by Aqib Ali Shah

PESHAWAR, 19 April: Although the local bodies elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa could not become possible through biometric system, but four students of the University of Peshawar have surprised the people by making a biometric voting machine.

Four Electronics Department students, Tehseenullah, Adnan Khan, Sardar Alam and Gohar Ali made this machine within two months with the cost of Rs30,000.

Our correspondent Syed Aqib Ali Shah has put few questions before Mr Tehseenullah about the effort of his team.

TNN: How did you get the idea of making an electronic voting machine and what are its salient features?

Tehseenullah: Our four-member team include me, Adnan Khan, Sardar Alam and Gohar Ali. It was our top priority to select such a topic for our project which could be implemented for the benefit of the society and address some problem. So we selected the project of making a biometric voting machine after thorough deliberations. We got the idea of making a biometric voting machine after visiting different websites. During our survey we came two know that such a project was earlier implemented in India. The paper-based voting system of our country is imperfect as we often see that people cast bogus votes and a single person casts multiple votes. The printing of ballot papers is a long and costly process, while the vote counting and results announcement also take a long time. Keeping in view all the drawbacks of paper-based voting system, we decided to make an electronic voting machine. We have prepared a simple module which has been divided into two parts. The control unit will be operated under the control of the presiding officer at the polling stations, while the ballot unit will be used by the voter to cast his/her vote. When a voter will visit a polling station, the presiding officer will open one booth for him. The voter will get a message of ‘Ready’ from the presiding officer on the LCD. The LCD present in the polling booth will also turn ‘Blue’ as soon as it is enabled and a buzzer will also indicate to the voter to cast his vote. The voter will be required to cast his vote to the party of his choice within a specific time after which the system will be locked automatically. After that no one will be able to change his vote in favour of any other party. Even the presiding officer will not know which party has got the vote. The presiding officer will just get an idea about the total number of votes cast from the polling booth. It is an easy and time saving process and the device can be carried anywhere without any difficulty. Its external memory is good and up to 65,532 votes can be polled in favour of one candidate from a polling machine. Results can be obtained through this machine with just one click. We can also get results on party percentage basis and total votes count with this machine. We have also connected it to computer through a serial port.

TNN: How much money and time was spent on this project?

Tehseenullah: We made this device in two months. When we were making this machine for the first time then it cost Rs30,000 because many of its hardware went out of order during experiments. However, now we can produce these machines with the cost of Rs7,000 to Rs8,000.

TNN: Can you implement this project for elections if you got support from the government?

Tehseenullah: Basically it is a model. However, I have a team and we can implement this project on large scale if the government provided us patronage.

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Translation by Aamir Khan

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