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Examining The Devices Of Electronic Voting Information Technology Essay

This chapter describes the Student Council Election in UPNM, the current voting system for the elections, the study on the database structure, the study of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) system made by India, the study on the visual basic programming language, the study of the fingerprint system.

2.1 Current Practice of the Student Council Elections

Before any voter may cast their vote, a representative of the contesting candidates will inspect every aspect of the voting process. This is to ensure that the voting is not tampered in any way. Among the thing that the representative has to do is to inspect the ballot boxes. This is so that the box is not tampered and safely sealed and locked by the election commission. The ballot paper is also checked for trace mark. It is to ensure that every vote cast is anonymous. After the voting session is closed, the representative will check the ballot boxes again to ensure it is still safely sealed and locked.

Every voter need to register at the registration counter before casting any vote. This is so that the commission can identify the voter and ensure no voter can cast more than one vote per election. Each voter will receive two ballot papers. One for the faculty members and the other is for general members. Each section will have its own number of candidate that the voter must select from. After the selection is done, voter need to fold the ballot papers and insert to the designated boxes, each for every faculty. The voter then has to leave the voting area.

After the voting process ended, the counting of the ballot begins. This process requires each candidate to send a representative to join the process. This is so that every candidate will be satisfied with the result and no foul play occurs. This process usually takes a long time.

This system has many flaws. One, the identification process is done manually and it takes a long time. Another flaw of the system is that the ballot papers usage. It can be easily damaged if not properly handled. The vote can also be invalid if the voter selects more than they should.

2.2 Electronic Voting

Figure 2.2 Electronic Voting System.

Electronic voting is a voting system that used the electronic device to help the voting process. This device can be anything from punched cards, optical scan voting system or specialized voting kiosks. It usually involves transmission of the ballots and vote via internet, private computer network, or the internet.

The electronic voting technology usually helps increased the speed of the counting of ballots and help the disable voter to cast a vote. This is because, by using the electronic voting, the disable voter does not need to queue up a long line.

2.3 Type of Electronic Voting

2.3.1 Paper-based electronic voting

Paper-based electronic voting or sometimes called a “document ballot voting system” is a paper-based voting system that originated from a system of votes that are cast and counted manually. The system is then improves by using a paper cards of sheets that could be mark by hand but counted electronically. Among the papers usually used for the device are punched card voting, mark sense and the digital pen voting systems.

The most later technology is a system that use a Electronic Ballot Marker(EBM), which is a system that allow voter to make their selections by using an electronic input device like touch screen.

Figure 2.3.1 Paper-based electronic voting

2.3.2 Direct-Recording Electronic (DRE)

DRE or direct-recording electronic is a system of voting that uses a machine to record the vote that has been cast by a voter by means of ballot display provided mechanically or electronically. The machine then will processes the data using computer software and record the voting data or ballot images in the memory components. The data then stored in the removable memory component or as printed copy. The system sometime also has the capability to transmitting the individual ballot or total vote to a central location for consolidating and reporting result. Typically it tabulates the result after the polling is closed.

Figure 2.3.2 Direct-Recording Electronic (DRE)

India is the first country to use Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) nationwide in it 2004 general election. With 380 million voters, the election process needs almost a million voting machines. The EVM system is comprises of set of two devices, the Voting Unit and the Control Unit. Both is connected by a 5 meter cable. The voting unit can hold 16 candidates per unit and can link up to 4 units which give total of 64 candidates. Each unit has a blue button for all candidates. The control unit has four buttons. One to release a single vote, one button to see the total number of vote that has been cast and third is to close the election process. The result button is hidden and sealed. It cannot be pressed unless the election has ended.

2.3.3 Public network Direct-Recording Electronic voting

Public network Direct-Recording Electronic (DRE) voting is a system that uses the public network such as telephone line, internet network or satellite communication to transmit vote data or electronic ballots data from a polling station to another location. The data may be transmitted as individual ballots as they are cast or periodically as batches of ballots thought the Election Day or one batch at the end of the voting process. This system can utilize either the precinct count or the central count method. Many large corporations and organizations use this system of voting to elect officers and board of members. The most popular method is internet voting. Many modern countries have used the internet voting whether privately or publicly. Countries like United States, UK, Switzerland and Estonia has already used this system as part of the general election with its own variance. For example, in Switzerland, every voter gets their passwords to access the ballot through postal service.

2.4 RFID

Radio frequency identification (RFID) can be defined as method to identifying unique items using radio waves. Usually the reader communicates with the tag, which holds digital information in the onboard microchip. There is also a chip less form of RFID tags which reflect back a portion of the radio waves that beam to them.

2.5 Component of the RFID

A basic Radio frequency identification system usually consist 3 basic component which is :

An antenna

A reader

A transponder (RF tag)

2.5.1 Antenna.

Antenna or a tag antenna is a conductive element that enables the tag to send and receive data from the reader. There are two frequency use by the antenna which is low (135kHz) and high frequency (13.56 MHz). The tag usually has a coiled antenna that can couples with the coiled antenna of the reader to form a magnetic field. The tag antenna can be in many shapes. The antenna on the reader is us to emit radio waves. The tag harvested the RF energy from the reader and used to power the microchip. The tag then changes the electrical load and reflect back as its own signal.

2.5.2 Transponder

A transponder or Radio frequency identification tags is one combination of a microchips and an antenna in a small packages. The chip stores the information like unique identification number, and other customized information. The tags come in many type and variety capabilities. The three important key capabilities that have to take into account when choosing what type of tags want to use is :

Read-only tags.

The data on this tag is pre-written on to them. This is done by the tags manufacturer. These types of tag are the least expensive because it can only hold what data has been written to them only.

Write-once tags.

The data on this tags is not been written on to them at the time of the manufacturer distribution. The data then is written to them by the buyers before the first time use.

Full read-write tags.

This type of tags allowed user to write a new data on to them as needed and the user can delete the previous data to replace with a new data.

The other factor that needs to be considered is the type of the tags that will be use. Currently there are two types of tags available in the market:

Passive tags

Active tags

2.5.2.1 Passive tags

This type of tags does not have any power supply in it. This is because of the tags is power by the induced current transmitted from the reader. This type of tags have limited range of broadcast due to limited supply of power that been transmit by the reader.

2.5.2.2 Active tags

This type of tags different from the Passive tags because it has on board power supply. In many case, the power supply is in the form of a battery. This type of tags can broadcast a stronger signal for greater distance between reader and tags.

2.6 RFID Reader

RFID reader is a device use to send a pulse of radio energy to the tags and wait for the response from the tags. The tags will detect the energy and response accordingly with a information contain in it such as serial number, item type and any other data.

There are currently two type of reader in the market, one is fixed reader and the other one is portable reader. A fixed reader is a fixed position device that automatically detect any tags without need any interaction. This type of reader has a connection to local system to access data and information transfer for enable tag capture. Usually, the application for this reader is to track object location and check work in progress. Commonly place for a fixed reader is at the doorway to certain are such a library and mall.

Potable reader also knows as mobile reader is a small device use to get the information from the tags. The information then passes to the company asset management application. The result, a system can process the data to update in it database. The system also can notice the appropriate other about the update on the item in question.

2.7 Database

Database is an organized collection of data for one or many user, usually in digital form. One way of classifying databases involves the type of their contents, for example: bibliographic, document-text, statistical. Database usually managed by using database management systems, which sore the database context allowing the data creation , maintenance, search, list and all other access. Database usually management by the Database Management System (DBMS). DBMS is a set of computer program that has set of control that create, delete and manage the database. Among the most type of DBMS is RDBMS.

2.8 Relational database management system

Relational database management system(RDBMS) is the most popular commercial and open source database in the world . RDBMS is based on the relational model by E.F. CODD. RDBMS can be define as the form of table that store all the data and it relational. Two main type of RDBMS is MYSQL and Microsoft SQL.

2.9 Type of RDBMS

2.9.1 Mysql

Mysql is the world most popular open source database. It is open source and the source code is available under the terms of the GNU General Public License. Mysql currently owned by Oracle Corporation. MYSQL is a RDBMS that runs as a server that can provide Multi-access to number of database.

2.9.2 Microsoft SQL

Microsoft SQL (MSSQL) is a RDBMS develop and produce by the Microsoft. MSSQL was the Microsoft entry to the enterprise-level database market. MSSQL is based on the Sybase SQL server. MSSQL is best known for it technical support. As a product from big corporation such as Microsoft, the product is well documented and has a lot of forum and fans. (Fuller, 2007)

2.10 Software

The Microsoft visual studio (VS) is a integrated development environment (IDE) from Microsoft. VS is a complete program development software. Vs support many different programming languages. Among the built-in languages include C/C++ (via Visual C++), VB.NET (via Visual Basic .NET), C# (via Visual C#), and F# (as of Visual Studio 2010). The VS was deigned to be easy to learn and use. Using this language, programmers are able to create a simple GUI application and also a more complex application as well. VS was designed so program can us a combination of visually arranging components or controls on a form. The specifying attributes and the action of each component can be set individually. Additional lines of code and function can be add to the program. Using VS, programmer can create a simple application without having to write many lines of code.

VS is design to create an executables (EXE) files, Activex controls, Dll files and etc. but the primary used of VS is to develop Windows applications and to interface web database systems. Pop up capabilities also provided using dialog boxes with less functionality like no maximize/minimize control. Using drag & drop feature, simple control can be added to the program, while programmers can insert additional logic to the control with appropriate event handlers.

The programmer has the ability to create the Graphical User Interface (GUI) by pointing and clicking with the mouse with the visual programming. Visual programming also eliminates the need for programmer to write the code that generates the form, properties, placement on the screen, label, color, size, and etc. All the code is part of the visual programming. The programmer however can tweak and modified the code to suit the want program. With VS, programmer does not need to be an expert on Window to create the GUI or write the code to describe what happen when user interacts. All this notifications are called event and are passed by the Microsoft’s Window Operation System to the program.

Codes that are responding to the event is called the event-driven. With event-driven programming the order to dictates the program execution is by the user, not the programmer. The program is “drive” by the user. The computer is more likely to be user friendly because of the user drive program. Using VS, all event are generated automatically by the VS. the programmer the add codes to respond to specific event. Only event that is relevant to a program need to be coded.

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