Elections are the way through which citizens of a country can choose how to make the governing system better. And hence, it is very important for the elections to be as fair as possible.
Plus, it is ideal to make the voter turn up figure as high as possible. But due to long queues at the polling booths and inconvenience in travelling, many voters do not cast their vote.
Besides, it is important that only genuine voters cast their vote. Many-a-time, the authenticity of the voter breaches as people carry duplicate/fake identity cards with them.
Hence, it’s time to make the election process better, simpler, and fairer. And one of the solutions is to use QR Code technology.
QR Codes are 2D barcodes that are easily scannable via a smartphone.
The best part is that it is already being used in election systems across the globe.
A. Use Cases of QR Codes in elections
QR Codes today are used for diverse purposes in elections. Here, we will talk about three areas where they are used: voter slip, e-voting, and ballot systems.
1. Voter slip
A QR Code on a voter slip helps in quick identification of the voter. Upon scanning via a smartphone, the officials can easily check whether the voter is authentic or not. Plus, this will ensure a quick way of marking attendance of the voters.
For example, Delhi Assembly Elections, India held on 8 February 2020, used QR Codes. All the voters were issued digital voter slips containing a QR Code. The QR Code linked to voter’s contact details.
“This latest technological innovation will make the poll process fast through use of QR (Quick Response) Code reading for voter slips of electors,”
—Sunil Arora, Chief Election Commission, India
Besides, if the voter forgot to bring their voter slip, they could simply download the QR Code from Voter Helpline App. Once their QR Code is scanned at the polling booth, they can easily cast their vote.
Similarly, QR Code based voting slips were also used in Hamirpur, a city in Uttar Pradesh, India. The slips could be scanned even without the internet, making the whole election process user friendly.
Upon scanning, the voters got details about their booths such as the number of people in the queue and the percentage of voting done.
So with QR Codes enabled slips, the whole voting process becomes much more fast and authentic.
With e-voting, voters can cast their votes from the place of their choice. And with QR Code, you can make e-voting more secure. Here’s how.
The e-voting authentication process with QR Codes is based on visual cryptography. Every voter is issued an e-voting password, which is encoded in the QR Code. The voter just needs a smartphone to scan the QR Code and unlock their password.
This password can then be entered into the voting platform. Once authenticated, the voter can be allowed to cast their vote.
For your reference, here is a detailed guide on how to create secure passwords for QR Code based e-voting.
QR Code enabled e-voting system has the following benefits:
- The voter does not need to know any background information on QR Codes or visual cryptography. They just need to know how to scan the QR Code using a QR Code scanning application
- The method aims to gain high security level as the voters cast their vote remotely
- A lot of time is saved as it takes just a few seconds to scan the QR Code and get the password
For example, Estonia enabled QR Code based i-voting (internet voting) system. Once the voter casts their vote online, a QR Code is generated. They can then scan this QR Code using their smartphone. The QR Code enables their device to communicate to the state election servers to show the voter how he or she voted without compromising the privacy of the vote cast.
3. Ballot systems
Countries across the world are now adopting QR Code based ballot systems for security reasons. See how:
Bibb County, United States introduced QR Code based ballot machines in February 2020. The voters needed to insert an activation card and select their ballot. After voting, the voters could print out their ballot.
The printed copy had a QR Code. Upon scanning, it showed whom you voted for.
“I’m sure it’s going to be more advanced, more accurate, which is super-important considering everything that happened before.”
—Thomas Gillion, the elections officer, Bibb County Board of Elections
Similarly, Chicago, United States also used QR Code in its ballot system to make the voting process comfortable for the voters.
The county introduced touch screen ballot machines. Upon casting the vote, the voters got a QR Code, which contained the summary of their ballot. Besides, it showed a written list of candidates they chose.
“I thought it was a little bit more user-friendly,” I felt more comfortable with it, and I felt like it was easier to use and more pragmatic.”
—Rudy Altergott, a voter in Chicago
Plus, you can place QR Codes in every polling station. These QR Codes can link to the important guidelines including the documents to be brought at the polling booth. For this, you can link the QR Code to be a mobile landing page with the information.
So, these were the use cases where QR Codes can be used. Now, lets see how QR Codes can actually benefit in the elections.
B. Why use QR Codes in elections
QR Codes in the election process simplify the election process and maximize voter turnout.
As read, developed nations across the world are now using QR Codes. Here are the reasons why:
1. Encourage electoral participation
QR Codes make it smooth, easy, and convenient for voters to cast their vote. And as the process becomes faster and advanced, it leads to a hike in voter turnout.
2. Save time and energy
Not only do QR codes make it far easier to access ballots, they eliminate the issue of lost usernames and passwords. In this way, organizations cut down on help desk inquiries, ultimately saving time and energy for both members and the people on hand to assist them.
3. Promote security
Secure voting is a priority in elections. With data encoded in QR Codes, sensitive information of a voter is safeguarded. This way, voters know that their personal information, including whom they have cast vote to is protected.
Now, let’s move on to detail how to create QR Codes.
C. How to create QR Codes
In order to create QR Codes, you will need an online professional QR Code generator. Depending upon your use case, there are two ways you can create QR Codes. Here is how:
1. Through API
If you want to integrate QR Code generation in your own information system, you need a professional tool such as Scanova’s Static QR Code Generation API. Here, you can create QR Codes in bulk.
You can integrate Scanova’s API with your own information system or mobile app. And then generate a QR Code anytime.
This way you can generate QR Codes programmatically. You just need to send a trigger request with data (QR Code design, format, size, and the data to be saved in it) to Scanova’s API. The API will then respond with the QR Code image.
On the other hand you can use Scanova’s SDK and add it to your own server. Here, you can make API calls locally, allowing you to generate custom-designed static QR Codes at a much faster rate.
2. Through bulk generation
If your use case requires you to create QR Codes in bulk, then you should choose a bulk QR Code generator tool. Using QR Batch for demo purposes, here are the steps, which you need to follow:
1. Create a data spreadsheet (via Google Sheets or MS-Excel) by following this format:
- The first column should be ‘Filename’, which is the name of the QR Code
- The second column should be ‘URL’/ text, depending on the category you choose
For further assistance, see this detailed guide of how to create a spreadsheet.
2. Download the spreadsheet in CSV, XLS, or XLSX format.
3. Create an account on QR Batch and via the dashboard, and click on the category that suits your purpose best
Please note that you can sign up for free. You pay only when you generate QR Codes
4. Upload the spreadsheet in the given option
5. Now, review the data extracted by the tool
6. Match the Filename as per the data you encoded in the spreadsheet
7. Now, you can customize the design of the QR Code. You can add your company’s logo and colors to make your QR Code personalized
8. Next, you can choose from the two export options of
- As images zipped in a folder—specify image format and size
- As printable QR Code labels PDF—specify page layout
9. Review all specifications and prices. If all looks fine, proceed to make payment
10. Your QR Code batch will start processing. It should be ready for download in a few minutes or a couple of hours, depending on the size.
When ready, you will get a notification on your mail. You can then download it from your dashboard.
For more information, you can refer to this detailed guide on how to create QR Codes in bulk.
This is all you need to know about QR Codes in elections. Create QR Codes now to make elections much better, faster, and secure.