DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION OF AN ELECTRONIC VOTING SYSTEM
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BACKGROUND OF STUDY
1.0 Background of the Study
Voting theory formally began in the 18th century and ever since, many proposal has been made towards using electronic technologies to improve elections (Sobia, Ummer, Ayesha, Usman, and Hassan, 2011). One of the essential features of democracy is Election, democracy encourages individual’s freedom with respect to the rule of law, so that individuals can express their opinion the way they wish, giving individuals the opportunity to decide their leaders, and uninhibitedly express their feelings on issues. Because of the All-inclusive Affirmation of Human Rights in the year 1948 that puts import on compelling circumstance of free elections, countries focused on an improved and new voting process that are of significance to the election processes in the 21st century (Salomonsen, 2005).
Election is the process that enables individuals to choose their delegates and express their fellings on the way they will be administered (Kohno, Rubin, Stubblefield & Wallach, 2003), (Malkawi, Khasawneh & Al-Jarrah, 2009) and (Ashok & Ummal, 2011).
Nigerian election process has been done manually (voting for local and general elections done by electors with ballot papers and ballot boxes in which the papers are placed) since returned to democratic rule in the year 1999, the manual voting process was associated with a lot of problems and always resulted to post-election violence (Yekini, Oyeyinka, Oludipe & Lawal, 2012).
In Federal University of Technology, Minna, voting system is of two main categories, Manual Voting System (MVS) and Electronic Voting System (EVS).
The Manual Voting System (MVS) involves presenting eligible student with a list of contestants on a paper called ballot paper, to mark against their favorite contestants and place the ballot paper in a box called ballot box, this system of voting is used for Faculty and Department election processes in the University. Manual voting system has some disadvantages, which include possibility of placing the ballot paper in the wrong ballot box, votes counting problem, loss of time when there happens to be some objections, paper printing and expenditures done for personnel, for these reasons, it is necessary to use the new technologies to make the election system faster, economic and trustable because the trust that every vote will be tallied and recorded correctly is the foundation of a genuine democracy (Ademand & Metin, 2011).
The Electronic Voting System (EVS) involves presenting eligible student with a list of contestants on a computer, to select against their favorite contestants, this system of voting is used for Student Union Government (SUG) election in the University. The improvement of information and communications technologies has allow for a completely computerised election process whereby counting of vote are carried out in real time, that the results are automatically out by the end of elections day (Rubin, 2002).
1.2 Statement of the problem
With advances in information and communication technology, issue of security has gone far beyond ordinary password usage. This project sought to describe the design and implementation of a fingerprint based electronic voting system, as an improved solution to the existing voting system in Federal University of Technology Minna. The existing system is however subjected to possible loss of password, printing of more than one password for a single voter, and unguaranteed voter’s presence at the point and time of election. Furthermore, the existing system is used for Student Union Government (SUG) election, while manual voting system of ballot paper and ballot box is used for faculty and departmental elections.
1.3 Aim and Objectives of the Study
This project aimed at the development of a windows application for the design and implementation of an electronic voting system, with an embedded fingerprint, for user’s authentication to the system.
The following are the objectives of this study:
1. To study the existing voting method use for election in the school.
2. To design a robust and secured system of voting using fingerprint biometric recognition
3. To implement electronic voting system in major forms of student election (SUG, Faculty and Departmental) in the university.
1.4.1 Significance of the Study
The significance of this project are to improve confidentiality, integrity and voter’s identification in voting process, to reduce the time and stress of conducting manual election (Faculty and Departmental elections), and to provide equal level of security at SUG, Faculty, and Departmental election
1.5 Scope of the Study
This project is purposely designed for student election in Federal University of technology, Minna, to overcome the problem of illegal activities during election, by making sure only eligible voters have access to the system, immediately outputting the results of the election, and ensuring that voters have trust in the process of election. However, this system can be extended to other electoral system with little or no modifications.
1.6 Limitations of the Study
Despite all the significance of this project, it is also subjected to some limitations, which includes the fact that it’s a desktop application, it cannot be used for other election except campus election, and only a fingerprint reader from Digitalpersona Inc. can be used for the enrollment and verification of user to the system.