Case Study: Team Wasuli - Boosting Youth and Urban Voter Participation in India

Case Study: Team Wasuli - Boosting Youth and Urban Voter Participation in India

Electhon'23, an ambitious 30-hour offline hackathon organized by the Election Commission of India and powered by Hack2skill, concluded at IIIT Bengaluru, India. The event aimed to address critical challenges in the electoral process, bringing together 35 teams from across India to develop innovative solutions. Low voter turnout, especially among young and urban demographics, is a significant concern for Indian democracy. Team Wasuli tackled this challenge by creating a comprehensive ecosystem using a multi-pronged approach.

Introducing Team Wasuli’s Comprehensive Multi-Pronged Approach

Team Wasuli's strategy to boost voter turnout includes a secure online registration platform with facial recognition, social media awareness campaigns backed by influencers, a voter slot booking mechanism, educational programs, AR polling booth navigation, and an AI chatbot for candidate information.

Key Features

  • Digi-voter with Facial Recognition: A secure online platform for voter registration using facial recognition technology for seamless verification. This eliminates the need for physical documents and streamlines the process.

  • Mobile Voter Registration Van: Taking registration to the people. These vans, equipped with the necessary infrastructure, will visit public spaces (colleges, malls) to facilitate on-the-spot registration.

  • Voter Education Programs: Educate voters, particularly young adults, about their rights, the electoral process, and the importance of voting. This can be done through online modules, workshops, and partnerships with educational institutions.

  • AR Navigation of Polling Booths: Combat "polling booth anxiety" by offering an Augmented Reality (AR) navigation tool within the VoteGuru app. This feature will help voters easily locate their polling booth on election day.

  • Know Your Politician (NETA-GPT): An AI-powered chatbot within the VoteGuru app named NETA-GPT (National Election Transparency & Awareness - Generative Pre-trained Transformer). This chatbot provides voters with unbiased information about contesting candidates and their platforms.

  • AI-generated Celebrity Felicitation Videos: Partner with celebrities to create personalized congratulatory videos for newly registered voters, fostering a sense of accomplishment and community.

  • Social Media Influencer Collaboration: Partner with relevant social media influencers to reach targeted demographics and promote voter registration and participation through engaging content.

Benefits for the Country and the Youth

  • Increased Participation: The streamlined registration process and on-the-spot mobile registration vans make it easier for young voters to register, leading to higher voter turnout.

  • Informed Electorate: Voter education programs and the NETA-GPT chatbot ensure that young voters are well-informed about their rights and the electoral process, as well as the candidates and their platforms.

  • Reduced Barriers: AR navigation of polling booths reduces anxiety about finding polling locations, making the voting experience smoother and more accessible.

  • Enhanced Engagement: Social media campaigns, influencer collaborations, and celebrity felicitation videos create a sense of community and accomplishment, motivating young voters to participate.

  • Efficient Verification: Facial recognition technology eliminates the need for physical documents, speeding up the registration process and reducing potential errors.

Real-World Impact

Team Wasuli's innovative approach was recognized and implemented by the Karnataka state government for the upcoming elections. The Election Commission of India piloted their facial recognition technology at a polling booth in Bengaluru, demonstrating its potential to reduce waiting times, prevent fraudulent voting, and streamline the electoral process.

Voters at the selected polling station downloaded the Chunavana mobile application, input their Elector's Photo Identity Card (EPIC) number, mobile number, and an OTP generated by the app, and uploaded a selfie. At the polling booth, voters underwent facial recognition scanning for verification. If the voter's photo matched with the EC's database, they were not required to present any documents and could proceed to vote. This new system reduced waiting times, long queues, and prevented fraudulent voting and electoral malpractices.

This endorsement and real-world application highlight the effectiveness of Team Wasuli's solutions in addressing the critical issue of low voter turnout among youth and urban demographics. The successful pilot in Karnataka sets a precedent for broader adoption across India, aiming to create a more engaged and informed electorate.