[LINK] Canberra to trial electronic voting
Mon, 13 Nov 2000 16:59:48 +1000
What touching optimism! Over in Florida, the entire presidential election
could rest on user interface design ... but Canberra seems to think that's
not a problem.
Thinking about this over the weekend ... and, particularly, because I was
listening to the US election commentary closely! ... I was struck with
1) Can we design a computer voting interface that is better than the paper
one? By better, I mean easier to understand; less prone to error; foolproof
in the absence of instructions.
2) Can we do so and cater for the various languages in Australia?
The ACT is guilty of an equivocation - "Access to a Computer" = "Access to
the Application". They can't be equated; as we too well know, the user
interface is a big inhibitor. Even in the simple voting machines, the
human/machine interface is a sufficiently weak point as to influence the
outcome of an election. To which Web page or UI designer would we trust
From: Bernard Robertson-Dunn [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, 13 November 2000 14:32
Subject: [LINK] Canberra to trial electronic voting
Canberra to trial electronic voting
13 November 2000
VOTERS in the Australian Capital Territory could be the first in the nation
to trial electronic voting at next year's territory election, Chief
Minister Gary Humphries said today. Mr Humphries said the government hoped
to pass legislation next month for a trial allowing Canberra residents the
option of voting electronically for the October 20 poll.
"They can choose to vote the old manual way with a ballot paper, or they
can go to a booth with a computer screen and cast their vote using that
screen," Mr Humphries told ABC radio.
Ballot papers would be fed into a computer to be counted along with
electronic votes allowing progressive updates of redistributions. "When you
press the button out comes the answer, including the distribution of
preferences and so on, greatly reducing the time it takes to count the
ballot," Mr Humphries said.
ACT electoral commissioner Phil Green said the exact method of on-screen
voting was undecided as tenders would have to be called. He said safeguards
would be in place to ensure votes were not lost in a computer glitch. "The
specifications for the system that we're currently looking at would include
things like, as soon as the elector presses the OK button ... it would
instantly be stored on two different locations," Mr Green told ABC radio.
He said while distribution of preferences would happen much more quickly,
final results would take another week while postal votes arrived. Mr
Humphries said although scrutineering by party officials would become more
difficult, uncertainties about whether someone had marked a particular box
on the ballot paper would disappear.
The ACT would be the first Australian state or territory to use electronic
voting and one of the first in the world. Mr Green said Belgium and Brazil
used electronic voting but did not have complex preferential voting.
Mr Humphries is now looking even further ahead and considering internet
voting for the 2004 election. "You might as well be doing it from your own
home," he said. "That technology is available now."
Thinking isn't agreeing or disagreeing. That's voting
-- Robert Frost