[LINK] Voted Electronically in the Australian Federal Election

Tom Worthington Tom.Worthington at tomw.net.au
Tue Nov 20 07:57:43 AEDT 2007

On Saturday I voted electronically in the Australian federal 
election, using the system for people who are blind or have low 
vision. The system worked and I suggest should be an option for 
pre-polling at the next election for all voters. There is a separate 
system for overseas defense personnel to vote electronically.

I voted electronically in the last two ACT (Canberra) local 
government elections. As I was going to be spending election day at a 
meeting interstate, I decided to cast an early vote. The pre polling 
place was equipped with the trial electronic system and have less 
than perfect eyesight, I decided to try it.

The system worked fine and was much the same as used in the ACT 
elections, as both were produced by the same company for a similar 
electoral process. My detaile comments are at: 

It should be noted that the system I used to vote is not "Internet 
voting". The voter uses a computer to record a vote, the votes are 
then printed as barcodes, transported to a counting room, scanned and 
counted. The system used in the ACT elections is more electronic, 
with votes recorded on disk, not paper. But even with this system the 
votes are not sent over the Internet.

The system being trialled for ADF and civilian defence staff overseas 
is more like an Internet voting system. This system uses a web based 
interface, but is on the secure Defence computer network, not the 
public Internet.

It would be prohibitively expensive to use the system I used for all 
electors in Australian federal elections. But as with the ACT system, 
it would be feasible to equip the larger polling places, which are 
also used also for pre-polls, with electronic equipment. Currently 
the electoral act limits pre-poll voting to a few people. The result 
is that these polling booths are under-used. If the Act was changed 
to allow anyone to vote early, that would allow the collection and 
counting of perhaps 50% of the votes electronically. This would lower 
the cost of the election and speed the result. Those who did not want 
to use the electronic system could still vote on paper and could wait 
until polling day, if they wanted to.

Tom Worthington FACS HLM tom.worthington at tomw.net.au Ph: 0419 496150
Director, Tomw Communications Pty Ltd            ABN: 17 088 714 309
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617                      http://www.tomw.net.au/
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, ANU  

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