Thursday, April 05, 2007

Electronic Voting Machines being tested in Australia

It has been reported that the Australian Electoral Commission is asking for vision impaired people to test its accessible Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) for the next federal election.

The government minister responsible, Gary Nairn MP, Special Minister Of State, has said the system must be ready for use by 4 August. There are to be two limited trials of electronic voting for the disabled and military personnel. The last Victorian state electionused six "E Centres" and the last two ACT elections used a locally developed system.
The Australian Electoral Commission is currently undertaking a limited trial of accessible Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) for the upcoming federal election. We are currently looking for Testers in Sydney to assist us in evaluating the software providing feedback on the usability of the software.

Background

In mid 2006 the government approved the path forward for the development of EVMs to enable blind and vision impaired voters to cast a secret and independent vote. The EVMS are to be located at up to 30 sites around Australia for the next federal election. The AEC has been working with Blindness and Vision Impairment Peak bodies to guide the AEC in the development of the software and to provide input as to the locations of the EVMs. Key players in this development include:
* Vision Australia - Michael Simpson
* Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission - Graeme Innes
* Australian Federation of Disability Organisations - Maryanne Diamond
* Blind Citizens Australia - Nadia Mattiazzo

User Testing

The user testing will be carried out in Sydney on the 16th and 17th of April.

The AEC is seeking a range of blind and vision impaired electors who are interested to participate in user testing of the electronic voting technology.

The AEC will select a representative group of testers, which meet the following requirements:
* Gender balance
* Age balance
* Computer Literacy balance
* Vision ranging from low vision to complete blindness

If you are interested and available to assist us for an approximately 2 hour sit in session on either the 16th or 17th April, we would be delighted to hear from you.

Please also feel free to pass this information on to people you think might be interested, but who are not as computer literate.

Please contact the Australian Electoral Commission on 02 6271 4611 and leave a message or by email to evoting (a) aec.gov.au to register your interest.

Please note that because we will require a spread of testers who meet the different requirements listed above, we may not be able to accommodate all respondants to this request.

Location Details
* The testing will be held at ... Sydney
* Staff will be present to welcome, guide you and pay for your taxi ride to and from the hotel.
* A stipend of $60 and cab charges will be available to facilitate your attendance.
* Coffee and tea will be provided

We look forward to hearing from interested electors ...

From: "Fwd: vip-l: Electoral Commission Seeking Sydney-based people for user testing", Jan Whitake, Link mailing list, Apr 5 10:31:03 EST 2007

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