Thursday, July 03, 2008

Report on electronic voting trials

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has provided a brief report on the two trials of electronically voting at the 2007 federal election. 1511 Defence personnel in Iraq, Solomon Islands, East Timor and Afghanistan voted electronically using
the Defence Restricted Network to communicate with a specially developed AEC system. 850 people used a separate system in Australia for those who are blind
or have low vision. Reports on the trials are being written for the Parliamentary committee which recommended the trials.

I used the low vision system and found it worked well. The system was similar to that used for the ACT elections and was developed by the same company. While e-voting has been controversial in the UK and the USA, the Australian trials appear to haven been uncontroversial. Neither trial involved use of the public Internet, with the defence system being a classified military network and the low vision system printing paper ballots to be scanned.

The ACT Electoral Commissioner talked 9 April 2008 about e-voting in Canberra to the ACT Society for Technology and the Law in a presentation entitled "E-voting; casting votes or casting doubt?".
In its review of the 2004 election, the Joint Standing
Committee on Electoral Matters recommended that
electronically assisted voting be trialled at the next federal
election. The Government supported these recommendations
and the trials went ahead at the 2007 election.

Defence e-voting trial

A total of 1511 Defence personnel on deployment in Iraq,
Solomon Islands, East Timor and Afghanistan cast their vote
electronically in the 2007 federal election.
The Defence e-voting trial saw cooperation between the AEC
and Defence in all matters of implementation. While the AEC
developed the software and housed the voting database,
the Defence Restricted Network was the medium used to
transport the encrypted votes.

E-voting trial for people who are blind
or have low vision

The AEC worked closely with a reference group, which
consisted of representatives of the major service providers
and peak bodies in the disability sector as well as Human
Rights Commissioner Graeme Innes. In developing the trial,
the AEC also looked at electronic voting systems in Victoria
and the ACT.

Nationally there were 850 votes cast using this system
in 29 sites.

Evaluations of the two trials are now being conducted for
Parliament’s consideration. ...

From: The Tally Board, No. 4, Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), June 2008

ps: Thanks to Sylvano for pointing this item out.

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