Election Universe

Australia to implement electronic vote counting for general elections

Australia to implement electronic vote counting for general elections
March 05 2015, 19:52

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has called for requests for expressions of interest (REI) for companies to provide advice on paper ballot scanning and counting technology. The AEC intends to initiate a multi-stage procurement process for the required services.

Electronic vote scanning and counting would be implemented at the next general election to be held in 2016.

In Australia, several States have already implemented electronic vote counting and electronic voting to some degree.

Since 2001 the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has used electronic vote counting, which tallies electronic votes and paper ballots. By 2008 the ACT had implemented an intelligent character recognition scanning system to capture preferences on paper ballots.

On the other hand, the State of Victoria used electronic voting for its parliamentary elections and New South Wales conducted i-voting trials for remote and visually impaired voters at the last election. The AEC itself used electronic voting for military personnel overseas and for visually impaired voters in 2007.

Electronic vote counts have advantages. Such a system would offer faster results at a manageable cost. The results would be delivered minutes after the close of the polls.

Voting rules can be flexible according to each jurisdiction. For example, if someone has failed to number only the last box on the ballot the system can be told to still recognize this as a formal vote.