E-voting not ready, but polling’s digital revolution will be CCTV’d

Rushing to e-voting could “destroy community confidence in electronic voting for the future”, Electoral Commission executives say. The reform agenda was outlined this week.

The Australian Electoral Commission responded to the calls for e-voting via a federal inquiry with a stark outline of the challenges facing the beleaguered agency — and a promise that the digital revolution will be carefully staged.

Acting commissioner Tom Rogers says the greatest risk is implementing computerised voting nation-wide too quickly and it not working. “We’d destroy community confidence in electronic voting for the future,” he told a federal parliamentary committee this week.

“Anything is possible. If the parliament asks us to conduct a trial, we’ll pull out all stops and make it happen. We’re dealing with the biggest single issue to confront the AEC in modern history [lost ballots], and in the middle of three audits, one internal. I’m concerned about our ability to introduce some form of electronic voting safely at this time.

“Even a trial, say two seats, we would not have the internal ability to do that [for the next federal election]. We would have had to have already started.”

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