Australian Electoral Commission receives $24.4m to improve voting system

By Shannon Jenkins

February 26, 2021

(AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi)

The Australian Electoral Commission will receive $24.4 million to help it “streamline the voting experience” and connect staff at polling booths across the country, the government announced on Friday.

The funding will be used to distribute Electronic Certified Lists (ECLs) — portable devices that can tick off voters at polling booths in real-time — across all mobile booths, pre-poll booths and high-volume polling locations on election day.

Finance minister Simon Birmingham said the AEC would receive 500 extra ECL devices ahead of the next federal election, and an additional 5000 devices for the election after that, to make the voting process more efficient.

“It will also help the AEC to streamline the voting experience by making it easier to find voters against the correct address, while also providing further safeguards to prevent voter fraud,” he said.

A new secure communications tool that connects Officers In Charge at polling places with AEC staff at polling booths nationwide would also be developed, according to assistant minister for electoral matters Ben Morton.

“As our voting system evolves, it is important that the AEC continues to support Australian voters and these communication tools will increase reporting capabilities and improve logistical coordination,” he said.

The technology will be trialled at a number of locations at the next federal election, before being rolled out to a further 1300 places for the following election.

Earlier this week the AEC discontinued a case against former far-right senator Fraser Anning because it couldn’t locate him, with an agency spokesperson telling Guardian Australia that he is “believed to be overseas”.

Read more: Australian Electoral Commission to receive $6m for exhibition and upgrades


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