Another election is winding up, so it’s time for the compulsory round of people complaining that the system is flawed and that technology would magically fix some of the problems. Quite a few are troubled by the pencils, including Clive Palmer, who listed pencils as part of his comprehensive spray against Australia’s “corrupt system”. He told AAP:
“There’s absolutely no way I will win based [on] voting irregularities and the security of the ballots. We think it’s a corrupt system. Until that’s sorted out Abbott won’t be getting any legislation through the Senate with our support.”
But the Australian Electoral Commission has good reasons for using pencils.
“The AEC has found from experience that pencils are the most reliable implements for marking ballot papers. Pencils are practical because they don’t run out and the polling staff check and sharpen pencils as necessary throughout election day. Pencils can be stored between elections, and they work better in tropical areas.”
Besides, if someone intent on defrauding the election broke into the room where the ballots were stored overnight, do you think the best mode of attack would be to erase votes one by one, in a way that couldn’t be detected?