As the Australian government returns to an honours system that will see new Australian Knights and Dames, the Department of Communications has suggested that there should be a trial of electronic voting in the 2016 election. The proposal came in a submission to a parliamentary inquiry in the 2013 Federal election. The issue of electronic voting was first raised after the election by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull as a way for dealing with informal votes, but gained even more attention after the Australian Electoral Commission lost 1,375 ballot papers in the WA Senate election, forcing voters in the state to head back to the polls for a second time on April 5. The Department said in its submission that trials of electronic voting in the ACT and New South Wales have been a success, with the ACT system in operation since 2011, built on Linux open source software that is made publicly available prior to the election to improve transparency.
The AEC also conducted an electronic voting trial for voters with limited vision, and for the Australian Defence Force personnel in 2007. The limited vision voter trial used 30 desktops that would print out a barcode of that voter’s ballot, but would not store any voter information. Defence Force personnel based in Afghanistan, Iraq, Timor-Leste or the Solomon Islands voted through the Defence Restricted Network and were given a receipt number to be able to check that their vote had been counted.
Although the AEC found that users of the system were satisfied by it, and it lead to a high number of below the line votes in the Senate, the cost-per-voter for each trial was quite high, at AU$2,597 per voter for the limited vision trial, and AU$1,159 for the Defence Force.
Full Article: Communications Dept seeks electronic voting trial | ZDNet.