The Australian Electoral Commission appears to be taking tentative steps towards having electronic vote scanning and counting at the next general election. The Commission has called for requests for expressions of interest (REI) for companies to provide advice on ballot paper scanning and counting technology to use in the House of Representatives ballot in the 2016 general election but the technology would not be used widely, instead being run as a pilot project in a handful of polling booths. The REI is at pains to point out: “this is not a request for tender. The AEC intends to initiate a multi-stage procurement process for the required services. “The AEC would appreciate advice from the market regarding the minimum number of tabulators to provide a reasonable (cost effective) pilot.”
Some Australian states already use electronic vote counting and electronic voting to some degree. The ACT has used electronic vote counting, which tallies electronic votes and paper ballots, since the 2001 election. By the 2008 election the ACT employed an intelligent character recognition scanning system to capture preferences on paper ballots, alongside intensive manual checking for accuracy.
Victoria uses electronic voting for its parliamentary elections and NSW trialled it for remote and visually impaired voters at the last election – as has Tasmania – and the AEC itself used it for military personnel overseas and for visually impaired voters in 2007.
Government News spoke to the Managing Director of Software Improvements Carol Boughton, whose company manages the software for electronic voting in ACT, about what the Commission’s call for REI into electronic vote scanning and counting might mean.
Full Article: Electronic vote counting one step closer – Government News.