Oceania

Articles about voting issues in Australia, New Zealand and other nations in Oceania.

Australia: Dual citizenship crisis: four MPs resign after court rules Katy Gallagher ineligible | The Guardian

A high court decision ruling Labor senator Katy Gallagher ineligible to sit in parliament has triggered four MPs – including three Labor MPs – to resign over dual citizenship issues. In a litmus test for both Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten the four MPs will now fight to retain their seats in a “super Saturday” string of byelections in states that will be crucial to the next federal election including Queensland and Western Australia. While the Turnbull government dials up its rhetoric on Shorten’s failure to force his MPs to resign sooner, Shorten has attempted to frame the looming contests – to be held as early as June – as a chance to cast judgment on the Coalition’s big business tax cuts. Read More

Australia: Electoral Commission strengthens defences against foreign hacking | AFR

The Australian Electoral Commission wants a stress test of ageing IT infrastructure completed ahead of the next election, part of international efforts to protect against foreign hacking such as Russia’s interference in the 2016 US presidential vote. Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers has conceded authorities in Australia and New Zealand remain “nervous” about the risk of domestic or overseas hacking and disruption to “front-facing services” including the online enrolment system, postal vote application system and virtual tally room. The Council of Australian Governments has ordered health checks of electoral systems, with intelligence organisations including the Australian Signals Directorate and the Australian Cyber Security Centre co-operating with the AEC ahead of a possible federal election in late 2018 or early 2019. Read More

French Polynesia: Run-off Tahiti elections clouded by claims of foul play | Radio New Zealand

There are claims of foul play in French Polynesia’s territorial election which have prompted calls to cancel last month’s first round on one island. With the ruling party standing nine candidates with criminal convictions for corruption, a movement is taking hold to urge voters to cast blank ballots. Campaigning is continuing for this weekend’s second round and there is tough talk. The Tahoeraa Huiraatira party is warning of riots in Tahiti of the kind seen in 1995 if the rival Tapura Huiraatira party stays in power for another term. Read More

Australia: New South Wales Electoral Commission appoints Scytl for iVote refresh project | Computerworld

Scytl has won a $1.9 million contract to upgrade the NSW Electoral Commission’s iVote application. The 2017-18 state budget included funding to enhance the iVote system, which provides browser-based Internet voting and telephone voting. iVote has been used in two NSW elections, as well as the 2017 WA election and nine NSW by-elections. There have been two versions of iVote; Scytl developed the core voting system used by the application from the 2015 NSW election onward. iVote has three key components: A registration and credential management system, which were both developed by the NSW EC; the Scytl core voting system; and a telephone system built by the electoral commission for vote verification. Read More

Australia: Boundary changes set to trigger Labor factional jostling | The Guardian

New boundaries set to be released by the Australian Electoral Commission on Friday are expected to deliver two new seats to the Labor party at the next federal election – and trigger a fresh round of factional jostling in Melbourne. The AEC is expected on Friday morning to publish redistributions creating a new inner-city seat in Canberra and a new electorate in the western or north-western suburbs of Melbourne. Given that Canberra and Melbourne’s west are considered Labor strongholds, major-party operatives think both seats will be a plus in the Labor column at the time of the next federal election – although the Greens will also have their eye on the new Canberra seat.  But the picture could be more mixed for Labor depending on the flow-on consequences of the Victorian redistribution – with boundary changes potentially altering the balance in surrounding electorates, including McEwen, Casey and Gorton – and in the city’s east. Read More

New Zealand: Legal battle over prisoner voting ban heard at Supreme Court | Radio New Zealand

The career criminal, Arthur Taylor, has taken his legal battle challenging a ban on prisoner voting to this country’s highest court. The High Court and Court of Appeal have already ruled against them, but in December the Supreme Court agreed to give them one last hearing. In 2010, Parliament passed a law preventing all sentenced prisoners from voting, regardless of the length of their sentence. However, earlier electoral legislation allowed prisoners serving a jail term of less than three years to vote. Read More

New Zealand: Supreme Court told ban on prisoner voting infringes on rights | NZ Herald

The Solicitor-General has told the Supreme Court justices they risk undermining New Zealand’s democracy, if they rule on whether prisoners should be able to vote. Notorious “jailhouse lawyer” Arthur William Taylor has fought through the High Court, Court of Appeal, and now the Supreme Court, against the 2010 law which banned all prisoners from voting in elections. Previously prisoners could vote if they were serving a term of less than three years. The High Court did not overturn the ban, but did declare it was inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Act because it infringed on the rights of New Zealand citizens to vote. The Court of Appeal upheld that decision. Solicitor-General Una Jagose is presenting the Crown’s case to the Supreme Court this morning. She said prisoner voting rights were not an issue that should be decided by the courts. Read More

Australia: Electoral Commission ‘satisfied’ with security risks absorbed ahead of the 2016 election | ZDNet

A report from the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) last month called out the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) for ditching compliance with Australian government IT security frameworks. In particular, the ANAO said insufficient attention was paid to assuring the security and integrity of the data generated both during and after operation, as the focus was on delivering a Senate scanning system by polling day. Facing Senate Estimates on Tuesday night, Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said he was satisfied with the risks that the AEC accepted ahead of its go-live. “They were not untreated risks — we were aware of them,” Rogers clarified. Read More

Samoa: Samoa’s elections going electronic in 2021 | Vaal

Samoa is moving to electronic voting in the 2021 general elections. The Electoral Commissioner, Faimalōmatumua Mathew Lemisio told Talamua the new voting system will solve the delays in obtaining preliminary election results on polling day. “After the 2016 by-election, we looked at ways to improve our service, and the electronic voting system is included in our 5 year Strategic Plan.” Read More

Australia: Parliamentary inquiry finds Western Australia’s electoral system ‘stuck in the past’ | Perth Now

Western Australia’s electoral system has become “stuck in the past” amid outdated legislation and a lack of funding, a parliamentary inquiry into the 2017 state election has found. The final report from the standing committee inquiry highlighted several problems with the security of internet voting, poor transparency for political donations and the state’s ageing Electoral Act. Inquiry chair Peter Katsambanis says the state’s 111-year old electoral legislation is a “hodgepodge of contradictory provisions that make no sense“, which prevented the use of electronic voting systems. Read More