Australia

Articles about voting issues in the Commonwealth of Australia.

Australia: Labor says NSW voter ID plan is ‘undemocratic’ and unnecessary | The Guardian

The New South Wales opposition has warned against a plan to force voters to show identification at polling booths, saying the laws are unnecessary and would serve only to disenfranchise parts of the electorate. The NSW government is due to respond in coming months to a parliamentary committee’s report on the 2015 state election, which recommended that voters be required to produce ID in future polls. On Tuesday federal Liberal MP for North Sydney and NSW moderate powerbroker, Trent Zimmerman, called for compulsory voter ID for federal elections in the Coalition party room meeting. Identification laws are designed as a way of preventing voter fraud, but are criticised for imposing a barrier to voter participation. Read More

Australia: Western Australia’s Web votes have security worries, say ‘white hat’ security experts | The Register

The Western Australian government is pushing back against concerns about the security of its implementation of the iVote electoral system. iVote is an electronic system already used in another Australian State, New South Wales, primarily as an accessibility tool because it lets the vision-impaired and others with disabilities vote without assistance. Perhaps in response to last year’s Census debacle, Western Australia has decided to put in place denial-of-service (DoS) protection, and that’s attracted the attention of a group of veteran electronic vote-watchers. Writing at the University of Melbourne’s Pursuit publication, the group notes that the DoS proxy is not in Australia: it’s provided by Imperva’s Incapsula DoS protection service. That raises several issues, the academics (Dr Chris Culnane and Dr Vanessa Teague of the University of Melbourne, Dr Yuval Yarom and Mark Eldridge of the University of Adelaide, and Dr Aleksander Essex of Western University in Canada) note. First: the TLS certificate iVote uses to secure its communications is signed not by the WA government, but by Incapsula; and second, that means Incapsula is decrypting votes on their way from a voter to the State’s Electoral Commission. Read More

Australia: iVote West Australia: Who voted for you? | Pursuit – The University of Melbourne

In the 2017 Western Australian state election, voters with disabilities can register and vote over the Internet for the first time, using a system called iVote. Voters with disabilities deserve to have just as much confidence in the privacy and security of their votes as able-bodied voters using a polling booth. Unfortunately, a breach of voter privacy, or overt tampering of ballots, may not be noticed if it happens online – and reading or altering someone’s iVote might be easier than it seems. Security vulnerabilities are successfully exploited every day to steal money, commit financial fraud and extract government secrets. US intelligence agencies blamed Russian government hackers for interfering in the US election. The iVote registration and voting servers are protected by Transport Layer Security (TLS), the Internet’s most common security protocol. If you visit your bank and click on the padlock in your browser’s address bar, you can see a TLS certificate that proves you are communicating with the true owner of that domain. However, if you visit the WA Electoral Commission’s online registration page or the iVote log-in page and click on that padlock, you see something surprising: the TLS certificate is owned not by the WA Electoral Commission (WAEC) but by a US company called Incapsula. Read More

Australia: Electoral Commission plans for voting with pens, not pencils | Sydney Morning Herald

Australian voters could soon use pens to vote at federal elections, as part of a plan to replace traditional ballot box pencils. Since 1902, electoral laws have required ballot boxes to be “furnished with a pencil for the use of voters”, but in a submission to a parliamentary inquiry the Australian Electoral Commission has asked to be given the option of voters using pens. The plans comes amid moves to replace pencils for voting in state and overseas elections, although Australians have always had the right to bring their own pen on election day. Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers has asked the inquiry, which is reviewing the July 2 federal election, to recommend the change to section 206 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act as technology for counting votes continues to improve. Read More

Australia: Voter ID: The bombshell recommendation that brings an American problem to NSW | The Canberra Times

During the final sitting week of the NSW Parliament for the year, dominated by furious debate over legislation removing Independent Commission Against Corruption chief Megan Latham from her job, a parliamentary committee tabled a report containing an equally contentious measure. The report on the 2015 state election from the joint standing committee on electoral matters suggested a range of improvements to NSW voting rules based on the most recent poll. It contains a bombshell recommendation: that NSW voters be forced to produce photo identification before they are able to cast a ballot. Read More

Australia: E-voting risks in Australia after Russian hacking in US election | Financial Review

The Turnbull government’s new Cyber Ambassador, Tobias Feakin, has warned of the risks of e-voting after allegations Russian hacking of Hillary Clinton’s emails may have influenced the US election outcome. The comments may further slow moves towards a change, after Labor turned on the idea in its submissions to a joint parliamentary inquiry into the federal election, saying the online census outage was cause to proceed with caution. In the days after the Australian federal election, both Malcolm Turnbull and Labor leader Bill Shorten called for the introduction of electronic voting, saying in 2016 it should not take more than eight days to find out a result. … E-voting expert University of Melbourne’s Vanessa Teague has previously said instead of at-home e-voting via personal devices, which could be unsafe, she would instead advocate a change to e-voting via computers at polling places. Read More

Australia: Electoral Commission wants money to fix aging IT systems | ZDNet

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has warmed its existing IT systems are nearing the end of their life and that it needs money to have them updated. In a parliamentary submission, Inquiry into the conduct of the 2016 federal election and matters related thereto, Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers raised concerns about the AEC’s current staffing model, noting that the number of staff has gone unchanged since 1984, despite the growing pool of voters. “I believe the temporary staffing model and the AEC’s election and roll management IT systems are at the end of their useful life,” Rogers wrote in his submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters. “As a result, much of the delivery of elections and the data for monitoring and reporting on that delivery is reliant on human intervention and manual processes.” Read More

Australia: Random number generator to determine candidate positions on ballot paper on Thursday | The Canberra Times

Candidates will discover on Thursday their position on the ballot paper in October’s election, although with a random ballot paper it is not clear there is any advantage to be had. The names of more than 100 candidates expected to stand for the hotly contested ACT election will be announced at lunchtime. With an extra eight seats up for grabs as the Parliament swells to 25 members, this election offers the best opportunity to get elected of any election since self-government. If every incumbent keeps their seat other than the two retiring members, there will still be 10 new faces. To ensure no advantage from ballot position, the ACT Electoral Commission will use a random number generator to decide the order in which the parties appear. Independents will all be on the right-hand side of the ballot paper – in one column if there are up to five independents, and spreading over two or more columns if there are more. Read More

Australia: Northern Territory election: voters forced to wait for fully analysed costings | The Guardian

Both major parties contesting the Northern Territory election on Saturday are yet to release fully analysed costings of their campaign and other commitments. The governing Country Liberal party released its costings on Tuesday afternoon – past their own deadline of Monday but well before Labor’s release, planned for Thursday. The CLP has claimed its costings would see a positive balance of $35.78m over three years from 2018-18 and said its analysis of Labor’s commitments had found a debt of $523.51m over the same period. However, the CLP costings have not yet been assessed by Treasury, meaning voters will receive fully analysed data from both parties at about the same time. The deputy chief minister, Peter Styles, said he hoped Treasury would return the CLP costings soon. Read More

Australia: Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into online voting to begin public hearings | news.com.au

Just weeks after the trouble-plagued first online Census, Victoria is pressing forward with public hearings to examine the effectiveness of electronic voting as part of a Parliamentary Inquiry into the matter. Beginning today, the Electoral Matters Committee will hear from electoral commissions, technology specialists and community advocacy groups. The inquiry will hear from experts and stakeholders during sessions on Monday and Wednesday this week as they examine what has become an increasingly contentious issue. In the fallout from the bungled online Census, many commentators lamented the damage it had done on the movement towards online voting. … Plenty of advocates remain undeterred and would like to see the government explore ways to deliver comprehensive electronic voting in the future. But according to those who have provided submission to the inquiry, there are plenty of pitfalls to consider. Read More