Australia

Articles about voting issues in the Commonwealth of Australia.

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

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

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

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

Australia: Vision-impaired voters to have access to electronic voting at state election | In Daily

The State Government has approved the use of VoteAssist, a computer-based application developed by the Western Australian Electoral Commission for its 2013 state election. The software uses specially designed computer terminals, headphones and a numeric keypad to provide audio prompts to guide the elector through the voting process. The Government passed legislation last year to introduce electronically assisted voting technology. The legislation was prompted by recommendations made by the Electoral Commission following the 2010 and 2014 state elections, calling for a trial of alternative voting for some electors. Read More

Australia: A new type of scrutineer needed for Senate elections | CIO

There are few processes as critical to the smooth running of a society than the electoral process. It’s a procedure in which we must all trust. So it’s surprising that the current Senate count process was found by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) to have several deficiencies which were not disclosed at the time of the election. ANAO identified several anomalies in the running of the 2016 Senate election which, although not necessarily casting doubt on the correctness of who was elected, are cause for concern. Read More

Australia: Electoral Commission failed basic cyber-security requirements, misled public during 2016 federal election, audit finds | ABC

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) misled the public about the security of its data during the 2016 federal election and failed to ensure it had not been compromised, a damning audit has found. The National Audit Office has revealed the AEC did not comply with the Federal Government’s basic cyber-security requirements due to time restraints, and accepted the extra security risk. The audit also revealed the Government’s cyber-spy agency, the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), warned the AEC it was unlikely to resolve its security weaknesses before the July 2 poll. For the first time, the AEC contracted a company to digitally scan and count all Senate votes and preferences. But just days before the election, a decision was made to manually cross-check all ballots to ensure accuracy. Read More

Australia: Senate vote-counting-ware contract a complete shambles | The Register

The Australian Electoral Commission’s (AEC’s) handling of the nation’s 2016 election was deeply flawed, the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has found. The auditor’s investigation was kicked off after the 2016 double-dissolution election, which introduced at short notice optional preferential voting for Australia’s Senate. The AEC anticipated a complex count, and in March 2016 had begun work on a system to automate the Senate count, but its timetable was foreshortened by the early election. That set off a chain of events that resulted in wasted money and security failures, the auditor has found. Read More