The NSW Electoral Commission scored $5.4 million in this year’s state budget to rebuild its iVote online voting system in time for the next state election in 2019. The funding is part of a $23 million package to improve the agency’s online systems, which will also see the introduction of “an end-to-end solution for the disclosure of political donations, expenditure and the lodgement of public funding claims,” budget documents state. Last month the NSWEC asked the market to suggest off-the-shelf software that could replace the online voting system’s current core platform. “The RFI [request for information] process will give suppliers the opportunity to demonstrate new or innovative solutions that may better meet the needs of the NSWEC,” the agency said at the time.
Spanish vendor Scytl was given $1.9 million in 2014 to support the platform until 2019. This included expanding the system to cover not only disabled and blind or vision impaired citizens but also those voting from overseas or interstate.
Two alternatives to Scytl’s Online Voting product have already been identified by the agency: US-based Everyone Counts, which the NSWEC used for the 2011 election; and the UK’s Smartmatic, which provides electronic voting software to Estonia.
The agency expects that the redevelopment project will include migrating much of the system into the NSW government’s GovDC data centres. It expects to sign a contract with a successful bidder in February next year.