An Australian parliamentary committee has nixed the idea of internet voting for federal elections Down Under, for now. The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters has delivered its report into the 2013 federal election, and in it, the body decided that there are plenty of ways technology can help elections – but ditching the country’s pencil-and-paper ballots isn’t one of them. The committee said technology “is not sufficiently mature for an election to be conducted through a full scale electronic voting process.” “Despite public enthusiasm for electronic voting, there are a number of serious problems with regard to electronic voting – particularly in relation to cost, security and verification of results”, the committee reported.
The committee noted that technology is getting more sophisticated – but at the same time, attackers’ ability to interfere with the technology is also advancing. That, the committee stated, puts at risk the integrity of both the electoral process, and the outcomes of elections.
More mundane technologies were strongly endorsed in the report.
In spite of the shambolic introduction of automated counting in the Australian Senate, the committee endorsed ballot scanning for that house. However, it should be delayed for House of Representatives elections: “It would be beneficial if the Senate scanning system was further developed before adopting the system for the House”, the report noted.
The committee supports a pilot of scanned counts for the House of Representatives for the 2019 election (due before May).