Australians who are based overseas or who cannot get material by post; those who are blind or with low vision or other disability; and those who are aged care residents may be given the option to vote via the paperless method, but this is in limited circumstances. Voters who are eligible will be able to request a secure access code which will then allow them to indicate their response to the plebiscite. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said: “Whilst it is expected that nearly all eligible people in Australia will be able to participate using the postal service, the ABS will implement a number of strategies to ensure all eligible Australians have the opportunity to respond to the survey.”
The large non-resident Indian community in the US has welcomed the recent decision of the Union Cabinet to extend proxy voting to overseas Indians. “We welcome this move,” Thomas Abraham, chairman of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) said. Still an Indian citizen, despite having obtained a green card for more than four decades now, Mr Abraham said the decision of the Indian government in this regard is a dream come true for people like him and many others. The Election Commission of India (EC) estimates that there are about 16 million Indian citizens living outside of which about 70 per cent are eligible to vote. While the significant portion of them are in the Middle east, in the US the estimate range from 800,000 to 1.5 million. An overwhelming majority of them are young, either university students or those on H-1B visas.
The IT department in collaboration with the Election Commission is developing an e-postal ballot system which will enable electronic delivery of ballots to remote voters. The system is proposed to provide one-way e-delivery, wherein the ballots shall be delivered electronically to remote voters, who will then download and print the ballots, an official in Communications and IT Ministry told PTI. Voters will then mark their choices, thereby converting the ballot to vote and seal it in an envelope. “This envelope, along with procedurally required declarations, be put into another envelope and mailed through postal system to the returning officer by post,” the official said. The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), under the Communications and IT department, is developing the e-postal ballot delivery system. At present, it is working on one-way or onward delivery of ballots but in future, it may include both ways – delivery and receipt of ballot.
The government today agreed to convene an all-party meeting to discuss its proposal to give NRIs the right to exercise their franchise by e-postal ballots or through proxy voting. Law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda accepted the demand of opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha that their views should be taken into consideration while enacting a legislation to grant voting rights to NRIs and domestic migrant labour. Replying to a calling attention motion moved by Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, the Law Minister made it clear that the government was acting on the Election Commission report regarding voting rights of over one crore NRIs and not as directed by the Supreme Court.
Cutting across party lines, members of Rajya Sabha on Tuesday supported the calling attention notice by Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad about the risks involved in giving voting rights to Non-Resident Indians through proxy voting or e-postal ballots. The members also pointed out that government needs to do something about millions of migrant workers who are denied voting rights within the country. Bhupendra Singh, BJP member from Odisha, and NDA leaders like Anil Desai of Shiv Sena and Naresh Gujral of Akali Dal said wider consultation is needed for the proposal of e-ballot for NRIs as it may not be very secure and advised the government not to rush into amending the Representation of People’s Act. They said supremacy of Parliament in framing laws should not be usurped by the Supreme Court.
Kazakhstani legislation governing elections should be improved, a Tengrinews correspondent reports from the international conference in Astana dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Constitution of Kazakhstan referring to Aleksei Kartsov, an expert of the International Institute of Monitoring Democracy Development, Parliamentary and Electoral Rights of citizens at the auspices of the Interparliamentary Assembly of CIS. “The regulatory control of the election process in Kazakhstan has space for improvement to better comply with international obligations related to elections undertaken by the country,” Kartsov said.
For those interested in expanding voting access by allowing voters to cast their ballots over the Internet, one government expert/activist has bad news – the security and privacy risks associated with Internet voting won’t be resolved anytime soon. David Jefferson, computer scientist in the Lawrence Livermore’s Center for Applied Scientific Computing, has studied electronic voting and security for more than 15 years. He believes “security, privacy, reliability, availability and authentication requirements for Internet voting are very different from, and far more demanding than, those required for e-commerce.” In short, voting is more susceptible to attacks, manipulation and vulnerabilities. Some champions of Internet balloting believe the safeguards that protect online shoppers from hackers can also protect the sensitive information and meet the legal regulations associated with voting online. Advocates further believe that Internet voting will increase turnout, cut costs and improve accuracy. Jefferson refuted these claims by asserting that there currently is no strong authentication or verification solution for online shopping. Also, while proxy shopping is a common occurrence and is not against the law, proxy voting is not allowed.
Mousa Abu Maria’s vote will be counted in today’s Israeli elections — but he won’t step foot in a polling station. Instead, the 36-year-old Palestinian activist has asked an Israeli to cast a ballot for the party he thinks will fight for Palestinian rights: the Joint List, the preferred choice among many Palestinian citizens of the state. “Palestine is still under Israeli occupation; that should mean I have the right to vote. I don’t have my own country and Israel still controls everything. Israel has control of our life,” Abu Maria, who lives in the West Bank town of Beit Ommar and does not hold Israeli citizenship, told the Star. Ofer Neiman, an Israeli freelance translator who lives in Jerusalem, is casting his ballot for Abu Maria. He said he chose to give his vote in protest of what he views as undemocratic elections.
Indonesia: Prabowo still confident ahead of ‘pointless’ Indonesia election appeal | Asian Correspondent
On Wednesday this week a team of 95 lawyers representing defeated presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto will head to Indonesia’s Constitutional Court as part of a last-ditch effort to nullify the results of this year’s election. It is the first hearing of an extremely ambitious legal challenge which aims to discredit at least 4.2 million votes and bring about repeat elections in allegedly fraud-ridden constituencies – an outcome so unrealistic that even Prabowo’s former campaign manager has denounced the appeal as “pointless”. Following on from the bogus quick count extravaganza, which led to Prabowo’s original declaration of victory shortly after voting ended on July 9, the court case is the latest addition to his manifold attempts to manipulate and ultimately steal this year’s presidential contest. But for those readers who have finally succumbed to Indonesian election fatigue, you will be pleased to know that Prabowo’s Constitutional Court appeal is the very last chance for the tormented old general to overturn rival Jokowi’s victory, and it’s almost certainly bound to fail. Not only do the laws of probability suggest that proving 4.2million fraudulent ballots is a lost cause, but Prabowo’s chances of launching a post-results day comeback have been further dashed by his own attorneys’ careless penmanship.
Non-resident Indians (NRIs) keen on voting in this year’s general election could only do so if they had registered back home and were present in the constituency on the day of balloting. This meant that few could be part of the exercise. The Election Commission of India is now examining the Gujarat model of local body elections as it looks for options to enable NRIs to cast their vote from overseas. Gujarat implemented the country’s first internet voting initiative during the Gandhinagar municipal corporation elections in April 2011. A committee constituted by the poll panel to explore how best NRIs can participate in elections is studying the model.
Pia Mancini is the photogenic leader of Argentina’s Net Party, which she co-founded in May 2012 and runs on her MacBook Air—from airplane lounges, conferences in Europe, government ministries, and sometimes an office that her group shares in a Buenos Aires district known for its television studios. As telenovela stars arrive in jeeps and crews unload props from double-parked trucks nearby, Mancini and her colleagues type away next to their officemates, a group of young architects. From this office, which could easily be in Berlin or Berkeley or Beijing, Mancini and co. have created DemocracyOS, an open-source platform for voting and political debate that political parties and governments can download, install, and repurpose much like WordPress blogging software. The platform, which is web-based but also works on smartphone browsers, was conceived as a tool to get young Argentines involved in city governance. But it has since spread as far as Tunisia, where activists turned to the software earlier this year after their own efforts to develop an online forum for debating a draft constitution had failed. “People in Tunisia just found DemocracyOS online,” Mancini explained. “We learned that they were using it through a Transparency International news article.”
As marathon national elections in the world’s most populous democracy head into their final phase, the Election Commission and local media are reporting dozens of cases of alleged vote fraud, and tens of thousands of names missing from voter lists in the country’s biggest city. But officials say that over all, with more than 815 million eligible voters casting ballots over a five-week period that began April 7, the elections are remarkably trouble free. “Certain questionable practices and people are expected to show up during elections,” said T. S. Krishna Murthy, former chief election commissioner who was in charge of the 2004 parliamentary elections. “But the Election Commission has managed to deal with them well. By and large, the elections are well-managed.” Still there have been complaints of proxy voting and of political parties using money and muscle to rig the outcome of elections, as well as regular reports that thousands of names are missing from the voters’ lists.
A Seoul court on Monday acquitted 45 people on charges of proxy voting in selecting a minor opposition party’s proportional candidates ahead of last year’s April parliamentary elections. With similar cases pending in the court, legal experts expect the ruling could affect the verdicts of some 400 other people who are standing trials in connection with the Unified Progressive Party (UPP) election fraud scandal. The scandal centers around allegations that votes were cast en masse through a single Internet Protocol (IP) address in the UPP’s primary for proportional representation seats that took place in March 2012. IP addresses, the online equivalent of a street address or a phone number, should be different for each voter. Multiple or proxy voting allegedly happened with offline ballots as well.
The House of Councilors enacted a law Monday that gives wards the right to vote, meaning that about 136,000 adults under legal guardianship will be able to cast ballots in the Upper House poll this summer. The Upper House of the Diet unanimously approved a bill to amend the Public Offices Election Law by removing Article 11, which prevents wards from exercising their right to vote. The bill passed the Lower House earlier. Under the revision, adults who are under guardianship will be able to exercise their voting rights via proxies. Proxy voting will also be allowed in national referendums on constitutional amendments.
The Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan has given the strongest indication yet that proxy voting would be allowed during the December polls. He made the assertion during an interaction with senior journalists at the Editors’ Forum. According to Dr. Afari Gyan the EC initially had written off proxy voting because of the biometric voting. He however conceded that after careful consideration they [Electoral Commission] had devised a means to allow for proxy voting.
Alhaji Amadu Sule, Director of Research, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Electoral Commission (EC), has said the EC had not yet taken a decision on voting by proxy or transfer of voting. He said the new voters’ registration system had not made any provision for such voting systems. Alhaji Sule explained that both the proxy and transfer voting requires another voter to vote on behalf of the individual and that “with the biometric system, the person who had registered must be present and vote by person, a situation which makes it quite difficult for proxy and transfer voting.”