Over the decades little has changed at polling centres on election day. Long lines of impatient voters wind around fundraising sausage sizzles set up to lure and distract hungry captive audiences. Discarded how-to-vote cards sprinkle the paths to polling booths while voters weave in and out of bunting to avoid the avalanche of party faithful ready to thrust candidate information into unresponsive hands. Finally, you’ve made it to the big tin shed or school gym and wait to have your name and address found among all the other “Smiths” and “Browns” in the important-looking folder. Once located, your name is neatly marked off the electoral roll, or certified list, with a super-sharp pencil guided in a straight line by the federal government-sponsored ruler. However, for this federal election, gone are the sharp-at-the-ready pencils and trusty rulers and in their places are laptops and flat screens for Australia’s first trial of electronic federal electoral rolls.
The trial has begun at early polling centres and mobile polling teams around the country and varies widely as locations range from the super booth Sydney Town Hall to one remote polling station at the seat of Lingiari, which covers an area of approximately 1 352 371 square kilometres of the Northern Territory, including Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands.
Eighty-two mobile polling teams have started the trial and replaced paper certified lists for electronic versions. On September 7, 60 polling booths across Australia will mark off voters electronically.
Australian Electoral Commission Western Australian spokesman Brendan Barlow said the trail was being carried out at selected locations to determine the feasibility of electronic electoral rolls compared with paper lists.
“There are 7000 polling places across Australia and to set up in every polling place would be a huge cost so that something that needs to be taken into consideration,” Mr Barlow said.
Full Article: Writing on wall for pencil and paper electoral rolls.