Report Urges Electronic Election Scanning – But Not Online Voting

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The Australian Electoral Commission should be modernised and have its 25-year-old technology systems updated, as well as conduct a pilot study of electronic counting and scanning of House of Representatives ballot papers, a new report has found.

But the report by a joint parliamentary committee stops short of any suggestion of introducing major-scale electronic voting to Australian elections. At this stage only the scanning and counting of votes should be done electronically – and the report says this needs expensive new technology.

Some scanning and tallying of Senate ballot paper voting is already handled electronically, but the joint committee recommends this should be extended to House of Representatives voting.

But it warned that electronic scanning would not allow for traditional scrutineering, which it said could be an issue in marginal electorates. And it warns that evolving challenges include cyber-security matters and the influence of “foreign actors” [read China and maybe Russia] that will require close scrutiny.

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