The Australian Electoral Commission is having a bad few weeks. After being forced to recount the votes for Western Australian Senate seats, the AEC declared it had lost around 1400 ballot papers, opening up a Pandora’s Box of problems including potential by-elections, recount demands and court cases. It’s easy enough to say that this could all be solved with computers and fancy e-voting, but the Electoral Commissioner isn’t so sure.
Speaking to ABC Radio this morning, Electoral Commissioner Ed Killesteyn said that it’s likely Australians will experience some sort of e-voting platform in future, but the road to digital democracy is a tough one.
“There is a trend or certainly a good debate that is needed about electronic voting, and i think it is inevitable that there will be some e-voting in the future,” Killesteyn said, adding that throwing some internet at the problem isn’t an instant fix.
“We have to be careful that we suggest that there’s an easy solution to [eliminating error]. If I was to provide the same voting facilities for all 14.7m voters [via electronic means], I would need 120,000 e-voting machines deployed across the country, and I would have 33 days to do it because the [election] date is not known. The notion that there is a simple solution through e-voting needs to be considered,” he added.
The Commissioner and the AEC outed a discussion paper last year to get the conversation around e-voting started.
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