The New South Wales state election was held over the weekend. And while for some that meant heading on down to the local polling station for a democracy sausage or two, it wasn’t so easy for some.
Thousands of voters who attempted to use the online iVote system were met with errors as the system failed to live up to the demand.
Reports of widespread issues began on Friday evening and continued throughout election day. Users were receiving both 502 ‘bad gateway’ and 503 ‘service unavailable’ errors.
Voters had until 1pm AEDT on the 23rd to register for the iVote system and until 6pm AEDT to cast their vote.
Many online voters turned to the phone system to either register or cast votes, but the lines unsurprisingly became clogged quickly.
This resulted in some callers were asked to try again later.
#NSWpol #iVote system is not allowing logins (button is greyed out) and phone line is ringing out. How do overseas/interstate residents vote with a broken system?!? @NSWElectoralCom pic.twitter.com/zr7WmpLrI6— mkaye (@mk000ner_) March 22, 2019
NSW Electoral Commissioner John Schmidt released a statement on Friday, confirming the issues.
“To date, 227,521 people have registered for iVote and 187,559 votes have been cast,” said Mr Schmidt.
“The problem relating to online registrations has resulted in increased call volumes to our call centre.
“Our call centre is still processing registrations, however some people have been reaching a pre-recorded message asking them to call back later. This is due to the high volume of calls.
“We are currently working to resolve the iVote registration problem and apologise for the inconvenience.”
According to the SBS over 220,000 iVotes had been cast by midday on election day, 32,00 of which had been since 6pm on Friday.
The system, which received more than 280,000 votes in the 2015 election, has been used since 2011.
It’s worth remembering that the iVote system isn’t just used for people casting votes from remote areas or overseas – but also Australians with special needs. They deserve better from their government and tax dollars.
Well, trying to help a person with a disability to enrol on Ivote NEC site to participate in the NSW election and it keeps failing. @NSWElectoralCom fails people with disability @PWDAustralia pic.twitter.com/Xq5PrGfTDU— john (@JohnnyGilroy) March 22, 2019
Considering that it was first used in 2011 and 280,000 people utilised it in the 2018 state election, one would think that this would be enough time and analytics to prep effectively.
Let’s hope that we won’t see a repeat of this failure of infrastructure when it comes to the Federal election later this year.