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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

WRITING ON WALL FOR PENCIL AND PAPER ELECTORAL ROLLS

August 29, 2013 Leanne Nicholson
video
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.
This federal election, gone are the pencils and rulers...  laptops and flat screens are making their debut for Australia's first trial of electronic federal electoral rolls.
This federal election, gone are the pencils and rulers... laptops and flat screens are making their debut for Australia's first trial of electronic federal electoral rolls.
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.
There always has been a cost to stage an election, is the Australian Electoral Commission seeking to lower their business costs so they can turn a profit?
Mr Barlow said some notebooks had the ability to print House of Representatives ballot papers for any electorate on demand, helping to cover the potential requirements of interstate voters.
What does this have to do with electronic voting?
"I don't think we'll ever get away from paper," Mr Barlow said.
"There's a certain comfort level for people with paper but certainly in the longer term we will definitely be progressing towards this technology for people to vote."
It has taken 95 years for one of Australia's oldest traditions to take a tentative step into the present when in February this year the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Improving Electoral Procedure) Bill amended the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 and enabled the ability to record electronically against an approved list of voters.
Mr Barlow said updating to digital reduced the risk of human error –is this A.E.C staffer saying that the A.E.C have been buggering up the vote counts in previous elections? If the answer is no then there is no need to change the voting format. If the answer is yes then electronic voting will not reduce the incompetence or avarice that has plagued other elections– and enabled easier identification of multiple voting.
This is a puff piece advertorial for the new voting cistern that some people will encounter. Interesting that the media did not talk about the changes to statutes that has allowed this move to take place. This is especially interesting if you consider the problems with electronic voting in America.
He said "less than 1 per cent" of people eligible voted more than once in elections and, of the percentage, there was no sinister reason behind the multiple voting.
"It's usually the elderly who have voted early and forgotten and then son or daughter comes around saying 'Ok mum, dad, ready to vote?'," he said.
Paper copies of the electoral roll will be used where electronic electoral rolls are not available for this federal election.
Australia locations trialling the new electronic electoral rolls
ACT: Canberra and Fraser.
NSW: Blaxland, Cowper, Eden-Monaro, Farrer, Fowler, Gilmore, Lyne, New England, North Sydney, Parkes, Parramatta, Paterson, Reid, Sydney and Watson.
NT: Lingiari
QLD: Bonner, Bowman, Capricornia, Dawson, Dickson, Fadden, Fairfax, Fisher, Flynn, Forde, Groom, Herbert, Hinkler, Kennedy, Leichhardt, Longman, Maranoa, McPherson, Moncrieff, Oxley, Ryan, Wide Bay and Wright
SA: Adelaide, Barker, Grey, Hindmarsh, Port Adelaide and Wakefield.
TAS: Bass, Braddon and Denison.
VIC: Aston, Ballarat, Calwell, Casey, Corangamite, Corio, Dunkley, Flinders, Gellibrand, Gippsland, Goldstein, Gorton, Hotham, Jagajaga, Kooyong, Mallee, Maribyrnong, McMillan, Melbourne Ports, Scullin and Wills.
WA: Brand, Canning, Curtin, Durack, Forrest, Fremantle, Hasluck, O'Connor, Perth, Swan and Tangney.
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