i-Voting system sought for NSW elections

Summary:The New South Wales State Government on Friday released a tender seeking an electronic voting system for use in next year's state election. The system is intended for use by blind, vision impaired or disabled voters, or those living in remote areas.

The New South Wales State Government on Friday released a tender seeking an electronic voting system for use in next year's state election. The system is intended for use by blind, vision impaired or disabled voters, or those living in remote areas.

(UK Voter Intelligence At Its Worst for 40 Years image by Daily Fortnight, CC 2.0)

Under the proposed $1.5 million "i-Voting" plan, the State Government intends to provide a system whereby electors who previously required a Braille ballot or could not attend a polling place could cast a secret and unassisted vote from home via phone or secure internet connection.

The Braille ballot paper for blind and visually-impaired voters stretches over 67 pages, and could be subject to breaches of privacy when cast with assistance, said the tender documents.

State Premier Kristina Keneally said in a press release announcing the project earlier this year that there are over 300,000 blind or visually impaired voters nationally with a third of them living in NSW.

However, estimated take-up of the i-Vote system has been projected by the tender documents at between 5000 and 15,000 voters made up from telephone and online — significantly less than the total number of voters who the premier outlined could benefit.

Under the proposed system, i-Voters will be provided with unique log-in credentials either for telephone or online use. The votes are, however, not counted digitally. Instead, they are printed and added to paper ballots for inclusion in the manual count.

The tender also recognised security issues that may come into play with the i-Vote system and required vendors to outline how they would prevent hacking, phishing, vote tampering and system crashes to ensure that the system protects a user's personal details and ensures their privacy when casting their vote.

The NSW Electoral Commission looks to have a short list of vendors by early August this year and the execution of contract to take place on 20 August 2010.

Topics: Government, Government : AU, Legal, Security

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