Survey: Aussies say aye to e-voting

A large majority of Australians support the introduction of some form of electronic voting, a survey has revealed.

SYDNEY--A large majority of Australians support the introduction of some form of electronic voting, a survey has revealed.

The study of 1,000 voters was commissioned by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) and conducted in the three days following the Cunningham by-election. Despite the positive response, Australians are unlikely to see e-voting join the traditional paper-based voting at the next election.

(The Labor party suffered a severe blow in October's Cunningham by-election, being unseated by underdogs the Green party.)

"It would require cabinet to want to pass an amendment to the current electoral act for this to happen," Phil Diak, director of Information for the Australian Electoral Commission, told ZDNet Australia .

Of the three options suggested, the most popular with respondents was the ability to vote over the Internet from any location either before or on polling day, with 60 percent feeling it to be a good idea.

Next in line was using a computer to vote in a polling booth on election day, with 55 percent of the participants selecting this option. Fifty percent thought using a computer to vote at another location, such as a shopping center, before or on polling day was favorable.

Diak said Australians responded positively to voting over the Internet but still prefered the physical touch--the desired approach being a PC to vote at a booth on polling day.

Of the poll surveyed, 76 percent indicated approval of at least one e-voting method and 31 percent supported all three methods.

People most likely to support e-voting lie in the 25 to 34 age group, have an income in excess of A$80,000 (US$45,000) with Internet access at home and familiarity to online payment solutions.

ZDNet Australia's James Pearce reported from Sydney.

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