State electorates to minimise voting lines with Android tablets

In a new deal with Acer, the NSW, Queensland, and Victorian state electorates will share 5,000 Android tablets that will be deployed to polling places during each state's next general election.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

The upcoming state elections in New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria will see the deployment of 18-inch Android tablets from Acer.

The 5,000 tablets, which will be shared amongst the electoral commissions of each east coast state for use in major election events, will be initially deployed to polling places around NSW in time for the next state general election in March 2015.

A NSW electorate commission (NSWEC) spokesperson said the primary goal is to improve its services to electors in polling places, where election officials will be able to use tablets to access the electoral roll and district information to determine elector enrolment status and whether the electoral district elector is enrolled.

"The tablets will service electoral roll enquiries faster and more efficiently. The tablet will be loaded with information content designed to assist electors," the spokesperson said.

"For example, information brochures in multiple languages will be loaded into the tablets to assist electors whose first language is not English."

The spokesperson said the Android tablets will be replacing existing palm pilot PDAs — initially introduced for the 2007 state election — because they will reach end-of-life by the next state elections.

"The decision was made to replace most of these hand held devices with tablets. Electoral commissions in Queensland, NSW, and Victoria have similar needs and decided to collaborate in purchasing and sharing these tablets in major election events," the spokesperson said.

In the backend, the NSWEC spokesperson said its enrolment system has been designed to generate electoral roll data required by the tablet. A roll lookup application with built-in secure database will also be deployed to each tablet, as well as a tracking and asset management software. 

The full rollout costs, including the purchase of NSWEC's tablets, are expected to total approximately AU$700,000, the spokesperson said.

Acer won the deal with the consortium of the electoral commissions as a result of a competitive open tender.

Acer oceanic region sales director Rod Bassi said aside from providing the hardware, the company will be involved in sanitising, clearing the data, resetting it, and redeploying it for use in the other states.

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