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FAQ

Updated 19 Jun 2014

If you choose to vote by computer, the polling official will mark your name on the roll in the normal way, issue you with a card containing a barcode for your electorate, and direct you to a voting screen containing a computer.

To activate the system, you need to swipe the barcode through a reader, which will then cause the ballot paper for your electorate to be displayed on the computer screen.

You then use four navigation keys to track the cursor across and up and down the columns of candidates on the ballot paper.

Four other keys give you the ability to select your candidates, to undo your selections one at a time, to start all over again, and to finish. Each time a candidate is selected a consecutive number will appear in the box beside the candidate starting at number 1.

When you have selected all the candidates that you wish to vote for, press the "finish" key and a screen will display your selected candidates in order of preference for you to check. If you made a mistake or change your mind, you can press the "undo" key to go back and change your vote.

If you are satisfied with your vote, you will be asked to swipe the barcode again to register your vote. After you have swiped the barcode for the second time you cannot change your vote.

You then place the barcode card in a ballot box on your way out of the polling place.

For more information, go to the electronic voting process page.

 

No. Computer voting will be available in the 5 pre-poll centres located in Belconnen, Civic, Gungahlin, Tuggeranong and Woden for 3 weeks before the election, as well as on election day. Additional centres may be established for the next election, to be determined at a later date.

On election day, computers will be available at a limited number of polling places. Locations will be advised closer to the next election.

 

No. Each electronic voting location will have 20 voting computers. The computers will be locally networked within the polling place with no outside connection.

 

Security concerns and the difficulty of providing electors with unique on-line identifiers are still seen as obstacles that have not yet been overcome. Therefore the Commission continues to hold the view that electronic voting should only be provided in a controlled environment at polling centres. For more information please see the Commissioner's discussion paper entitled Politics of the Future: The Internet and the Electoral Process (pdf - 26 kb).

 

Every electronic polling place is equipped with a voting terminal that can be used by a person seated in the supplied chair or in a wheelchair. Each of these terminals has a 21 inch monitor (compared to the 17 inch monitors used in the other screens). These terminals are also equipped with headphones broadcasting recorded spoken instructions.

If you use the headphones, the system invites you to press any key on the voting keypad to hear a description of what that key does. Each function key is also labelled with a tactile label indicating its purpose.

When the ballot paper appears on screen for the first time, you are informed of the name of the electorate and the instructions printed on the screen. As you move around the ballot paper with the direction keys, the audio broadcasts the group letter, registered party name and candidate name highlighted by the cursor. When you indicate preferences by pressing the "select" key, the system also broadcasts the preference number assigned to each candidate.

When you finish allocating preferences, press the "finish" key to bring up the confirmation screen and the system will read out your preferences in numerical order. You can then choose to return to the ballot paper and correct any errors or keep voting for more candidates, or confirm the vote by swiping the barcode for a second time.

There will be full disabled access at all polling places where computer voting is available.

 

Yes. The instructions are in 12 languages. You can select any of these languages from the welcome screen.

 

Each barcode can only be used to cast a vote once. You can change your vote many times, but it will only be recorded when you swipe the barcode for the second time. The barcode cannot be used again, or used to unlock your vote, to look at how you voted, to change your vote, or identify you in any way.

 

A polling official will assist you to do that

 

No. There is no need to print a copy of any votes. The Electoral Act 1992 does not provide for a "paper trail" of electronic votes cast. This is not required as the software for the voting and counting systems has been rigorously tested, independently audited, and published for anyone to see on the internet. In addition, audit trails and security systems will be in place to verify that the software used in production is identical to the tested and audited software, and to verify that the data actually counted is the data cast by voters in polling places. This approach is intended to ensure that there will be no way in which electronic votes can be tampered with. The system is intended to be more transparent and secure than the existing paper ballot method.

 

Yes. All paper votes are scanned and the preference numbers on each image are read by Intelligent Character Recognition software. Electoral officials check the interpretations and make corrections as required. When complete these votes are added to the computer votes to get the result of the election.

 

The preferences will be distributed by using a specifically designed counting program using the Hare-Clark system. The distribution will be exactly the same as if they were counted by hand. For more information about Hare-Clark please see the Hare-Clark Information Booklet.

 

EVACS was extensively tested by the developers and the ACT Electoral Commission before the Commissioner was satisfied that it was suitable for use at the election. More information on testing.

A reference group, consisting of representatives from parties, MLAs and special interest groups, including ACT Blind Citizens Australia and the Proportional Representation Society, provided feedback during development and testing of the system. More information on consultation.

The Commission contracted an independent software auditing firm to audit the software code of the system to ensure that the software did not contain code that would have the affect of altering the result of the election. For example, checks were undertaken to ensure that no code had been included that would change the votes recorded by electors or would insert or substitute fraudulent votes, or would in any other way alter the election outcome. More information on auditing.

Election officials in electronic polling places account for barcodes in much the same way as they do for paper ballots. They provide records of barcodes issued, which are compared with the number of electronic votes cast.

Data is written to 'write once' compact disks and multiple copies of the data are made, which are transported separately to the counting centre. These multiple copies could be compared with one another to prove that no tampering had taken place.

Following the 2001 election the Commission surveyed a random sample of 95 batches of ballot papers, containing 4,640 ballot papers from the three electorates, and compared the written ballots with those that had been data entered. No data-entry errors were found. More information is in the Electronic voting and counting system review (pdf - 921 kb).

 

CD-ROMs containing voting data are available for purchase. These discs detail the preferences on every formal ballot paper and are available for the 2001, 2004, 2008 and 2012 elections only.

The data is derived from the electronic voting and counting system (EVACS). At the 2001, 2004 and 2008 elections, voters had the choice of casting an electronic vote on a computer in a polling place. After polling day, preferences shown on all formal paper ballots were entered into EVACS by data-entry operators.

The electronic voting data is shown separately from the voting data entered from paper ballots, and separate tables are provided for each electorate. The data is arranged to enable selection of individual preferences, a complete ballot paper, or ballot papers from a particular polling place. (Note that for the 2001 election, electronic votes do not identify the polling place).

Data is presented on the CD-ROMs in two formats: as a Microsoft Access 2000 database and as separate text files (the 2001 disc is also presented as an Access 97 database). Explanatory documents are also included.

The discs do not contain any programs that can be used to analyse this data.

Please contact the ACT Electoral Commission for the purchase price of the discs or for more information.

The data is also available from the Elections ACT website at no cost.

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