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The electronic voting process

Updated 19 Jun 2014

When you arrive at a polling place with electronic voting, you will be marked off the electoral roll by an official just as always - EVACS makes no attempt to automate the handling of the electoral roll.

You can then choose either to vote on paper or to vote electronically. If you choose paper you will be given a ballot paper and proceed as in the past.

If you choose to vote electronically, instead of a ballot paper you will be given a unique barcode. The barcode is taken from a randomly sorted set of barcodes for your enrolled electorate (conceptually from a bucket), so it does not identify you. It does however identify your electorate and the polling place, and also contains a digital signature to prevent forgery.

 

Photo overview of electronic voting booth You then move to an electronic voting booth. This resembles a normal cardboard voting booth but has a computer screen mounted in it (facing up so that it cannot be seen from outside the booth) and also a keypad and a barcode reader.

Photo of keypad The keypad only has a few active keys, which are marked: (up), (down), (next group), (previous group), SELECT, UNDO, FINISH and START AGAIN.

Electronic voting poster Each voting screen has a poster with step-by-step instructions.

Screenshot - welcome screen When you first arrive at the voting screen, the welcome screen should be displayed.

Step 1 from instruction poster Choose your language from the on-screen list using the (up) and (down) keys.

Step 2 from instruction poster After selecting your language, swipe the barcode to start voting. Once this happens, the computer confirms that the barcode is valid and informs the ballot box server using an HTTP-based protocol that it is starting a vote.

Photo of barcode and reader

Screenshot - ballot paper The ballot box server replies with the Robson rotated version of the ballot paper showing the candidates for your electorate much as they appear on a ballot paper.

Step 3 from instruction posterYou navigate around this screen using the (next group) and (previous group) keys to move between parties/groups (columns on a ballot paper) and (up) and (down) keys to move between candidates in a group.

Step 4 from instruction poster

When you have highlighted the candidate of your first choice, press SELECT to put a "1" next to that candidate. Move to your second preferred candidate, press SELECT again to put a "2" next to that candidate and so forth.

If you make a mistake, press UNDO to remove the last preference currently displayed.

Screenshot - Are you sure you want to start again?If you wish to clear all of your selections and start again, press START AGAIN and you can start choosing preferences from "1"again. A confirmation screen will be displayed before your vote is cleared.

Step 5 from instruction poster

Step 6 from instruction posterOnce you have marked all the candidates you wish to vote for, press FINISH to complete your vote.

Screenshot - check your votePressing FINISH will display a confirmation screen listing all of your selected candidates in order of preference.

Step 7 from instruction posterYou can press UNDO to go back and change your preferences.

Screenshot - informal vote If you have not selected any candidates, a warning is displayed indicating that the vote will be informal if confirmed. You can press UNDO to go back and select one or more candidates, or to register the informal vote you can swipe the barcode again.

Step 8 from instruction posterTo confirm your vote, swipe the barcode again. The system will check that the barcode is the same as the one that was used to start the voting process.

Screenshot - confirmation of vote If the barcode matches the one used to commence the vote, a confirmation screen will appear.

When the barcode is swiped for the second time, the vote is transmitted from the voter's machine to the ballot box server along with the barcode and a complete log of the keystrokes pressed during the voting session. The ballot box machine will check that the barcode is valid, and also double check that the keystrokes recorded should give rise to the vote indicated - if anything does not check out an error is returned and the booth will display a screen asking you to seek an official for assistance. The rechecking of the keystrokes means that the booth and ballot box validate each other for software bugs and memory errors. If everything is OK, the ballot box will store the vote and barcode in separate database tables on two hard disks. Once the vote is committed like this, the system notes that the barcode is used and cannot be used again to cast a vote.

Place your barcode in the ballot box on your way out of the polling place.

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