FAQ

Updated 28 Apr 2020

If you choose to vote electronically, the polling official will mark your name on the roll in the usual way and issue you with an e-voting card with a QR code for your electorate on it. You will be directed to a voting screen with a touch screen computer terminal.

First you will need to select the language you wish to use, from a list of twelve including English. Once you have done this, scanning your e-voting card will commence the the voting process. The ballot paper screen for your electorate will be displayed.

You then select the candidates you wish to give preferences to, in order, using the touchscreen. Each time you select a candidate, a consecutive number will appear in the box beside that candidate, starting at the number 1.

If you make a mistake, you can correct it by selecting ‘Undo last choice’ or by tapping again on the most recent selection to remove it. You can also use ‘Clear all choices’ to remove all the preferences you have entered.

Staff are available to help you if you request assistance. You can use ‘Hide my vote’ before asking for help. This hides the ballot paper screen to ensure the privacy of your vote.

When you have finished choosing candidates, select ‘Next’. A new screen displays your completed vote, displaying your selections in the order you have chosen. Use this screen to check that this is the way that you wish to make changes or scan your e-voting card again to finalise your vote. It is important that you scan your e-voting card this second time to finalise your vote.

Lastly, on your way out of the electronic polling place, you place the used e-voting card in the ballot box.

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

No. Electronic voting is only available in the early voting centres during the early voting period from 28 September to 15 October 2020, and in those same locations on election day, 17 October 2020.

Locations of early voting centres will be available here closer to the election period.

No. Each electronic polling place will have up to 23 voting computers. The computers will be locally networked within the polling place with no outside network connection.

Electronic voting is available at early voting centres for three weeks before the election and in those same locations on election day itself. All electronic polling places are assessed for accessibility. Information on the accessibility rating of each is available together with information on how that rating was determined, highlighting the specific issues where accessibility may not be optimal. This information is published on this website.

Every early voting centre is equipped with an electronic voting terminal that can be used by a person seated in the  chair supplied or in a wheelchair. Each terminal has a 23 inch monitor which faces away from the main room for privacy.  The terminal is also equipped with headphones that deliver recorded audio instructions to guide a voter through the ballot paper and a keypad. This allows a voter with vision impairment to vote independently.

The voter is issued with an e-voting card to activate the system. If the voter is using the headphones, the system then invites the voter 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, the voter is informed of the name of the electorate and the instructions printed on the screen. As the voter moves around the ballot paper with the direction keys, the audio reads out the group letter, registered party name and candidate name highlighted by the cursor. When the voter indicates preferences by pressing the SELECT key, the system confirms the preference number assigned to each candidate through the headphones.

When finished allocating preferences, the voter presses the FINISH  key. This brings up the confirmation screen and the system reads out the preferences in numerical order. The voter can then choose either to return to the ballot paper and make alterations or to confirm the vote by scanning their e-voting card for a second time.

Yes. The instructions are in 12 languages including English. For the 2020 ACT election, the instruction screens are available in the following languages:

  • Arabic;
  • Chinese – Simplified (Mandarin);
  • Croatian;
  • Greek;
  • Italian;
  • Korean;
  • Lao;
  • Persian / Farsi;
  • Serbian;
  • Spanish; and
  • Vietnamese

You can select any of these languages from the welcome screen.

The QR code on each e-voting card can only be used to cast a vote once. You can alter your vote at any time during your voting session but scanning the e-voting card for the second time is how you tell the system you have confirmed your vote. Once you have done this the vote will be officially recorded and can no longer be changed. The QR code 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 if this is the case. You can use the 'Hide my vote' button on the touchscreen to keep your vote secret while you are discussing this with the polling official.

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. Polling officials check the interpretations and make corrections to the interpretation 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 fact sheet.

EVACS® is extensively tested by the developers and the ACT Electoral Commission before the Commissioner is satisfied that it is suitable for use at each 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 contracts an independent software auditing firm to audit the software code of the system to ensure that the software does not contain code that could have the effect of altering the result of the election. For example, checks are undertaken to ensure that no code has been included that would change the votes recorded by electors or insert or substitute fraudulent votes, or could in any other way alter the election outcome. More information on auditing.

Polling officials in electronic polling places account for e-voting cards in much the same way as they do for paper ballots. They provide records of e-voting cards issued which are compared with the number of electronic votes cast.

Data is written to encrypted portable memory devices and multiple copies of the data are made, which are transported separately to the counting centre. These multiple copies can be compared with one another to prove that no tampering has taken place.

Following each election, the Commission surveys a random sample of ballot paper batches from each electorate and compares the written ballots with the data included in the data file. No data entry errors have been found. More information is in the Electronic voting and counting system review (pdf - 921 kb).

Yes. Ballot paper preference data is available on our website following every election. These files detail the preferences on every formal ballot paper and are available for the 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 elections. Preference data for the 2020 election will also be made available following the election.

The data is derived from the electronic voting and counting system (EVACS®). At the 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 elections, voters had the choice of casting an electronic vote on a computer in an early voting centre. In 2001 and 2004, after election day, preferences shown on all formal paper ballots were entered into EVACS® by data entry operators. In 2008, 2012 and 2016 the preference data was entered through a ballot paper scanning system. The scanning system will again be used in 2020.

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).

The preference data for each election is available on the webpage dedicated to each ACT election.