Overseas e-voting

Updated 17 Oct 2020

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Overseas e-voting

Overseas e-voting system is now closed.

The overseas e-voting service is a limited electronic voting platform that provides voting services over the internet for eligible ACT electors who are overseas during the voting period for an ACT Legislative Assembly election.

To be eligible to vote using the overseas e-voting system, ACT electors must be in an overseas location at the time of voting.

The overseas e-voting system will be operational only during the voting period for the 2020 ACT election.

The application period for the system commences at 9am (AEST) 28 September and concludes at 4pm (AEDT) 17 October 2020.

Voting commences at 9am (AEST) 28 September and concludes at 6pm (AEDT) 17 October 2020.

This means that you must have commenced the application process, confirmed your identity through the ACT digital account and have been provided access, via the system, to your ballot paper by 4pm (AEDT) 17 October 2020. You then have until 6pm (AEDT) 17 October 2020 to lodge your vote.

An overseas e-vote is considered a declaration vote.

A declaration vote is a vote where the elector must declare that they are eligible to vote in the election and that they are who they say they are. A traditional postal vote is also a declaration vote.

After the polls close for the election, Elections ACT will perform a ‘preliminary scrutiny’ on all declaration votes, reviewing the eligibility of the elector to vote in the election and ensuring that they have not voted by any other means. The overseas e-voting system does this by exporting the elector’s details (separating them from the actual vote – just like a traditional declaration vote), making a determination on eligibility and then re-importing them back into the system, to connect the eligibility determination with the vote.

All ‘admitted’ votes are then exported (separated again from any connection to the elector), decrypted and imported into the electronic counting system with all other votes from the election.

Your vote is secret. Elections ACT cannot match the elector’s details with their vote.

Yes. To use the overseas e-voting system you first need to verify your identity through an ACT Digital Account.
To verify your identity, you will either need to log in to your already established ACT Digital Account and achieve level 2 verification or you need to establish a new ACT Digital Account.

You will need:

  • A mobile phone number, both Australian and international numbers are accepted.
  • An email address

To complete the identity verification process to the required level to use the Overseas e-voting system, you will need:

One primary document:

  • Australian birth certificate
  • Australian citizenship certificate
  • Record of Australian Immigration Status (ImmiCard)
  • Australian Visa
  • Australian Drivers Licence
  • Australian Change of Name Certificate
  • Australian Marriage Certificate

One secondary document:

  • Australian Passport
  • Australian Drivers Licence (if not used in Primary identification) Current Australian Medicare card

The ACT Digital Account is an authentication and identification service that enables the use of various ACT based digital services through an online platform.

The number of ACT based services leveraging this platform is continuously growing and now includes the ACT Electoral Commission’s overseas e-voting service.

The identity document details you provide will be verified with the Australian Government Document Verification Service (DVS).

For more information, please see the ACT Digital Account support page: www.myaccount.act.gov.au/s/support

First you need to verify your identity using the ACT Digital Account service (see above).

Once you have had your identity verified the system will try to match your name and address details with the ACT electoral roll. If the system cannot match the details you have provided as part of your identity verification process, you will be asked to provide your current enrolled address. The system will provide you with three attempts to enter your correct current enrolled address. The system does, however, provide a link to the Australian Electoral Commission’s enrolment checking system where you can try to establish your exact enrolled address before trying in the overseas voting system.

If you correctly entered your enrolled address, the system will establish your enrolled electorate and provide you with your online ballot paper.

After three unsuccessful attempts to enter your enrolled address, the system will still allow you to vote. You will need to select the suburb for which you believe you are correctly enrolled and you will be provided with access to the online ballot paper for the corresponding electorate. Elections ACT will attempt to manually match you with your enrolment record after the polls for the election have closed.

Once you have been provided with your online ballot paper, you can scroll across the ballot paper to select the candidates you wish to vote for. You must type in the preference numbers against the electors you wish to choose, starting with the number 1, then 2, 3, 4, 5 and so on. They system does not allow you to use the same number twice, skip a number or use any symbol other than numbers.

Once you are satisfied with your choices the next screen will list your voting selections in the order in which you chose them. If you wish to make changes, you can return to the ballot paper and start again. If you are satisfied with the order of your voting selections, you can officially submit your vote.

Yes. Once you have been provided with access to your online ballot paper, as long as you do not officially submit your vote, you can exit the system and return later to complete your vote. Remember though, voting closes at 6pm (AEDT) on 17 October 2020!

You can verify your identity and complete your vote in one sitting. Please note though, that for security reasons there is a session timeout of 45 mins. If you have been within the system for longer than 45 minutes your session will timeout and any vote preferences that you may have assigned to candidates will be lost. You will need to start your session again and re-commence the voting process.

The overseas e-voting system has been designed with security, integrity and confidentiality at its core.

The overseas e-voting system implements various security provisions to ensure that your vote is kept secret and secure. Personal information is separated from vote preferences throughout the process and system architecture has been designed to minimise any security risks. The system also uses Australian government document verification service to verify the identity of all applicants prior to being provided with access to a ballot paper.

The critical system components that make up the overseas e-voting system maintain complete segregation within the cloud hosting environment, utilising TLS encryption for all data transmitted in transit and at rest.

All votes are digitally signed to ensure that the vote has not been altered at any stage. Each vote is separately encrypted using a public certificate of an asymmetric encryption algorithm, which can only be decrypted with a private key that is not stored within the system itself.

The Electoral Commission consulted with the Australian Cyber Security Centre throughout the development and implementation of the system as well as having the code independently audited and certified to ensure that it does not include code that could change the votes recorded by electors, maliciously or otherwise, or would insert or substitute fraudulent votes or would in any other way alter the election outcome.

The overseas e-voting system doesn’t allow you to make a formality error on your ballot paper.

You cannot use the same number twice, skip a number or use any symbol other than numbers. If you do, once you click ‘next’ to continue, the system will display a validity error describing the error that has been made, allowing you to correct the error before continuing.

Assuming that the documents you provide as part of the identity verification process are able to assist in confirming your identity, the verification process is immediate. Establishing your identity and casting your vote can be performed in a single session and should take between 5 and 10 minutes to complete the entire process.

No. If you do not wish to use the overseas e-voting system while overseas, you can request a postal vote instead. However, due to the time required for the postal vote to be sent to an international location, completed on or before 17 October 2020 and returned to Elections ACT by the cut-off date for the return of postal votes, Friday 23 October 2020, a postal vote is not the recommended voting service for electors overseas.

If ballot papers are to be posted overseas your application must be received by Elections ACT no later than 5 pm Canberra time on Friday 9 October 2020. Elections ACT cannot guarantee that you will receive your postal ballot papers as there are significant delays with international postal services due to the impact of COVID-19.

For electors in the ACT at any point during the voting period 28 September to 17 October 2020, Elections ACT recommends visiting a voting centre to cast their vote.

Public computers, such as those available at hotels, libraries or internet cafes, can be useful when you need quick and reliable access to the internet. However, the security of public computers is problematic, due the unknown nature of what software is installed and who has previously used the machine. The biggest threats from using a public computer to conduct e-voting are:

  • Key logger software: This a piece of software that is sometimes installed by malicious actors who are attempting to gather sensitive information or credentials, including the information that you enter into the Overseas E-Voting web application.
  • Network traffic monitoring and interception: It is common for public computers to include monitoring software on the network to prevent users from accessing malicious websites. However, if configured incorrectly, it is possible that the network traffic could be stored or manipulated.
  • Security options not set: Most modern browsers have security settings that allow for browsers to be shared within a small group of individuals, by not allowing the machine to hold onto sensitive information and internet history. These settings must be enabled and enforced by the administrator of the computer. When these setting are not enabled it allows future users to see what website you have accessed and even some of the information you have submitted.

If you are not sure about the security level of the public computer you are using, we recommend you find a more secure place to access the overseas e-voting web application.

Similar threats exist when using Public WiFi, however the use of a secure, known device can help minimise these threats.

To use the overseas e-voting system, your device must support the following web browser versions:

  • Chrome 72 or newer
  • Safari 13.1 or newer
  • Edge 44 or newer
  • Firefox 60 or newer
  • On Android 7.1.2 or newer: Google Chrome
  • On iOS 11.4.1 or newer: Safari

The overseas e-voting system will work on a smart phone or small tablet screen. However, due to the size and layout of an ACT Hare-Clark ballot paper, a small device screen is not optimal for this service and some display issues may be evident.

A PC or large tablet screen is recommended.

Yes. If you require assistance, please contact the ACT Electoral Commission by:

E-mail: mailto:elections@act.gov.au


From within Australia: (02) 6205 0033

From outside Australia: +61 2 6205 0033

If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment contact Elections ACT through the National Relay Service (NRS) and ask for 02 6205 0033.

For more information, visit www.relayservice.gov.au.