Telephone voting

Updated 3 Nov 2020

Telephone voting icon

Telephone voting for the blind and vision impaired or physically disabled

Telephone voting for the blind and vision impaired or physically disabled was introduced at the 2020 ACT Legislative Assembly. Below is the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) made available at the time of the 2020 ACT election.

Eligible ACT electors are able to cast their vote using the telephone voting system if they:

  • have a visual impairment; or
  • a physical disability

which makes it difficult to attend a polling place or to vote by postal vote.

Voting by telephone in the ACT is entirely secret and independent. No electoral officer or other person is required to receive and transcribe your vote onto a ballot paper. The entire voting process is electronic.

Yes. The first step in telephone voting is registering with Elections ACT by calling 1800 875 118. Registration is available from 9am on Monday 28 September and closes at 4pm on Saturday, 17 October 2020. Registration is open during normal business hours (Mon – Fri 9am to 5pm) with extended hours on Friday 16 October (9am to 8pm) and Saturday 17 October (7am to 4pm).

Note, registration is closed on Monday 5 October (Labour Day).

Registration open hours for telephone voting are listed below:

  • Monday 28 September - 9am to 5pm
  • 29 September to 2 October - 9am to 5pm
  • 3 October to 5 October - Not available
  • 6 October to 9 October - 9am to 5pm
  • Saturday 10 October - Not available
  • Sunday 11 October - Not available
  • 12 October to 15 October - 9am to 5pm
  • Friday 16 October - 9am to 8pm
  • Saturday 17 October - 7am to 4pm

Step 1: Call the Elections ACT telephone voting hotline on 1800 875 118.

Step 2: Select 1 to register. Your call will then be transferred to a dedicated member of the Elections ACT team.

Step 3: Provide the officer with your full name and enrolled address. It may also be useful to provide your date of birth. This is to assist in matching your name on the electoral roll.

Step 4: You will then be asked to provide a five-digit PIN to the officer. This number must be something you will remember. For security reasons, Elections ACT cannot re-issue your PIN, remind you of your PIN or issue you with a new PIN. If you forget your PIN, you will need to apply for a postal vote or go to an early voting centre or polling place instead.

Step 5: After providing your PIN, you will be asked for either a mobile number, an email address or both. This is so you can be sent a unique 7-digit voting token number. This number is used together with your 5-digit PIN to provide you with secure access to the telephone voting service.

Step 6: Before finalising your registration process, the electoral officer will ask you to provide your 5-digit PIN and your mobile number and/or email address one more time. This is to ensure that the details have been recorded correctly in our system.

Step 7: The registration process is now complete. You will now receive an SMS or email (or both), providing you with your unique 7-digit voting token number. Hold on to this, you’ll need it, together with your 5-digit PIN to access the telephone voting service.

Yes. It may take up to an hour from the time you receive your 7-digit voting token and when you will be able to use it, together with your 5-digit PIN to access the telephone voting service. This is because the 5-digit PIN you have provided will take up to an hour to register within the telephone voting server. You will be advised of this need to wait by the Elections ACT team member who assists with your registration.

Voting using the telephone voting service, once you have registered, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from Monday 28 September until 6pm Saturday 17 October. Note, you must register first for telephone voting before being able to vote.

To cast your vote over the telephone, follow these steps:

Step 1: Call the Elections ACT telephone voting hotline on 1800 875 118.

Step 2: Select 2 to learn how to cast your vote using the telephone keypad. The audio will describe how each button on the telephone keypad works during the voting process. At the end of the audio message, it will replay the main menu.

Step 3: Select 3 to vote.

Step 4: The system will ask you to enter your 5-digit PIN. This is the PIN you provided to the operator during registration.

Step 5: If your PIN is confirmed, you will be asked to enter your corresponding 7-digit voting token. This is the voting token provided to you via SMS or email.

Step 6: If your PIN and voting token details match and are confirmed, the system will take you to your telephone-based ballot paper and present audio instructions.

Step 7: Navigate the ballot paper and enter your preferences using your telephone keypad. The system’s audio will indicate your position on the ballot paper and will state the preference numbers as you select them. Once you have finished providing your preferences, press # (hash) to move to the next step.

Step 8: After pressing hash, the system will read your choices back to you in the order of your selections. You can return to the ballot paper to make changes by pressing * (star) or if you are satisfied with your choices, you can confirm your vote by re-entering your 5-digit PIN. Entering your PIN at this point is the equivalent of depositing a paper ballot into the ballot box. The voting process is now complete.

You must remember the PIN that you provide at the point of registration, to be able to use telephone voting. For security reasons, the telephone voting system does not keep a record of your PIN.  Elections ACT cannot re-issue your PIN, remind you of your PIN or issue you with a new PIN. If you forget your PIN, you will need to apply for a postal vote or go to an early voting centre or polling place instead.

You will not be able to change your vote or cast a new vote once you have successfully completed the voting process. Once this has occurred, your PIN and voting token will be marked as having been used in the system. Your PIN and voting token will not be able to be used again to vote.

Immediately after the voting token has been issued, your PIN is deleted from the system to maintain security. Your PIN cannot be reissued or created again.

The telephone voting system incorporates controls and processes designed to protect the vote, secrecy and the integrity of the voting process in the following manners:

  • Physical security: The two servers used by the system are located in secure facilities while the system itself is protected by a certified firewall, with a series of access controls required to access the administration system front-end.
  • Authentication of voters: The telephone voting system requires the completion of a registration process, where you will be matched against the electoral roll, asked to provide a personal identifier credential (a 5-digit PIN) and issued with an access credential (a 7-digit Voting Token). The system will authenticate you as a registered telephone voter against these credentials and collect your voting preferences using the keys on your phone. The registration system deletes your PIN after it is exported to be uploaded to the telephone voting system. There is therefore no connection between a voter and their vote.
  • Threats of cyber-attack: The system is not connected to the internet. Vote data is collected via telephone and stored in a controlled and isolated environment. Communications between different components of the telephone voting system are encrypted through use of HTTPS (via TLS1.2).
  • Cast-as-intended: Once you have entered your voting preferences, your vote selections are played back to you, allowing you to check and confirm that your encrypted preference information was received by the voting server correctly.
  • Vote secrecy: The use of voting credentials as a voter verification method provides authentication of voters without ongoing reliance on access to the electoral roll. Additionally, the use of a Session Token to anonymously link the voter’s voting session and the vote preferences (through an encrypted web service) removes any link between the voter and their lodged vote.

When you first call the telephone voting number, you will be able to use your telephone keypad to do the following-

Press 1 - To register to use telephone voting.

Press 2 - To hear how each button on your telephone keypad works

Press 3 - To cast your vote using telephone voting.

If you Press 2 in the main menu, the system will play audio describing the voting function of each key on your telephone keypad-

  • Press zero at any time to listen to what each key does
  • Press one to clear all preferences and start again
  • Press two to move up between candidates within a party or group
  • Press three to start voting
  • Press four to move to the previous party or group
  • Press five to make a candidate selection
  • Press six to move to the next party or group
  • Press eight to move down between candidates within a party or group
  • Press star (*) to UNDO your most recent candidate selection
  • Press hash (#) to FINISH and move to the next voting step

No. All early voting centres have a special electronic voting terminal for electors who are blind or visually impaired. The system works in much the same way as telephone voting without the need to register or provide a PIN. In an early voting centre you would have your name marked off the electoral roll and be provided with an e-voting card that, once scanned by a barcode reader, provides your secure access to the system. Then, placing on headphones, you will use audio and a telephone style keypad to navigate across the ballot paper, making your voting choices. When you are satisfied with your selections, scanning the e-voting card a second time lodges your vote.