Report of ACT Electronic Voting and Counting System Released

Published 28 Jun 2002

A report on the trial of computer voting and counting at the 2001 ACT election, produced by the ACT Electoral Commission, was tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly yesterday.

The report concludes that the trial of computer voting and counting was a success. Positive outcomes included a very accurate election count, a reduction in the number of informal votes and the opportunity to cast a secret ballot for blind and sight impaired electors.

"A total of 16,559 votes were cast electronically. The electronic voting system proved reliable and secure. Combined with computerised counting, it delivered an election count that was close to 100% accurate," ACT Electoral Commissioner, Mr Phil Green said today.

Data-entry and electronic counting of all paper ballots effectively eliminated errors such as incorrectly sorting or counting ballots using the Hare-Clark system. The Electoral Commission estimates that the chance of any errors remaining undetected after paper ballots were data-entered was less than 1 in 71,800.

As a result of the success of the trial the report recommends the continued use of electronic counting and voting at future ACT elections. "The challenge for future elections will be to deliver computer voting to more ACT electors without substantially increasing the cost of elections," Mr Green said.

The report gives several options for delivering computer voting to more voters. One option would be to increase the number of polling places at which computer voting was available. However it would beimpractical and prohibitively expensive to provide electronic voting at all 81 ACT polling places, so many voters would still use paper ballots under this option.

As a way of providing electronic voting facilities to all electors, another option would be to move away from the traditional "polling day" and replace it with a 3 week "polling period". Under this option, electronic voting facilities could be provided to all voters over 3 weeks at 12 locations near where people shop and work.

Copies of the report are available from the ACT Electoral Commission (phone 6205 0033) or can be downloaded from the Commission's website at

Phillip Green
Electoral Commissioner