Reviews of ACT Electronic Voting and Counting System and Electoral Act 1992 Released

Published 23 Aug 2005

Two reviews of aspects of the 2004 ACT Legislative election held on 16 October 2004, produced by the ACT Electoral Commission, were tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly today.

A review of the electronic voting and counting system and a review of the Electoral Act 1992 in relation to the conduct of the 2004 election provide insights into the successes of the election and recommendations for improvement.

The review into the Electoral Act found that, despite the federal election being held the weekend before the ACT election, voter turnout for the 2004 ACT election was the highest ever, and the informal vote was the lowest ever. Voter turnout in 2004 was 92.8%, compared to 90.9% in 2001. The informal vote rate was only 2.7%, compared to 4.0% in 2001.

"Among other things this review looks at the issues of the 100 metre ban on canvassing around polling places and the authorisation requirements for electoral material," ACT Electoral Commissioner, Mr Phil Green said today.

The review recommends that the 100 metre ban on canvassing outside polling places be replaced with the same 6 metre ban that applies at Commonwealth elections, and that the Electoral Act be amended to simplify the way in which electoral messages are authorised.

The electronic voting and counting review concludes that the electronic voting system was successfully used again in an improved form at the 2004 election. Positive outcomes included a significant increase in the number of electronic votes taken at the election. The system once again allowed blind and sight impaired electors to cast a secret ballot.

"A total 28,169 electronic votes were recorded using the system. This represents a 70% increase on the 16,559 votes cast using the system at the 2001 election," Mr Green said.

The review recommends that the system be used again in 2008 in pre-poll centres around Canberra. It also recommends that the Commission investigate alternatives to the use of standard PCs for the delivery of the system, such as custom-built electronic voting terminals using touch screens, as well as the feasibility of electronically scanning paper ballots.

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

Phil Green
Electoral Commissioner