When Bill Shorten, Opposition Leader in the July 2016 federal election realised that only 80% of the voters had been accounted for he felt a bit of frustration.

Shorten’s frustration comes as a result of an extended waiting period for the results of the race.

Because of this, he expressed his approval of electronic voting, which he said was “long overdue...in this country.”

Furthermore, Shorten went on to say “it shouldn’t be taking eight days to find out who has won… in the 21st century.”

To confirm the idea, Malcolm Turnbull reveals he, for a long time now, has agreed with electronic voting.

The Prime Minister of Australia is more than interested in recommending electronic voting when comparing the enthusiastic technologies used by the NSW Electoral Commission.

Voting Technologies in Federal Elections

The vision impaired tried electronic voting during the federal election held in 2007. The Australian Electoral Commission or the AEC experimented with telephone voting for citizens in specific locations resulting in efficiency during the 2013 federal election.

The AEC also found electronic technologies to be especially effective in the 2016 election. The primary concerns connected with voting electronically include:

  • Transparency, voter security, safety, and integrity

  • Cost

  • The ability to maintain the privacy of the
    voter and the vote

  • The seeing impaired have the opportunity to vote

  • Voters using a stand-alone computer while
    casting their vote

  • Capacity to use mobile devices to vote

The Pros: Arguments for Electronic Voting

The federal government confirmed it would offer electronic voting to the Parliament of Australia and implement the concept to the lower house in 2019.

This is according to Christopher Pyne, Leader of the House of Representatives. He trusts it will minimise the time residents spend in the election box.

The outcome of the election is learned within a reasonable amount of time. The exactness of the process to examine and mark off voters is raised, along with the transparency of the vote.

Essentially, electronic voting is convenient, and it will free up valuable time to handle critical issues. Another plus is the privacy of the voter’s decision is at low risk for exposure. With this said, electronic voting meets the concerns head-on with solutions.

The Cons: Arguments Against Electronic Voting

The application of mobile and internet voting allows voters to revise their personal information at will.

While this is undoubtedly convenient, having remote access has its disadvantages. According to the JSCEM examinations after the 2004 and 2007 polls, the cost and issues with security exceeded the pros of voting electronically.

The iVote replaces physically going out to the polls to vote if a person:

  • Is absent on election day

  • Lives further than 20 km from the nearest
    polling station

  • Is blind or vision impaired   

On election day, approximately 283,669 people chose the iVote to cast their ticket. The process had its share of problems. Nonetheless, it will proceed to follow the paper trail of tallies and the mortal hands who calculated them.

Regretfully, hackers and cybercriminals attempt to invade some of the most secure systems on the web, including electronic voting.

Prime example being the 2016 federal campaign for a presidential candidate in the US in which adversaries were accused of compromising the electoral voting systems.

Hacking an election is evidence of the vulnerabilities of the web, databases, equipment, and infrastructure.Cybercrime has gained the most attention as DefCon, 2017 when the Australian

National Audit Office in January 2018 determined the proposed systems did not meet strict security requirements. It took an 11-year-old only 10 minutes to hack into a mock voting system.

The Australian Signals Directorate advised the AEC that IT security problems couldn’t be solved in enough time for the voting day.

Of course, an audit was ordered shortly after the transport and delivery of the ballot system.

The Joint Standing committee finds the AEC needs to upgrade its IT framework in order to support the heart of the election and voter roll management systems.

Digital Voting and Social Media Platforms

Cybersecurity agrees there are plenty of opportunities for adversaries to hack into the
voting systems.

If they are, to be honest, no security system is ever 100% unbreakable. There are risks associated with the internet, and maybe online voting shouldn’t be allowed.

The possibilities of someone stealing highly classified information and leaking it are too high.

This is something that would undermine the public’s trust in the voting system and add to the problems during an election, especially when it comes to social media.

We have become accustomed to how one official abuses his Twitter account to speak out to the public.

In another example, a hacker could use the social media accounts of officials to manipulate their profiles and influence voters.

However, these are just a couple of ways how a hacker plus social media could tarnish an otherwise effective system and a group of individuals. Sadly, these problems aren’t going to go away.

Image Pixabay CC0 License

Published by Mary Charli