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Electronic voting may be risky, but what about vote counting?

As Australians await the federal election result amid a protracted count by the Electoral Commission, Robert Merkel writes in The Conversation (7.7.16) about the advantages, and potential pitfalls, of introducing online voting systems for elections in Australia.

‘Several advantages of online voting were identified in a recent post by Conversation columnist and software researcher David Glance who backed the introduction of such a scheme in Australia.

‘He is correct that an online voting system would be faster, more convenient and have fewer accidental informal votes. It would also reduce the donkey vote problem (though the “donkey vote” bias can also be dealt with by the use of Robson rotation on printed ballots).

‘But in my view he dismisses the very real risks not only of actual election tampering, but something equally important – the confidence that Australian elections aren’t being tampered with.

‘A vote-counting system not only needs to be secure against threats to its integrity, it needs to be seen to be secure against such threats.

‘The right technologies, deployed in the right way, can assist with speeding up vote counts without putting the integrity of our voting system at risk. The place for that technology is not as a replacement for the paper ballot.’

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