Census disaster: Can we trust future ‘Online voting’

ALANNAH KERR

Online Voting

The government is taking everything online, including voting. Source: Pixabay.

The future of online voting for Australians is on unstable ground after the 2016 online Census revealed huge faults in the electronic system.

The Australian government claims Australian voters will benefit from online voting, as opposed to using the pencil and paper system.

By casting their vote online, Australian’s wouldn’t have to line up in a cue or worry about being away at the time of voting, nor potentially waiting for weeks to be told the results.

However, the frightening side to online voting is its large margin for error; the 2016 census scenario is a perfect example.

Dr Paul Williams, a senior lecturer at Griffith University and Courier-Mail political columnist, says “more sophisticated isn’t necessarily better”.

“Australia’s voting is as advanced as it needs to be… Australia’s electoral systems are among the best in the world, we have very low levels of electoral corruption, we have very few electoral hiccups; although losing the ballot papers in Western Australia was a big one, ours run smoothly and we usually know the result on the night,” Dr Williams said.

Sydney_Airport_pre-poll_voting_station

Source: Sydney Airport pre-poll voting station form Wikimedia Commons

Dr Williams stated in his Dow Jones article, “For online oracles fearful of the humble HB pencil, I remind them that a state or federal election—which will shape our lives for the next three or four years—is not a reality show. We’re deciding how our taxes are spent, not who next leaves the Big Brother house. Politics is not a Pokemon game.”

With Hillary Clinton’s emails being hacked, and the 2016 online census form blowing up with concerns on privacy issues, voting online is concerning.

Dr Williams explained the biggest liability for online voting is, “The community has dual chief concerns; first one is privacy, and the second one is the integrity of the vote count, and that it’s fearful that hacking could take both away from their preferred candidate and add both to unpopular candidates.”

17-year-old high school student, Lachlan Wood, says, he would prefer to vote online.

“As a young person, I believe that voting is inevitably going to be all online in a few years time. So it’s better now to allow people to easily vote through some sort of device, rather then take hours waiting in lines to vote,” Mr Wood said.

“I do believe the growing population would prefer online voting over pen and paper, simply because its easier despite the ‘hacking’ attacks over the census, which looks to have set back the online voting plan.”

As the modern world of technology takes, online voting will be the future for Australians. The real question is, can we guarantee its security?

Councillor for Tennyson, Nicole Johnston believes voting is a vital part of democracy and needs to be as reliable and secure as possible.

“Technology can be useful in improving efficiency. It’s only recently the Electoral Commission moved to an electronic roll rather than a big book of voters. However, as the recent census shows, if technology fails, the integrity of Australia’s electoral process could be undermined,” Ms Johnston said.

For more information, head to iVote NSW to understand more about online voting.

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Debra Kerr says:

    Good informative story!!

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