ACT to introduce limited online voting next year

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ACT to introduce limited online voting next year

As part of core system refresh.

The ACT Electoral Commission is planning to introduce limited online voting in time for next year’s territory election to allow Canberrans to cast their ballot if travelling overseas.

The electronic voting system, which could bear resemblance to NSW’s iVote system, will be developed as part of a refresh of the commission’s election management system.

The refresh of the commission's existing custom-made TIGER system was handed $1.5 million in this month’s territory budget, with separate funding for electronic voting also set aside.

The core system has been in place since 1995 and is used to support all administrative tasks associated an ACT election every four years.

TIGER, which contains the the electoral role information on around 300,000 ACT electors in a Microsoft Access 365 format, is also used to “support referendums, interstate elections and small external fee-for-service elections”.

But with the system nearing its 25th year of service, the commission has now put the call out for a contractor to modernise TIGER.

“TIGER as a system has been developed and re-developed and upgraded in-house since its inception in 1995,” tender documents state.

The project will involve “migrating the data away from a Microsoft Access platform to a system based upon an SQL back-end and a modern web-based front-end”.

It follows a review of the structure and functionality of TIGER last year, which informed the decision to “modernise the front and back-ends of TIGER, moving away completely from MS Access”.

Elections ACT said “modernising the technology platform will provide greater flexibility, scalability, ongoing support and security”.

It requires a number of databases or components migrated to a consolidated SQL database by April 2020 to conduct the election.

The overseas eVoting solution, which will initially be used to allow Canberrans to “cast a valid and secure vote” online while overseas, will be developed as a new system by June 2020.

It will have “links to the EMS [election management system] for the provision and receipt of ballot papers to electors who are overseas”.

Until now, electronic voting in ACT elections has been done at poling locations and transmitted over a secure local area network instead of the internet.

The ACT election will be held on 17 October 2020.

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