New Age for Australian Voting - Digital Coming?



Firstly - Hooray Australia for Voting Yes! My niece “came out” before the vote began, asking her family and friends old enough to vote to ensure they were correctly registered, because she would like to be able to marry one day (she’s 17). I’ve no doubt now that the pollies will have to pass this into legislation (and here’s hoping it’s good legislation).

What I thought was interesting was the fact that, presumably because the ABS was involved with the poll, they were able to whack a whole lot of stats behind the votes. Very interesting information… and I imagine worth a million to political parties - particularly if it was for an actual election.

Somehow I just couldn’t help but think that seeing all that data would be making the politicians drool… and as such - wonder how long before they find a way to fully digitise the voting process, and allow them access to similar stats on “their voting public”…




I think the biggest problem for digital voting is people will complain it’s rigged. Even though in the past the AEC have “lost” trucks with votes etc.

Added onto that we all need election snags.


One of the basic principles of our voting system, like all good democracies, is that you get to do it anonymously. The AEC, or state equivalent, knows you were there and that you took the ballot papers, but that’s all. Which is how it should be. Anything else would be nightmarishly dystopian. It’s kind of important to be able to express your political views in that fashion without fear of someone who can persecute you finding out your preferences. I know the Seppos have voting machines, but they’re not widespread and seem to be plagued with issues.

The ballot paper is an excellent way to record a vote. It’s unhackable and untraceable and they can always be counted again if need be. I’ve scrutineered in a few elections. It’s an amazing process to be part of and it has really helped me gain respect for (some) of the political processes we have.

Or maybe that electronic voting actually is easily rigged and difficult to prove otherwise because, the ones I’ve read about - the various US ones - seem to be very poorly designed. I’m very glad we don’t have their system.

The AEC doesn’t lose votes very often and at least you know about it when they do because there are so many checks and balances. It’s a brilliantly transparent process because there are so many eyes on the ballot papers at the point of counting. Because the numbers are known straight away and recounts are easy to instigate, it’s not really possible to “disappear” votes. We’re very lucky here. For all the crappy things about our political system, there is much that is great about it too.


If I recall at the last election I voted in (err… last year?), they had moved to an electronic roll-call - no longer the great big spool of paper - the person just had a laptop or tablet…

To be clear, I love that in Australia you can be pretty confident that your vote “counts”, is legal, anonymous.

But seeing all the graphs etc that the ABC have been spewing out based on ABS data about how the nation voted… Couldn’t help but wonder how long it would be…


NSW, WA, Victoria and QLD have all attempted electronic voting in state elections as has the AEC federally. They do it for people who are blind/vision impaired because it supposedly makes the system accessible. The VEC’s system in 2014 was this convavulted android tablet with three different interfaces and a bizarre verification system. The concept was good in that you could vote independalty and you could verify that the vote had been captured. But the process/execution was complex and the voting centre staff really struggled with it.

So in essence yes the tech is there but there’s always security and verification issues with stuff like this. And we have a history of poor implementations of great ideas here unfortunately.


In the matter of voting, I really would prefer to maintain the current methods. I used to think that electronic votes would be good until the year that Bush won the US election… now I think it is too easy to rig. I have a friend in Ohio who said at the time there were people where he lives (Springfield) who were saying they actually saw their vote change after they hit the accept button (or whatever it was called, I cant remember)… His didnt, but… I dunno, I reckon paper votes are the way to continue.


No electronic Roll here… still a big book and your name ruled off as you collect your voting papers.


Sara Henderson was hanging around like a bad smell, so was federal…


I admire her braveness. I came out to my friends but haven’t yet to my family. The survey has been a very tough time for many of us, luckily there was a positive result.

I think its still a couple of years off… I foresee a disaster haha


How about they get the Census right first.


With regard to the matter… Some people think its as simple as running an online straw poll. We all know how easily some of these News Poll, Galaxy, Fairfax/Ipsos things are rigged online. We know what happens with data that is online (Russian interference with US elections, icloud hacks, google hacks, etc). The Department of Defence has even been breached in Australia, as has the Census.

Having this data online is just not reliable. A piece of paper that goes into a locked box, at a polling booth and then is treated with the utmost security during the vote counting process. That is air tight security.

Regarding this, my electorate seems to keep the big book of names as a backup anyhow.


According to the member for Parramatta some of her constituents claim they don’t know any gay people when clearly they do. A suspicion is that the Yes response was helped by people responding in favour of friends and family members. And why not?

Better informed western Sydney respondents would probably have resulted in an even stronger Yes majority.


I think you should still show up to a polling place. There’s too much scope for distrust in the system if it was online voting from any internet connected device. To make counting faster and easier, particularly with our convoluted senate preference voting thing, electronic voting through some sort of closed system could work. They tick you off a list on an unconnected system and then you use a booth to vote in, so they can’t trace your vote back to you. Ideally it would print something out to put in the box as well so in case anyone claimed it was rigged there was a physical copy to recount. However they tried that sort of system in Florida, remember hanging chads?

As for the survey, what a ridiculous waste of time. I support the result, but as a democratic process it was absolutely appalling. I suspect that very few people changed their mind from the start of the campaign to the survey submission deadline on this issue, but the whole point of a campaign is that it should be able to change peoples minds and secure their vote, which it can’t do with a long voting period during the campaign. I know it would have meant waiting but I think the best scenario would have been to have had a plebiscite question asked at the next general election. Anyway, I suppose we got there in the end, well assuming they act on the result.


In my opinion, the only issue with this was that it was a plebiscite, when it should have been a referendum. Remove the shadow of doubt that has been over the whole procedure. Mind you, most people seem to think that this was a referendum.


The original plan put up by the L&P Softdrink company was for a short campaign followed by a poll by referendum. The Greens blocked that in the senate, and rightfully so. Johnny Howard, made the old principle of yes by decree of common consensus into a law, and that law should have equally been able to be undone by the parliament.

Now we have a consensus majority who support gay marriage, and Malcolm Turncoat has run away from it and called off parliaments sitting time until later in December meaning that the law probably won’t even be passed this year.

The democracy in this country is a farce. It should never have been a referendum in the first place. It’s like voting on whether Orestes should be allowed to ever stand foot in a Woolworths or Coles supermarket again. Really now, having a say in someone’s public and private life (provided it is above the law) is nobodies business but the two consenting adults who find themselves engaged in the relationship.


I agree, it was a waste of time, effort and money and was harmful to many members of the LGBT community.

Well yes it’s clear to everyone (except possibly Malcolm Turnbull) that you should never ever be allowed to darken Woolies doorway with your presence (nobody really cares about Coles though) :wink:


Wasn’t even a plebiscite - was just a vote, and it couldn’t have been a referendum as it isn’t a a constitutional issue. Should have been a free vote in parliament. The government already knew there was majority support for SSM.

Agreed. I am Gay, and it is something I’ve struggled with massively. I never asked to be this way and frankly I spent about 5 years trying everything I could do to change, but I couldn’t. Why should I be denied Marriage for the way I am.

This times 100.


What I’m most sorry about in all of this is the fact that gay people have had to justify to the rest of Australia is valid. To me a relationship is a relation is a relationship provided that it is between two consenting adult humans and not your dog, cat, fence post, third wheel in a relationship (nothing really against polyamory which by itself is not illegal but its not marriage). Children are also exempt for that matter except in very lengthy extenuating circumstances.

Your life is no business of mine and I’m sorry I had to vote to support it. I hope in time we can all move on and forget about these things just like indigenous and women’s suffrage in Australia. It would be the most fitting result. Having had an aunt who lived as a gay woman for 20 years in a heterosexual marriage because society told her to, I can’t think of anything more fitting.


Digital voting is cool so long as I remain as anonymous as I do with paper ballots. Digital data leaks, and worse, can fall into the wrong hands.

Regarding the topic of the vote you mentioned, meh. It was a waste of my time. The result is what it is, I’m not really going to lose sleep over it. I have bigger and more important things to be upset about.