Tuesday, 19 July 2016 10:54

NSW e-vote provider says system can handle national poll


Secure Logic, a company in Sydney that has been involved in organising the iVote system used in NSW elections since 2011, says the process of extending electronic voting to the federal level would not be overly problematic and would result in a great deal of savings, apart from providing as much, if not better, security as the current system does.

Santosh Devaraj, managing partner and founder of the company, (seen below) told iTWire that the system, initially used by the disabled, those who lived at least 20km away and those overseas, was being extended year by year and would now be available to everyone who voted.

His statements come in the wake of the 2 July Australian federal election in which it took about 10 days for a winner to emerge; results from the Senate, or upper house, are likely to be known in their entirety only sometime in August. There have been calls for e-voting to be implemented and counter arguments as well.

iVote is a system that allows voting from any device. The software used is called Scytl and is sourced from a Barcelona-based e-voting company. It was chosen by the NSW electoral commission; the infrastructure, or voting-as-a-service, is done by Secure Logic, Devaraj said.

The system was introduced for the NSW state election in 2011 and used for subsequent state by-elections. It needed legislative changes and the drafting of a raft of procedures.

After the first year, the Electoral Commissioner engaged an independent auditor to conduct both pre- and post-implementation audits of the information technology used.

Santosh Devaraj.

Following the 2011 election, an evaluation report was done by the Allen Consulting Group.

The system is open for 10 days before the election and, given that voting is possible from one's location, there was no need for postal or absentee votes, Devaraj said.

He had no doubts about the scalability of the system and said to make the system capable of catering to a federal election, it would take from three to six months to organise.

From the infrastructure side alone, he said it was possible to achieve savings of 10 to 12 times. He clarified that this would be taking into account only this aspect of the organisation; there were numerous other cost factors such as software, service providers and so on.

Devaraj was bold enough to predict that 80% savings could be achieved on the infrastructure expenditure for an e-poll, as compared to the current system.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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