Australian Institute of Criminology

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Electronic voting: benefits and risks

Media Release

13 May 2002

A paper released today by the Australian Institute of Criminology examines the effectiveness of electronic voting procedures against eight essential requirements that any electoral process must satisfy in order for elections to be conducted both freely and fairly.

"While I am aware that the Commonwealth Government has no plans to introduce electronic voting, any new area of potential fraud is high on the Australian Institute of Criminology's research agenda", said Dr Adam Graycar, AIC Director.

The report found that electronic voting systems - if introduced using appropriate technologies - could reduce the risks of voting fraud that arise under existing systems.

It also found electronic voting could:

  • Offer increased global accessibility
  • Enhance the efficiency of voting procedures
  • Provide a high level of accuracy in vote counting, and vote security with the use of encryption techniques

It also requires the need to verify communications.

Experts in electoral fraud need to work in close conjunction with the designers of electronic voting systems to ensure that past problems to not arise in electronic format, and that any new risks are identified and minimised.

Electronic voting using public key encryption technologies would provide a secure system as long as adequate procedures were in place to ensure that cryptographic key pairs were issued only to individuals who establish their identity to an appropriately secure degree.