This paper explores how internet voting could offer potential improvements in the way elections are managed and delivered in Australia.
The issue of internet voting is one of the more testing ones currently faced by election administrators, not least because of the diversity of views which it generates. Proponents of such a use of the internet see it as a potentially powerful, and perhaps inevitable, way of enabling electors, or certain categories of electors, to vote in a convenient and efficient way. In the long term, it holds out the revolutionary prospect that the classical vision of direct democracy could be realised, with voters being able to make fast collective decisions on a wide range of issues. Opponents of internet voting see it as giving rise to major risks to the integrity of electoral processes. There is a large and rapidly growing literature on the subject.
The aims of this paper are:
- to explore a range of significant issues relevant to community consideration of the appropriate role for internet voting in Australia; and
- to identify some areas where internet voting may have potential value (subject to the satisfactory resolution of outstanding technical issues and a determination that any residual risks can be mitigated or deemed acceptable), and therefore to warrant more detailed consideration.