Saturday, 17 August 2013

Australian Electoral Commission to deny open transaparent scrutiny of the Australian Senate election computer count

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has indicated that it will deny scrutineers the right to properly scrutinise the conduct or the Senate election by not providing copies of the below-the-line preference data-files.

Information of preferences stored on the AEC's computer database is used to electronically count the results of the election.

Providing copies of the preference data-file as the data-entry progresses is the only way to ensure that the results of the data match the information transcribed from the ballot papers.

Whilst scrutineers are allowed to observe the data-entry process they are denied a means of ensuring the integrity of the data stored on the computer.

By way of analogy: You monitor the scanning of goods bought at a supermarket but the supermarket refused to provide a copy of receipt docket that allows you to verify your purchases
There is no justification or reason for the Australian Electoral Commission to deny access to this information. This information is readily available. Copies of the preference data-files should be provided so that scrutineers can  monitor the progress of the count and the integrity of the election results. Without access to copies of the data-files, progressively as the vote is being recorded, it is impossible for scrutineers to monitor or independently verify the overall results of the election..

The refusal of the Australian Electoral Commission in 2010 to provide scrutineers copies of the Senate Below-The-Line preference data-file undermined the confidence and integrity of the conduct of the election and was the subject of submissions made to the Federal Parliament Joint Select Committee on Electoral Matters. (JSCEM) In all other respects the conduct of the scrutiny of the ballot was exemplary  

Copies of the Senate preference data-files were made available after the period in which the election could be challenge.

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