Millennials think Australia's voting system sucks

People queue to cast their vote in the national election at a polling station at Albert Park Primary School in Melbourne. Photo: Scott Barbour/ Getty Images.

I’m 25 years old.

As I’ve grown up I’ve watched my mobile phone turn from a basic black and white-screened Nokia to a high-tech, internet-enabled smartphone. Digital is in my blood.

For this reason I and many of my disgruntled friends, find it hard to believe that we still vote on paper.

And now that we have to wait days to find out who the leader of the country is, we are left wondering why the hell the AEC hasn’t made voting electronic already.

There’s an article in the Sydney Morning Herald today, in which ABC election analyst Antony Green is also criticising the electoral commission’s website, saying that the seat tallies are wrong and misleading as to which party is leading the polls.

In the Australian, Australian Information Industry Association boss Rob Fitzpatrick has said the cliffhanger result should be a wake-up call for the Commission to finally embrace electronic voting.

“If we had it in place today, we’d already have certainty regarding the results of the federal election. Instead, we are facing the possibility of up to a month before the outcome is known,” he said.

Instead around 75,000 people are employed to manage and count the votes, and almost $200 million is wasted to run a federal election, when an investment in an electronic voting system would cost short-term but return in savings in the long run, and most certainly deliver quicker results.

It’s not that the government hasn’t discussed it before.

After more than 1,300 Senate ballots went missing from the Western Australian recount in 2013, many argued it was time to take voting digital.

However in 2014 a parliamentary committee recommended against electronic voting, saying it was “too risky”.

The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters ruled out allowing Australians to cast their vote online, arguing it risks “catastrophically compromising our electoral integrity”.

But surely should there be a cyber security breach, re-voting on your phone would be a much simpler process than what was executed in the 2013 WA fiasco, where Western Australians had to vote three times in just over a year, an Australian Electoral Commission investigation was conducted and there were two AEC resignations.

This year there were 1.3 million people who made postal votes — a large reason why the result is inconclusive.

But if you take a look some of the photos from the polling stations around the country, it could explain who these voters are.

A voting venue at the East Gosford Public School in the electorate of Robertson in Gosford. Photo: Tony Feder/ Getty Images.
Voting booths at the Penrith PCWC in the electorate of Lindsay in Penrith. Photo: Cole Bennetts/ Getty Images.
Voters cast their ballots at Bondi Surf Bathers’ Life Saving Club in the electorate of Wentworth in Sydney. Photo: Mark Metcalfe/ Getty Images.

The lack of millennials photographed could suggest they made up a large proportion of these votes. I am one of them.

Why stand in a line for over an hour when I can walk in vote and walk out of a pre-polling venue a week before the election?

As for the ones who did vote on the day. Well, perhaps these are their ballot papers.

Just another reason to introduce electronic voting.

As the AEC restarts counting votes today, perhaps it’s time to rethink the 2014 recommendations.

Until then Australia waits for an archaic system to produce an outcome which we should have known on Saturday.

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