Audit slams AEC for security risk during 2016 ballot

An audit has slammed the AEC over its handling of the 2016 Federal Election.

Audit slams AEC for 2016 ballot

Auditor-General Grant Hehir has slammed the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) over its handling of the 2016 Federal Election.

The AEC misled the public about the security of its data during the election and failed to ensure it had not been compromised, Mr Hehir’s office said.

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) also criticised the AEC over its sourcing and management of contracts for the transportation of ballot papers.

“Insufficient emphasis was given by the AEC to open and effective competition in its procurement processes as a means of demonstrably achieving value for money,” according to Mr Hehir’s report. “Its contract and risk management was also not consistently to an appropriate standard.”

For the first time, the AEC contracted a company to digitally scan and count all Senate votes and preferences.

The ANAO has revealed the AEC did not comply with the Federal Government's basic cyber-security requirements due to time restraints, and accepted the extra security risk.

Further, the report found the AEC had not been honest about the security risk.

“Insufficient attention was paid to ensuring the AEC could identify whether the system had been compromised,” Mr Hehir said.

“The level of IT security risk accepted by the AEC on behalf of the Australian Government and the extent of the non-compliance with the Australian Government IT security framework, was not transparent.

“The wording used in some of the internal records and published materials would generate confidence in the security of the system whereas the underlying assessments indicated significant risk.”

What do you think? Are you comfortable the results of the 2016 election were not compromised? Would you trust the AEC to handle electronic voting after this report?

Read the Auditor-General’s full report.

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    COMMENTS

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    MICK
    24th Jan 2018
    10:21am
    I discovered that the AEC was another of our unaccountable organisations when a friend of mine tried to stop the blatant candidate placards erected on public property. Despite the legislation stating quite clearly that this was not allowed the AEC refused to police this and fobbed it off onto local councils.
    More government which is unaccountable to the people run by a PM who stashes his money in a tax haven.
    I feel a dictatorship coming. Happening in other parts of the western world as well. God help us all.
    Charlie
    24th Jan 2018
    11:28am
    So that's how we suddenly got so many homosexuals in parliament, or were all those jokes that Paul Keating made about politicians getting into bed with each other, just trying to tell us something.
    Maggie
    26th Jan 2018
    7:08am
    Now that is just horrible and a sad comment on the ignorance of so many people who do not understand the nature of homosexuality. People DO NOT CHOOSE to be homosexual. The huge majority of them are born with those inclinations. Over a great many years a number of cruel and barbaric treatments, which drove many of them to suicide have proved that it is not a "condition" which is "curable."

    Thank God, or if you do not believe in Him, your lucky stars that you were not born that way, and, since I gather you are not young any more, have not had to endure years of unimaginable condemnation, bullying and and possibly physical violence as a result.

    There is room on this earth for all of us. If you don't like it, you are entitled, nay, encouraged to stay well away from it, but have the grace not to condemn nor criticise something just because you do not understand it. Are you better than the rest of us? I doubt it. We are all fallible human beings on a journey through life together.
    4b2
    24th Jan 2018
    11:46am
    Was any security breach found? No just a beat up by the Government. Blame and shame raise the level of fear for no reason. Suggesting the AEC did not follow legislation is joke. The members who did not comply with the constitution should be the ones facing reprimand rather than forget and move on. SHAME!!
    Knight Templar
    24th Jan 2018
    11:47am
    It is possible for a person to vote at several booths. Their name will be crossed off as having voted in that particular location - but I am not aware of any cross-checking on the day to ensure that the person has not also voted in another booth. I doubt that the AEC is in a position to detect fraudulent voting (if at all) until well after the election results are announced. The person may well be identified and prosecuted but it is unlikely that the nature of the 'extra' votes can be ascertained.The beneficial political party will retain those extra votes. These will be critical in a close election.
    KSS
    24th Jan 2018
    1:13pm
    Whilst the 'check your name off' system remains a printed directory and a pen, the potential for multiple voting will remain (long queues sausage sizzles and cake stalls notwithstanding). Until this is made real time electronic there would be no way to stop it.
    bike30
    8th May 2018
    10:31am
    I thought voting once was enough....why vote 2 or 3 times, are people that desperate to see their candidate to win at all costs?....bikie30

    24th Jan 2018
    12:11pm
    Some time ago, we received a card in the mail with our electorate details on it to make it easier for the voting process to proceed. It only happened once but it was a good idea. If this was to become normal practice, it may stop multiple voting. Those who don't have a card should be required to show satisfactory ID. I don't know how much effect the alleged multiple voting makes but at least it will stop those who whinge about it.
    BillF2
    24th Jan 2018
    12:49pm
    The Auditor-General is doing his job in highligting the failings of the AEC, which, as other correspondents point out, is not just restricted to security. The AEC is the child of the federal government, and has been set up to maintain the current system, not police it. It has to be asked why it has been allowed to outsource its basic functions, and who is getting the benefit from it? Certainly not the voters. The advantage of a private company doing the work is that there is no public scrutiny or accountability - a situation which will allow elections to be rigged (if they aren't already). It is bad enough having to choose between Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dumber at election time, but the possibility of having the vote count manipulated as well, makes one wonder whether we are actually living in a democracy.
    Bluegum
    24th Jan 2018
    12:55pm
    Knight Templar I understand your concern, but look at the reality and chance of someone voting in more than one place of actually affecting an election result is minute (I would say almost impossible). After all there are only very few electorates that are even so close as <2000 votes and you would need to be enrolled to vote in more than one electorate to cast a vote there, which is not so easy to do.
    If you go to a polling booth and say that you have moved, you need to prove it and prove who you are. That is recorded and your vote is separated and fully traceable to you. Therefore if you did lie and vote in more than one electorate your extra votes can be removed.
    KSS
    24th Jan 2018
    1:15pm
    Likewise at multiple polling booths in the same electorate! But you are not found out until after the event.
    Knight Templar
    24th Jan 2018
    3:15pm
    Bluegum. I am essentially referring to multiple voting booths in the same electorate. There is nothing to stop several party stooges from casting several votes each. It may well be a remote scenario but it does have the potential to be exploited. It is not unknown for an MP to win by fewer than 100 votes. You say that if you do lie your extra votes can be removed. The problem is that the AEC wouldn't necessarily know what party the person(s) voted for. By the time the AEC examines the each of the printed directories and discovers that the same person has cast multiple votes, the MP would have been elected. Furthermore, you can guarantee that the fraudulent voter would deny any knowledge of wrongdoing and argue that an unknown third party has incriminated him/her. Difficult to prove otherwise.
    seadog
    24th Jan 2018
    1:35pm
    Having done work both part and fulltime for the Electoral Commission over many, many years I am surprised that the Auditor General did not point out that the Commission is using archaic computer systems for all their forms etc. The last election, as far as security in counting centres, goes was farcical to the extent of slowing everything down to snails pace. Many of these restrictions were put in place after Senate ballot papers were lost in WA. Needs a good clean out of archaic systems and personnel. As for multiple voting it is possible but checks are in place which will show this up very quickly once the rolls are scanned. Sure it will be after the votes are declared but blame politicians of all sides for this because they want to know if they have got onto the "gravy Train" very quickly.
    Bluegum
    24th Jan 2018
    1:46pm
    I agree Seadog.
    I have worked in and managed polling booths in many state and federal elections and after the last election, I have decided I will no longer do so. The amount of extra red tape added, the lack of staff and the enormous amount of work for what is really a pittance once you work out the hours involved is just not worth it. Due to the changes after the WA debacle we worked at our booth from 6.30am to 2.00am the following morning, of course that does not even include the online training and face to face training that you need to and the setting up of the polling booth before the day.

    In the last state election the booth I managed had computers for declaration votes (people voting out of their electorate) and they really helped, but they are totally offline so could not have flagged anyone voting in another booth. However, I agree that the system has enough built in checks and balances that the chance of election results being affected by cheats is extremely small.

    24th Jan 2018
    2:51pm
    The public sector is riddle with incompetent people
    Women are given jobs over men more qualified and they hire incompetents to protect themselves
    Anonymous
    25th Jan 2018
    8:23am
    That's the evils of bloody feminism and its whinging wimminists for you...
    Maggie
    26th Jan 2018
    7:18am
    There you go again. I find your comments fascinating. What did a woman do to you, I wonder, that has made you so very bitter, damaged and sore? It must have been awful. But look around you. There are good blokes and clever ones too, who don't think the same way. And they must have been lucky enough to get the good mothers and wives every one should have. There are just as many women out there who have had bad experiences with men. We don't believe that that makes all the men in the world bad!
    Pass the Ductape
    24th Jan 2018
    5:15pm
    No I certainly wouldn't be confident! Anyone who believes we can trust politicians of today's ilk must be living under a rock - and in relation to the debacle concerning whether any politician is able to govern under the terms of the present constitution, every one of them would do well to consider this......

    Every Member and Senator must take, and has taken an oath of allegiance to the Monarch and Crown and cannot sit in Parliament until this has occurred either by way of oath or affirmation.......i.e.

    “The Australian Constitution requires that those elected to the Senate and the House of Representatives swear or solemnly affirm their allegiance to the Crown. Senators and Members are required to both ‘make and subscribe’ (sign) an oath or affirmation. The same oath and affirmation have been used since Federation and can only be changed by constitutional referendum."
    However - Section 44 (i) of the constitution states...... "Any person who is under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a Senator or a Member of the House of Representatives."

    Ergo... “Any person who is under any acknowledgement of allegiance to a foreign power… shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a Senator or a Member of the House of Representatives …”.

    Therefore, according to section 44 (i) of the constitution, and until the constitution is amended, no current elected senator or Member of the House of Representatives has any right to occupy their respective seats in either house.
    Not Senile Yet!
    25th Jan 2018
    1:00am
    He seemed to overlook the simple requirement of the AEC to ensure all sitting candidates are Eligable to do so!
    Simple enough...Stat Declaration surrendering all dual citizenships held and hand in Passports and paperwork BEFORE being put on the Voting Rolls.
    They unashamedly did not do so!
    We now have Illegal Mp's in both houses!
    Surely..that makes a Mockery of Security?

    25th Jan 2018
    8:20am
    NOTHING is secure nowadays.